Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Referring to yourself in the third person

Is it weird to speak about oneself in the third person? Tom doesn't think so. But clearly his colleagues do.

It is that time of the month when Board reports have to be produced and Tom always writes his own reports as he assumes that every word is carefully poured over and analysed. So he thinks carefully about the message and chooses every word deliberately.

This month, Tom wanted to make a particularly clear point about what he thought we should do next. But he also wanted to make it clear that it was his view and not necessarily his colleagues view. He thought about saying "I think this..." but he decided that it would not look professional in a Board report to say "I think this, I think that...". He thought abut saying "The view is this..." but decided that merely invited the question "who holds that view?"

So he plumped for "Tom believes that we should do xyz.... Tom feels that we should.....". Satisfied with his handiwork, Tom sent off his beautifully crafted Board report and went off to bed.

Imagine his surprise when the Big Boss turned to him in the meetings and said "so, Tom, look me in the eye and confess, who actually writes your Board reports?"

"I do" Tom replied indignantly causing much unwarranted hilarity amongst his colleagues. Tom couldn't tell whether they were laughing because they didn't believe him or because they thought it was weird to refer to oneself in the third person, or just because they were taking cruel delight in his discomfort.

But Tom did write the report. He did refer to himself in the third person. And he doesn't think there is anything weird about that at all. Gollum does it all the time and Tom is a hard core Lord of the Rings fan. What's good enough for Smeagol is good enough for Tom. Isn't it my precious? Yes, yes it is, my dears. Oh yes. Not weird at all.


Anonymous said...

your photo looks just like Gollum.....oh sorry it is Gollum - separated at birth!!

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree with you. I do it all the time and everyone always looks at me like I'm weird or something. I just don't see the big deal. Nice post by the way:)