Saturday, May 13, 2006


I recently got a different job at the same company, and for the last two years part of my job has been to answer random questions and solve random problems dealing with the complex and vaguely incestuous relationship between our business processes and our software. As part of my job this month, I've been asked to "document my tribal knowledge," which basically means they want me to write down everything I know.

This is, of course, futile in so many ways that I don't know where to start listing them. You can't write down everything you know--everyone forgets the most boneheadedly obvious thing when they try, like the exercise where you teach an alien how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and fail to tell the alien to take the bread out of the bag first. (This, incidentally, should be a compulsive exercise for everyone who writes instructions--furniture assembly folks, I'm talkin' to you.) Even if I do write it down, the odds are good no one will ever consult the resulting document. They already have a 250-page document that they fail to consult.

The other day I got a question and after I answered it, I reminded the woman that the answer was in said 250-page document. I said this partly because she's supposed to try using the document before she calls me, and partly because I won't be around to provide her with customized screen shots in the future. (Remember "Harvey," where the encyclopedia definition of a "pooka" talks to Mr. Wilson? That's the level of instruction this woman requires from a reference book.) Do you know what she said? She said she couldn't read 250 pages every time she wanted to answer a question.

This, no doubt, explains why I'm such a crappy cook. I didn't realize that you were supposed to read the whole Betty Crocker cookbook from cover to cover every time you want to make an omelet.

1 comment:

IntelIrish said...

umm having experienced frustration from the same narrow minded, i've told them once i've told them a 100 Million time's - the only solution is 1. Stop hiring them.. - never going to happen 2. Move them out of the rain invested area's so perhaps their minds can dry out so they can start to see reason. 3. For those of us that get it.. start running.... though as i like to quote if your not confused your misinformed so perhaps we have been successful along?