My Friend, The Dictionary
In my last post, I talked about performance reviews and promised to tell a true story about a performance review I received several years ago. I had the same job that I have now, and the same boss, Morris. It was near the end of the year. Morris had completed my performance review, but I was on vacation until just before New Year’s, so we didn’t bother to have a face to face meeting. He simply emailed the performance review to me.
As I read the review, I was pleased. It was all positive, with excellent feedback. I wasn’t really surprised, since Morris and I spoke frequently about how things were going. As I read, I must have skimmed over some of the initial comments.
I was reading it at home, with my wife nearby. She asked what I reading, and, after I told her, I offered to let her have a look. As she read, she paused at one point and questioned the following statement:
“Daryl is the consummate executive at Noetix. I regard Daryl as perhaps the most vesicle of all the executives.”
“What does ‘vesicle’ mean?” she asked. I replied: “I’m not sure, but I expect it’s probably good, since everything else is so positive.” With her encouragement, I decided to look it up. Off I went to dictionary.com and here is what I found:
ves·i·cle [ves-i-kuhl] –noun
1. A small sac or cyst.
2. Biology. A small bladderlike cavity, esp. one filled with fluid
3. Pathology. A circumscribed elevation of the epidermis containing serous fluid; a blister
4. Geology. A small, usually spherical cavity in a rock or mineral, formed by expansion of a gas or vapor before the enclosing body solidified
Well, that certainly wasn’t what I expected! It’s not every day you find yourself compared to a sac of pus!
I thought about letting it drop, but instead opted to have a little fun with it. I sent an email back to Morris:
Thank you. I very much appreciate your praise and confidence. I do have one question. In the final bullet you state [the vesicle comment]
Sensing an opportunity to expand my vocabulary, I quickly went to www.dictionary.com, where I discovered this [and pasted the definition into the message]
I’m pretty sure that none of those would be considered a compliment, so I’m a bit puzzled.
A few hours later, I received a short response – my first email of the new year from my boss:
“F*$% you – I meant versatile. But my misspelling may work as well.”
Since that day, it’s been a running joke, within the company (and within my family) that I continue to be “the most vesicle.” I treat it as a badge of honor.
For now…I’ll leave you with this thought:
Spell check is not foolproof – it might validate a misspelled word. Sometimes that can be pretty funny.