Communication, Production and Professionalism

The preparation stage for missionary service involves a lot of busy-work.  Having the opportunity to correspond with lots and lots of people– having so many folks who care, and want to hear what’s happening– is a wonderful thing.  While it’s worth the effort, the task of maintaining such correspondence includes some tedium.

I’m talking about stuffing, addressing, and stamping envelopes right now.  And especially about turning the text of a correspondence into a properly formatted, merged, converted and printed document.  This becomes additionally problematic when my database of names and addresses is being updated daily.  Frankly, I’m not very good at this stuff.  It takes me a lot of time.

The learning curve is steep, and the skills are valuable.  I successfully produced fifty initial copies of my “first letter” and a friend helped me get them in the mail.

Then I found the typos.

They’re stupid, tiny errors.  One sentence is missing a preposition, and in another the word “and” was ear-spelled as “in.”  The English major in me wanted to immediately issue a correction, to send out fifty postcards noting the error and apologizing for it.

The reasonable person in me decided not to issue a correction (which, by Murphy’s law, would inevitably contain a typo of its own).  Instead, I fixed the errors on my template document, produced the next batch of letters (easier said than done) and began personalizing, addressing, folding, stamping, etc that set.

And then I found a typo.

Somehow my produced document had fixed only one of the errors but the other remained.  About a third of that batch is already out the door; the rest are sitting on my desk and waiting to go tonight.

Which brings a dilemma.  Do I destroy these letters, or do I send them?  They are sitting nicely on my desk, printed on high-quality paper by the Staples half an hour down the road (even pre-folded!).  Before leaving town tomorrow I will not be able to get them re-produced; if I decide not to send these copies they will be delayed by at least a week.

In addition to the delay is the ethical dilemma of destroying the paper and wasting the money used to produce the letters.  The quantity of paper and cost of production are relatively minor but not insignificant.  I can certainly afford to destroy and re-produce these letters, and the Earth won’t die from it.  But, would it be a wise use of resources?

The English major in me is horrified.  But the sensible human being in me will probably send the letters.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Communication, Production and Professionalism

  1. Trey

    So did you send the letters or destroy them?

    I’m glad you have an English major living in you as well, although in the end my diploma didn’t have “English” anywhere on it.

    Thanks for the thoughts on missions and wealth. I didn’t realize you were keeping a blog, but I’ll be checking it now.

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