Posted by: kerrywills | February 21, 2014

Embracing My OCD: Formatting and Structure


In my self-medicating series around “embracing my OCD” I will now go into formatting and structure. I believe that since we work in a professional setting that our work should be of high quality. Therefore, I often have a hard time looking at the content of something without seeing the formatting and structure first…

  • PowerPoints where the shapes don’t align, line up or are symmetrical
  • Bullets that wrap and have consistent punctuation (I don’t care if you end every bullet with a period or without, but at least be consistent)
  • Grammar and spelling
  • Consistent font

1

Yes, I acknowledge these things make me neurotic but I do believe that the quality of someone’s work is a direct reflection on how they view their work and role. If someone throws together a sloppy document, then they must not care that much about the work – that may sound like an extreme statement but that is the impression that I get sometimes.

So please take the time to review the formatting and structure of your work because there are crazy people like me who focus on them.

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Responses

  1. Do you believe that proper formatting and punctuation redeem a document that is irrelevant, incorrect, counter-factual, or late? If not, then why do you think a relevant, timely, fact-filled document prepared with a text editor as a couple of paragraphs, with a few spelling errors and a misplaced comma, is somehow lacking? Would re-formatting it as PowerPoint slide and correcting the spelling and grammar make it perfect?

    Do you believe that an overweight programmer with a bad complexion is less credible than an attractive salesperson? If so, why?

  2. Remember I did say “I often have a hard time looking at the content of something without seeing the formatting and structure first” – that IS NOT TO SAY that content doesn’t matter. But I do believe formatting is table stakes, because the reality is that people DO equate quality with credibility. That being said I hire people based on their skills and not looks, which, ironically, includes attention to detail and quality.


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