Should I be worried for my little brother’s soul?
My youngest brother is, at the tender age of 22, living in his first definitely-not-a-student flat and working in his first ‘proper’ job. In the process, he’s encountering a whole new world of bureaucracy. And bureaucratic language.
There’s a problem with the bathroom light in his flat. They’ve been there two months now. It’s still not fixed. It’s now become something of a daily routine: get up, brush your teeth, email the lady at the estate agency about the light problem. Again. And she duly responds, telling him things like:
Regrettably, after liaising with facilities management as to their availability in the coming week the department has advised me that…
[insert unfortunate, but compelling, reason why the repairmen aren’t coming].
And my bro’s doing it too, in his own job. He’s ‘querying’ things where he just used to ‘ask’. ‘Advising’ where he used to ‘tell’. People ask him to ‘raise an issue’ with the distributors. He’ll write his colleague a nice email back, explaining that he’s ‘queried’ it, and the result is...
But does the weird, formal language bother him? Not really. He seems think of it like putting on a jokey voice – ‘Yeah but it’s funny. It’s like, oh look, I’m working in an office.’
So, what do you reckon? Should I be worried for my little brother’s soul?
Well, judging by the giant, comedy typing gesture he made to accompany the word ‘office’, I don’t have too much to worry about just yet. But, you know, we are what we repeatedly do. And habits are surprisingly quick to form: a mere 66 days. How long until my brother stops thinking of it as a joke – and stops noticing he’s doing it at all?
How long until his ‘office voice’ is permanently estranged from his real one?
So, please, take a moment to think: what weird linguistic habits are you picking up at work? Knock ‘em on the head now, before it’s too late. Otherwise it’s a whole other 66 days to get clean again.
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