Saturday, September 24, 2011

Manual Destimulation

I'm the Tech guy at work.

(I know it's the grocery business, but being the guy who deals with anything computer-related is just another hat I wear.)

Because I'm going to be transferred to another of our locations in two weeks, my boss has as job for me to do before I go: dumb down all the tech stuff I know how to do and put it in a book.

It doesn't matter that there's setup and operations manuals for all those scales, debit machines, terminals, security cameras, etc (you know, the ones I read when we installed the stuff?) - they're too hard - so I have to type out manuals of my own for them to use when I'm not around.

It's fucking boring, tedious, & harder than you think.

Taking something that I can do in minutes and breaking it down step by step is boring. Making sure that it is understandable - to someone who doesn't normally deal with the stuff - and that you haven't missed a step is more challenging than doing the job itself. Imagine you're writing a manual telling someone how to wipe their ass and you forget to explain grabbing toilet paper. Shit can get really messed up if your directions aren't correct.

So I'm having to either mentally walk myself through each step as I write it down, or actually do the job again and stop at each step to make notes. A 15min job takes 3 times as long to document. And I can't use proper terms, either, as "Insert disk drive cable into Modnet port." has to be switched to "Plug silver end of flat beige cable into the 3rd opening on the side of the scale. It will only fit in one, and only one way." - to me, the second one sounds worst than the first, but as long as they understand it, it'll work.

It's probably going to take a small part of each shift over the next two weeks to do it, but when its done I'll look like a hero. (And them being able to do the job without having to bug me will benefit me in the end.)

Just one thing I haven't figured out yet:

Should I type it out, or write it in crayon? Do you think they'd get the hint?



  1. Anonymous3:20 pm

    One task I did took may 20 characters to type on a keyboard, and the task was done.

    ... except for the 3 hours of paperwork and scheduling and checklists before, and the hour of paperwork and checklists afterward.

    Sometimes, writing it in crayon is the only way. - b

  2. Anonymous3:21 pm

    mayBE. Dammit.

  3. awesomely written must say

  4. Just think, no idiot that needs to have a "dumb" version will ever read directions for anything, and no, not even yours; I live it every day.

  5. Type it...but type it Comic Sans.