Wednesday, 8 July 2009

De-Piling

Monday's word was "ARRRRRGGGGHH!", an onomatopoetic term used to describe the frustration of being given two fairly large jobs to do and be told you have until the middle of the week.

Today's word is "YOOOUUUUFUUUUUUUUCK!", a strangled cry of anger used to expressed the fury that comes from finishing both jobs by 10am Wednesday morning only to be told you're a day late.

"Middle of the week" doesn't get you through Tuesday? What, if I may ask, the fuck?

Still, just the correcting of Chapter 2 left, and I can settle down to just having the one job (at which I suck, but that's another story).

14 comments:

Senior Spielbergo said...

I think an argument can be made that the use of the “by” implies before the middle of the week. Therefore if Wednesday can be described as the middle of the week, it would have to be in by 23:59 on Tuesday. Personally however I call bull on that argument and it is generally excepted that “by the middle of the week” means before close of play on Wednesday – meaning you were several hours early. Of course my opinion matters little.

SpaceSquid said...

I don't think "by" implies before. I'm pretty sure "before" implies before.

Senior Spielbergo said...

TThe word by can basically mean not later than i.e. “by 5:30” means prior to 5:30, or before 5:30. There is definitely a debate as to if this means just “less than” or “less than or equal to”. But I do feel there is basis for a legitimate argument for it meaning before the middle of the week. Of course it’s a whole can of worms the argument that the middle of the week can be construed as the entirety of Wednesday. I personally would argue that even by the strictest of definitions “by the middle of the week” means before 12:00 on Wednesday.

Basically I agree with you, but I can see a logical (even if one I disagree with) to support your bosses assumptions. Probably worth noting this craziness for future reference anyway.

SpaceSquid said...

You also have to factor in the fact that I was told I was a day late, implying the cut off point was some time on Tuesday before 23:59pm. Also that if you sent an email on a Monday morning asking for something to be done before close of business the following day, "tomorrow" might be better than "the middle of the week".

Tomsk said...

Instinctively I'd go further - such a vague deadline should mean no complaints until around Thursday lunchtime. But this is a maths department, so we'll need maths to back it up...

First of all "by" means "not later than", e.g. "by Friday" means before the end of Friday.

Therefore "by the middle of the week" means "before the end of the middle of the week". If we assume the working week is 9-5 and the beginning, middle and end are of equal lengths, this gives a deadline of 26 2/3 hours into the week, or Thursday at 11.40 am. You were therefore over a day early and should be awarded a gold star for your efforts.

SpaceSquid said...

Good to have you back, Tomsk. I trust your time away was pleasant.

SpaceSquid said...

Also, Tomsk's comment demonstrates the difference between thinking Wednesday is the middle of the week, and Wednesday lunchtime is.

By Spielbergo's reasoning, one could argue that since June and July are the middle of the year, then anyone asking for something "by the middle of the year" might mean by 23:59 on May 31st.

Tomsk said...

Very pleasant, thank you. Of topical concern were the excellent, scorn-free strawberry milkshakes accompanied by a strange hybrid of Greek/BBC Wimbledon coverage, at least when the fjords didn't block the signal.

Good to be back just in time for an England batting collapse.

SpaceSquid said...

Yeah, it's not often you get to see that.

Gooder said...

This illustrates the importance of getting people to commit to clear deadline if they really care about having things done by a certain time.

Fair enough to be vague if there isn't a need to hit a deadline and you can be flexible, but if it's important to hit a deadline everyone needs to be clear what that is, exactly what that is.

At least thats how it goes in the world of proper work!

SpaceSquid said...

Yeah, is it too late to get one of those "job" things?

In truth, I imagine a breakdown in communication is to blame, since the guy who told me to get it done is not the same bloke who was gathering the materials.

BigHead said...

Hey, at least someone told you about it (admittedly I had read something about sending the stuff on the isipta website but I duly ignored it).

Checking the website I notice we were actually supposed to send the relevant files by July 1st.

SpaceSquid said...

Meh. If there's anything we've learned today, it's that academic deadlines are entirely meaningless. Mostly.

Chemie said...

Ex-English teacher sniffs the air.

'By' when used as a temporal preposition means 'no later than' or 'as soon as'. Tomsk has irritatingly beaten me to it. Although it could be a very different story if 'the middle of the week' was a place or a method. You could argue that you thought the 'by' in question referred to the preposition meaning past or through. But it would be pretty hard to argue that going through the middle of the week was an optional route.