85- Bullshit politeness in paperwork. Look, reading through loads of paperwork is a tedious enough task without the presence of flavour wording. I understand it’s supposed to make the paper less impersonal but it actually makes it even more impersonal, because paperwork-people can’t write, and so it just ends up sounding like you inserted a random phrase that you pulled out of the big-bag’o’random-phrases-that-you’re-not-sure-what-they-mean-but-you-insert-them-anyway-to-make-yourself-look-professional-i-guess-while-making-me-lose-more-time-trying-to-figure-out-what-the-paper’s-about. Just get to the point already.
This is the faithful translation (I shit you not) of an actual sentence from one of many a paper I’m trying to go through right now :
I am humbly asking you to please want to find, joined to this letter, your information summary.
Let me get this straight… You want me… to want... to find a sheet of paper that’s right underneath the one I’m holding. You don’t even want me to find it, you want me to want to find it. What kind of soft-ass time-consuming language is this ? Does someone really think I’ll get offended if instead you just write something like :
Here is your information summary.
In fact, don’t even “join it to this letter”. If you really want me to find it, just put it in the envelope with no letter and I’ll figure it out, as long as it says above “information summary”. Seriously, I get one of those a month and I assume I’m not the only one, forget my worthless time, wouldn’t it waste less paper to just do away with the letter ? Jesus…
The letter ends with a phrase that is now so overused in France that you can’t expect to get a job interview if you don’t end your cover letter with it. I for one am actively fighting the propagation of such language. Check out that phrase :
I am humbly asking you to accept the expression of my distinguished consideration.
Again, I shit you not, this phrase is used everywhere. Let’s break it down a little bit (I won’t get into asking-you-to-accept/want-you-to-want again).
Distinguished consideration. Really ? If you have any consideration for me, don’t write that. I’m fine with just your consideration.
And why should I accept the expression of your consideration ? Why can’t I have your actual consideration ? Are you too cool ? It sounds like you’re saying :
I am lying about being considerate. I’m just expressing consideration. Please accept the lie that I am making.
That or it sounds like the consideration is real but you’re just being super meta about it. Like :
I know consideration is a concept and not a tangible object that can be mailed to a person, and so instead I am imparting you the abstract expression of it. I hope you understand that this is not me actually speaking to you but words that I typed and that you are reading, if you accept to do so anyway. I am alive right now. This phrase ends with a full stop.
Here’s what a proper way to express your consideration would be :
I respect you.