06 August 2015

What time is it?!!?


4:30 PST that is.  As I publish this post, it's currently 5:30am in Los Angeles, and the entire West Coast of the US, but it's 4:30 Pacific Standard Time.

Now, there aren't a lot of places in the world that (celebrate?) observe PST year round, but once you move a little further east, and get a little more Pacifically-challenged, other time zones don't behave quite so orderly...

For example, go to Phoenix tomorrow, (oh my gawd, wouldn't it be hilarious if twos upon twos of my readers went to Phoenix tomorrow!?  That reminds me of a social media experiment I want to try called #letsGoToRookies - it's based on the theory that everyone lives fairly close to a bar called Rookies.  Probably, you've never been there or maybe you went once and haven't been back... Anyway, on this certain moment, we all go to Rookies, and around the country, places called Rookies' business explodes, for like 40 minutes {stay and have a couple beers!} and regulars and bar owners are flummoxed for a while) and figure out what time it is.  Sure, it will seem like it's whatever time it is Pacific Time, but in fact it is Mountain Time, Mountain Standard Time.

Let that soak in a moment, while you think about the last email you received from your client in Denver.  They were likely confirming a call (did you know that today, 15% of all emails are confirming times for future calls? That's a fact.) with a consultant in Flagstaff, Arizona for 3:00pm MST (because the middle initial makes everything seem so much more business-like!).  Point of fact, those two people will (I think I don't know if all of Arizona follows the same rules - there is no research budget for RNJ...) be on the phone exactly one hour apart.

Of course, our glorious savior Microsoft Outlook, solves these sorts of scheduling snafus, if you use calendar invites (USE CALENDAR INVITES!), but I've been seeing this in far too many places, and blatantly mistaken, and it's time that someone finally says something.

It's quite simple, really... also, those of you who are reading this as news and use middle initials in your time stamp, we who know better have been laughing at you for years... YEARS!!!  Most of the world honors daylight saving time (this is, of course, a wildly inaccurate statement, but as an American, it's true for most of America, so it becomes true... "from a certain point of view" - name the movie quote i'm thinking of and win a VMP {very minor prize} shipped to you at no expense -), but I would estimate that 83% of all administrative professionals are using CST or EST right this very moment.

Well fear not, help is here:
  • Daylight Standard Time (DST - hugely confusing because S!!! is the middle initial - happens, generally, in the summer time for the Northern Hemisphere)

  • Standard Time (ST - standard time is what we more commonly refer to as time.  Of course, time is relative, but as long as we all are still land-bound, it makes sense to come to some accord with regard to what time it is.  That said, Standard Time is the closest we have available in the US to GMT.

I think this distinction is fairly clear to most calendar purveyors.... that said, I will stand by my 83% statistic that most administrative and support professionals misuse (or perhaps disable) the correct language.

The reason for this is complex/simple as most things are... D is less serious than S.  At a momentary glance this sounds crazy - that said one need only look at the (i.e. vs. e.g.) example.  I.E. which is a couple of glorious vowels, working together to say - literally - "in other words".  E.G., of course, mean "for example".  Somehow, seriously, G makes things seem less serious to some folks, and so almost invariably in standard business writing and most non-academic prose, you'll see i.e. when the writer clearly means e.g.  Oddly, I think part of the reason for this is also that e.g.  sounds like the start of the way that many Americans say the word "example", and they may be afraid that it's an abbreviation, rather than a Latin derivation.

I think it's also, maddeningly, related to the "I/me" idiocracy that holds that using the word 'me' makes people sound less intelligent, and so you get fools using phrases like "between George and I".  Please learn this, people.  Really, I'm just asking for the time one today.  D is a less-oft used letter, I know, but using it more often will improve your Scrabble scores, and, at least until November, stop infuriating those of us already in the know.

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