Things I hate: It's that time again


Here is my second annual list of things I hate. However, it seems to have morphed into a list of types of people I hate. But this seems fair; no one's animosity should be limited to inanimate objects.

1. Perfectionists

These are people who have lost perspective and get nothing done.

Of course, you can guess that I am not a perfectionist. In fact, I am a person who painted my own walls and didn't paint near the windows because I didn't want to do the detail w

ork. I am a person who accidentally addresses the envelope upside down and doesn't get a new envelope.

But there is good that comes out of a lack of perfection: I can set a lot of goals for myself because I get them done.

Let me just cut to the chase:

Perfectionists procrastinate because they are scared of not being perfect.

Perfectionists are hypercritical to the point that they cannot support people around them.

Perfectionists can't finish a project because they can always think of a way to improve it.

Perfectionists are phony because no one is perfect, but they can't handle showing that in themselves.

2. People with messy desks

I used to merely feel sorry for them, but after I wrote a column about the University of Texas study that showed that people with messy desks are not creative, all the messy desk people wrote to me. From the onslaught of mail, I realized that they are in denial. I wrote about a study. They argued with me. They did not do a study. They told me they are proof that the study is wrong. The emails were so disingenuous and defensive that they actually caused me to have less respect for people with messy desks.

3. People who complain their job is not creative.

It's not your job; it's you. Creative people bring creativity to everything they do, no matter what. It is inside them, and no job can stifle it. Some people are driven to do art and will do it no matter what their job is: Think Kafka holding down a job as an insurance company drone. But creativity is not just art, it's also problem solving. If you are good at your job, you are undoubtedly creative because any form of success requires some sort of creative problem solving.

4. People who think their problems are unique.

Women in finance who think they are the only ones who suffer sex discrimination. People in government who think they have a corner on bitching about bureaucracy. Teachers who think they are the only people who have to be "on" all day long. If you have ever told people that your job is especially taxing for one reason or another, you are lame. Your job is not special; all jobs are hard for people who have a hard time doing a job. If you can't cope with sex discrimination in your job, you couldn't cope with it in someone else's job, either. If you can't cope with high standards in your job, you wouldn't meet anyone's high standards.

5. Grammar mavens

As a person who is not a stickler for detail, I tire of people who call out a grammar error like they are a second-grade overachiever who will never get picked in kickball. But any list of hated things would not be honest unless the author admits that we only hate the things that somehow remind us of ourselves. So, now that I've admitted that, I will tell you my grammar pet peeve: You should not, ever, in any situation in the whole world, say, "... and myself" in the workplace. Use "...and me" or "...and I" instead. The only way to correctly use "...and myself" is if you are doing something directly to someone else and to yourself, so it is a grammatical construction that is basically appropriate for nothing except pornography.