Measure Good Writing Comic Strips
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The Boss sits at his desk. He says, "Tina, we need to set measurable objectives for you." Tina responds, "I'm a technical writer. How can you measure good writing?" The Boss says, "Everything is measurable is you try hard enough." Tina asks, "Is that your well-measured opinion?" She continues, "Or is it the dogmatic babbling of a manager in total cognitive surrender?" The Boss comes back with, "For example, we could measure the number of words you type." He adds, "We'll have to subtract words you delete. That way we won't motivate the wrong behavior." Tina is now at her desk, typing. She has written, "In this edition of Tina's hourly newsletter, I compare our projects to various types of wood."
The Boss stands in front of a camera and Dogbert sits in a director's chair. Dogbert hands the Boss a script and says, "Stick to the script. Act sincere and beg your customers to forgive you." The Boss looks into the camera and reads, "It was wrong for us to sell keyboards with no 'Q.' We're sorry. We're morons." Dilbert and Dogbert sit on the couch watching the Boss's television commercial. In the advertisement, the Boss says, "We're dumber than squirrels. We hear voices and do what they command. I have broccoli in my socks." Dilbert says, "Good writing." Dogbert responds, "Thanks."
Tina says, "Can you review my letter to this customer who complained?" Dilbert says, "'Tell the spiders living in your skull that we'll look into it.'" Tina says, "Good writing should never be predictable." Dilbert says, "Then it's perfect."
Dogbert sits on his pillow listening to the radio. Ratbert says, "I'm writing a book about being trapped in the space hole for three hundred thousand years." Ratbert writes, "Day one: I thought about cheese. Day two: see Day one. Day three; See day two . . ." Ratbert carries a stack of paper into the room and asks Dogbert, "Do you know a good editor?"
The Boss says, "Alice, I'd like you to meet the newest member of my management team." The Boss continues, "Keith is highly qualified, he has a masters in business administration." Alice and Keith shake hands. Alice says, "Very impressive. They must have taught you a lot about motivating employees." Keith replies, "No, not really." Alice says, "Well . . . You probably learned how to identify and hire good people, right?" Keith replies, "That might have been optional reading." Alice asks, "Did you learn negotiation skills? Strategic thinking? Business writing?" Keith answers "No" to all three questions. Keith explains, "It was mostly finance and accounting. And economics." Alice says, "So, you're a highly qualified leader because . . . You're good at math?" Keith whispers to the Boss, "What should I do here?" The Boss replies, "In these situations I like to use swearing."
Dilbert: why can't I find a girlfriend? DOgbert: you have two problems: your looks and your personality. Dilbert: Hmm,two itsn't bad. I can fix my looks by getting and extreme makeover. Dogbert: you'll still need to improve M.T.T.S.F. Dilbert: What? Dogbert: mean time to story failure: Its a measure of ho long you can be fascinating to a new person. Dogbert: Ive been counting and you only ave nine good stories after you use them up youre a social liability. Dilbert: I saw a horse kick a woodchuck over a fence. Dogbert: still only nine.
CEO: We need to have a bias for action. Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. Dilbert: So... a carpenter should saw the board first and measure it later? CEO: Your use of that folksy saying makes my strategy sound dumb. Alice: Why do you care if your strategy is perfect or not? Dilbert: You just said it's more important to spray your defective stuff on the universe than it is to get things right. CEO: "Spray my defective stuff?" Dilbert: Should I have waited for a perfect way to say that?
Wally: I'm planning to take advantage of our new unlimited vacation policy. I'll be gone for two hundred days in the coming year. And I guarantee I will still double my productivity compared to the prior year. Boss: There's no way to measure productivity for engineers. Wally: Good to know.
Dogbert: How's your novel coming along? Dilbert: I'm off to a slow start. All I did this week is stare at a blank screen and feel bad about my lack of talent. Dogbert: Maybe try writing something. Dilbert: I have to think that would make things worse.
Dilbert: I'm telling everyone I'm writing a novel. That way I can leverage the invisible hand of social influence to motivate me for the next year. Alice: Have you written anything yet? Dilbert: Stop badgering me!!!