In which the right words unlock the secrets of the universe

shadowLike why the HECK I could not print anything this morning from my work laptop windows musheen. Something had changed. Nobody thought to tell us cat-like BA-type folks. The QA-type folks kindly forwarded us an instructional email. I followed those instructions. I still couldn’t print anything. That was okay given that there was really no need for me to print anything anyway. Oops. A random person shot me some files that needed to be printed ASAP, preferably in color. No it is not my job to randomly print things (in color or not) upon demand but it was a cheerful demand by a trusted superior and I was cheerfully willing to try to comply.

It was my humble co-worker W1.5 who solved my problem. He had been having similar problems with printers and I forwarded the the email to him also. We are all pretty humble where I work and W1.5 can be particularly humble about his knowledge although he is actually one of our more valuable employees. He overheard me struggling and, as he had been able to print based on those instructions, he approached. I went through the process once more time with him looking over my shoulder and wouldn’t you know, I had missed one important step. It was included in the instructional email but not very clearly stated. W1.5’s help made a light bulb come on in my head and now I *own* the printers at Cubeland! Because we are all humble, I thanked W1.5 profusely and then told our *lovely* QA folks that I had needed Dummy Instructions to access printers so as not to belittle the instructions they had sent me. And then I printed out the LSCHP’s files on the color printer that I used today for the first time in my eight (yikes!) years there.

A whole lot of people use a whole lot of words all of the time to try to say something simple. A person like me, a systems analyst, can understand a lot of things, but I get lost in cacophony when too many people are talking at once or someone is talking *over* me, meaning that they are not giving me a chance to talk and/or are judging me without trying to listen to me or whatever my side of the story is. Stop. Let’s start from the beginning. One step at a time. And let’s draw a picture or two or three.

The printer incident is the first of two times today that I experienced this kind of epiphany because someone used words that I could understand. Please people. Take the time to listen to the other person’s story, even if you think they are the scum of the earth. You don’t always know what their story is. Speak honestly or hold your tongue. If someone seems to be struggling to understand your words, find new words or ask them questions until you understand where the difficulty lies. Make sure those questions are inquisitive, honest, polite questions, not the nasty, incriminating, “loaded” questions of cross-examination. Give people a chance. Give peace a chance.

I am not sure my words tonight make all that much sense, even to me. I learned a few things today but I am still doing quite a bit of processing.

Love y’all, KW

2 Responses to “In which the right words unlock the secrets of the universe”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Listening is a lost skill. You remind me that I need a black ink cartridge for my ancient printer, that manages to print photo quality. HP DeskJet 882C, and I hope it lasts forever!!

  2. Sam Says:

    You are a gem, KW.