The instructions

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Stop trying to take the easy way out. By easy way, I mean the one where you have someone else do it for you.

Nearly everything you buy these days, nearly everything you work with these days, nearly EVERYTHING has some kind of “User Guide, “User Manual,” “Setup Guide,” “Assembly Instructions,” “Directions for Use,” etc.

Seriously. Have you opened a box of anything and not found at least some documentation with directions or instructions of some sort – either right there on the paper or directions to find them online? So there is honestly no excuse for not knowing what to do, how to use it, or how to set it up.

Unfortunately, society has become a bunch of “anti-instructionists.” (Yes, I made that up, but I can’t think of anything else to call it.)

It used to be that the cliché was that men were notorious for not reading the instructions and just jumping right in to figure it out (even if it meant taking something apart multiple times to get it right). That cliché has been turned on it’s head as, apparently, all people are just too lazy to read/learn/discover/follow directions. So many people are just willing to have someone else do it for them (or, to put it more bluntly – DEMAND you do it for them).

I know I am a little bit on the unusual side, since I do in fact take time to read the documentation included with a product, or posted online. I don’t always read them AT the moment of unboxing but I do eventually get to it. It depends on the level of complexity involved. I have even read the manuals that came with my car (hey, I like knowing about all the features that I may or may not use!). So, I do go through the trouble to learn about something. Sometimes it is trial and error and sometimes it is because I actually put effort into it and did it the right way.

Work lately…work lately is a bunch of people who don’t bother to read the documentation the software owner puts out. They don’t read all the supplemental documentation we create to further assist in use of the software. Hell, they don’t even watch the video we produce to give them visual aid in using the software. Instead, they just call use and take the easy way out – they want us to do it for them.

It’s frustrating that day after day after day people call and ask the exact same questions they asked three days ago, or 24 hours ago, or 6 weeks ago. Seriously, people, it’s part of YOUR job. Learn it. Read it. Discover it. Work in it and work at it. You aren’t going to have a crutch all the damn time.

OK.

Deep breath.

I guess my rant is over.

What type of person are you? Do you read the instructions and learn or do you completely ignore them and rely on someone else to do it for you? Do you follow directions to do things correctly or do you just make it up as you go and hope for good results?

What type of person are you?

Unknown

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People at work are angry with you. Well, not really angry so much as irritated because you didn’t do a part of what you were supposed to.

I just learned that I was supposed to do part of a software configuration in the new software for a school district that just converted. It’s not a life or death issue and, yes, it is inconvenient but it isn’t something that keeps the district from doing what it is supposed to do.

The only problem is that I didn’t know I was supposed to do it.

The process is still pretty new and there are no manuals from the software company that says “Do this in this order to set up the software for district use after conversion…” so we are kind of feeling our way through the process. Stuff gets missed or falls through the cracks since we don’t know completely what needs to be done.

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

Donald Rumsfeld

So why the heck are you irritated with me if I didn’t know I was responsible? And why the heck are you irritated with me if I didn’t know what the heck I was supposed to do if I didn’t know I was supposed to do it?

Now that I know, I am aware of it and can take care of the next time, but for now:

BITE ME.

I don’t want you…

white and black soccer ball on side of green grass field during daytime

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Kids. They can be so confusing.

When my daughter was really young she used to tell me that she “didn’t want me.” I, of course, knew she was mad at me and knew that she wasn’t really speaking truth, at least the truth of a 2-3 year old.

Now I find myself in the later years, as she is a teen, saying more things that start with, “I don’t want you…”

Most of the time is related to a request for her independence and I respect that. I shouldn’t need or want to do everything for her. I am willing to let her explore things on her own and allow her the freedom to have success and to make mistakes. I may not always be happy about the choices, but they are hers to make. I can, of course, choose not to honor the “I don’t want you…” if I know the choice or decision isn’t in her best interest and is dangerous.

She now has a job. It’s doing something she likes (kinda, kids don’t really like to work) and in a sport she has enjoyed for a long time. She has been reffing soccer games for the parks and rec. For the most part, she has enjoyed it and she has been successful at it this year.

I once said, shortly after she got the job, that I was going to come watch her some time. Her response was, “Dad, I don’t want you to come watch me ref games.” When asked why she said that was just weird, that parents aren’t supposed to go to their kids’ place of work just so they can watch them. OK, get that. We visited my son at Taco Bell shortly after he got his first job just to tease him a little but it wasn’t to sit and watch him during his whole shift.

So, to honor her request, I have stayed away. Part of me wants to go watch her and be proud of the job she does, but I can also do that just sitting at home. I don’t have to see her to know she is doing the best she can, really enjoying what she is doing at the time, and be proud of her too. Right?

Am I correct in honoring her “Dad, I don’t want you…”?


Why can’t kids come with a damn instruction manual?

white and black soccer ball on side of green grass field during daytime

Follow the instructions they said

person pointing on white textile

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Follow the instructions.

Generalizing, this is a tough thing for us males to do. We just want to jump right in and make things happen. We know what to do instinctively. Now, that generalization might be true of many men but it is not true of me. I actually like to read the instructions and user manual so I can get the most out of something I just bought.

So, we have replaced a couple appliances in the kitchen recently and two of them arrived yesterday. I was left to replace the microwave after all was said and done (the store wanted $150 for the install). I looked at the instructions and measurements. I looked at the space and did the measurements. It would fit and it would work nicely in the space the old one filled.

Commence the two hour microwave wrestling session. I drilled new holes (because of course the old ones won’t work). I mounted the new bracket. I measured twice and sometimes even three times to make sure everything was going to line up. With some help, because I am not Superman, the microwave was hefted into position. It attached to the bracket just fine, but otherwise wouldn’t fit.

At this point I was wishing I had four arms and was three people. Off the microwave came. I measured some more. No, it is should fit just like it says. I measured again. Yes, it will fit. The microwave was hefted again and set on the bracket. Still no fit (of course, because I didn’t change anything). While while holding it in place I was formulating a plan – the plan was coming together…SHOVE until it fits. This is gonna work.

So, shove I did. No budge. Shove some more. Still no budge. Rest. Shove again, harder. No budge. Shove some more. Still no budge. Let’s try greasing the edge a little to help it along. (yes, I greased an appliance. You read that correctly.) Grease, in the form of Crisco, applied. Shove again. It moved right into place. Excellent. Now to finish the mount by attaching the screws on the top.

The holes don’t line up.

Damn, Koreans. This thing was probably built by North Korea or something…

Pull it back down. Re-drill the holes. I am just gonna guess this time since the template obviously was NO HELP the first time. Shove the microwave into place. The screws match perfectly. Microwave mounted.

The lesson: skip the instructions and template. Just eyeball it and give it a shot.

I guess I should just go with my maleness.