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Two former colleagues died this past month. They weren’t close friends but they were great colleagues. They were always willing to share their knowledge and ready to give formal advice, not to mention informal advice over a cup of tea or during lunch break. Back when I started here, struggling with term management situations far beyond my experience, I was grateful for their wise words and support.

When I think of them and of what they taught me, two important lessons stick out.

  • Trust people to do the right thing. You can’t do it all by yourself and you have to accept that not everyone will work in the same way you do. But as long as the guidance is clear, the training is thorough, and the standards are easy to understand, empowering terminologists improves the overall quality of the terminology and leads to greater personal and professional satisfaction for everyone.
  • Never compromise on quality. Ensure management understands and supports the need for terminology standards. And then set an example: Always enter the correct, mandatory minimum information necessary for quality term entries – and then maybe work a bit harder or add a bit more to make those entries even better (even if you have to be sneaky about it). The people using those terms will appreciate it.

I’m glad I was able to thank them at their respective retirements specifically for the things they taught me – because, as it turns out, I’ll never have that chance again.

My word of advice to you, dear reader: Do not delay saying “thank you” in person to those who help you along your way in your terminology-related endeavors.

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