Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Back with a Bang (or, really, just a long post, not a bang, because "bang" makes you think of something exciting, and this isn't)

So, in case the four of you who read my blog haven’t noticed, I’ve been on a blog break.

And it’s been mutual. I’ve been sick of my blog and my blog has been sick of me. But, because I’ve received a few (okay, one (thanks, Rachel)) request(s), I’ve come out of my self-imposed moratorium and have decided to post again.

I thought I would catch you all up on what this last month at work has been like—you know, since I’ve been training my job replacement.

To give you a sense of what I’ve been enduring, I’m going to reproduce (to the best of my ability (and with some creative license (but not much))) a little bit of a training session I had yesterday.

And I’m going to do it in the form of a one act, one scene play.



LIZ: mild-mannered, kind, intelligent, and down-to-earth woman in her early 30’s who is hoping to hit it big as a poet, but realizes that that is a pipe-dream because no one hits it big as a poet, even people with talent, so she has resigned herself to her job, and is just hoping that her new trainee will make it through the rest of the year.

TRAINEE: she’s a nice woman in her early to mid 40’s who needed a job, any job, so that she could have insurance, and a 401k plan. She’s in her 40’s, after all, and needs to plan for retirement.


In a brightly lit room are two desks, across from each other in opposite corners, one by a door, and the other by the room’s only window. The room is sparsely decorated, with big filing cabinets against every wall, like a mausoleum of paper. At the desk by the window, sits LIZ. She’s looking out at the view of trees and grass with a look of longing in her eyes.

LIZ (in a depressed whisper): Oh foliage, how I’ve missed you…

In walks TRAINEE. LIZ gets up from her old desk with a sigh, and TRAINEE sits down. LIZ pulls up a chair and both women turn towards the computer.

LIZ: Okay, this morning we’re going to download a few things to your desktop to be used as a reference while you verify files.

TRAINEE: Sounds good.

LIZ: First let’s go the website to download the files.

TRAINEE: Okay, how do I do that?

LIZ: Open up “Internet Explorer” and go the website I placed in your favorites.

TRAINEE attempts to do that by clicking on the “Word” icon, and not the “Explorer” icon. Soon, 7 word documents appear on the computer. LIZ gets frustrated with each incorrect click of the mouse.

LIZ (In a sweet tone): No, you click right here, on the “e” for “Explorer.” “W” stands for “Word.”

TRAINEE: Oh, yah.

After a few minutes, and additional assistance from LIZ, TRAINEE gets to the right website.

LIZ: Okay. So now I need you to click on the sentence that says “Handbook: Volumes 1-6.”


LIZ (a little impatiently): Right here, (pointing with her finger), the only sentence highlighted in blue that says “Handbook: Volumes 1-6.”

TRAINEE clicks on it. Nothing happens.

LIZ: Double click. Remember how I said that sometimes you have to double click on things? (Said nicely to make up for her initial irritated tone.)

TRAINEE: Oh, yah.

LIZ: Okay. Now, you see the list of all the volumes? We are going to have to download each one, and place it on your desktop. So, click on the first one… Good… And select “Master” because that will include everything for that volume…Good…Now let’s save that to your desktop.

TRAINEE: How do I do that?

LIZ: Click on File, Save as, then select Desktop.


A few seconds go by as TRAINEE sits there, not doing anything.

LIZ: Go here…then here… then select “desktop.” Good. Now, go on to volume 2.

TRAINEE clicks on volume 2.

TRAINEE: Which option do I choose?

LIZ (In a slightly annoyed tone): “Master.” You want the master for each volume.

TRAINEE: And where do I save it to?

LIZ: Your desktop. You’re going to want to save each volume to your desktop. Remember I just said that?

TRAINEE: Oh, yah. Okay.

TRAINEE goes through the process and saves volume 2 to her desktop. And then stops.

TRAINEE: Now what?

LIZ: Go on to the third volume. Remember, we have to do all 6 volumes.

TRAINEE: Okay. (She clicks on vol. 3 and pauses.) I need the Master version, right?

LIZ: Yes.

TRANIEE: And now I save it to my desktop, right?

LIZ: Yes.

TRAINEE proceeds to download vol. 3.

TRAINEE: Okay. Now, do I load vol. 4?

LIZ: YES! (Said gruffly.) We have to load all the volumes. (Said nicely to soften the early gruffness.)

TRAINEE: And I need to load the Master one?

LIZ: YES!! YOU NEED TO LOAD EVERY MASTER COPY!! (Said sharply and with definite irritation.)

TRAINEE: Okay. (She clicks on vol. 4). And I load it on…

LIZ: Your desktop! You load it all on your desktop.

TRAINEE: Okay. (She loads it.)

LIZ: Now, on to 5.


LIZ (Interrupting): Master


LIZ (Interrupting): Desktop. Now go on to 6.


LIZ (Interrupting): Master


LIZ (Interrupting): Desktop.

LIZ looks longingly out her former window, remembering a simpler time…


So there you have it. I think I’m going to have to up my loving-kindness meditation, because the half hour is not making me feel loving or kind anymore…

Please pray for me to develop more patience.


Eddie said...

I feel your pain.

About 3 years ago I had to train a new employee, and found that even the most basic and repetitive tasks proved challenging ("click" = 1 click, "double click" = 2 clicks).

I don't know if this is predictive of your situation, but she turned out to be insane. I mean, quite literally. She didn't last long.

Heather said...

Oh, poor sweet Liz! I dont know if this will help you find hope, but I just helped my grandma set up her DishTV, and I had to explain it to her like 10 times, and then go back the next day and explain it a few times, but I think she has it now. Your Trainee will get it soon! (I hope.)
I love you! And, I know where we can find some GREAT ice cream or hot chocolate if you need an escape. I'm free after 8 today.

Andrea said...

I'm so glad you're back! Okay so is this lady blonde? It sounds like it's going to take a long time training her. I'll pray for you. I think you should take Heather up on the ice cream or hot chocolate! :)

Ms. Liz said...

kaloo kalay!!! Liz is back! My life is complete. I've been feeling myself starting to get kind of crabby, like if I haven't read a good book in a while or left my cell phone at work. I am SO sorry your trainee is - errrr - special and I'm sure that if anyone can teach the lady and make it all work its you. I will keep you in my prayers though. And welcome back :)

Rachel said...

I literally shouted, "LIZ POSTED!!!" and Katie shouted, "HOORAY!" There is much rejoicing in #103.

Maybe you should try screenwriting on top of poet, to make yourself a little more marketable. I guess that we all just kind of assume that people know basic computer skills when we hire them. Or maybe she was just nervous. Has she gotten any better? I found it kind of interesting that the only thing the person who trained me in my last job knew how to do was copy files to the desktop.

Laura said...

This is so sad! In my work, we use A LOT of Excel. I think people think they're better at it than they actually are. I mean, just because you can keep a list of all your DVDs or your Christmas card list in there doesn't mean you can do financial calculations and projections. We have people that say in an interview that they're proficient or expert in Excel and then they get here and it's like "umm...what's the difference between a row and a column?"

I feel for you! But this is one of those moments that's painful at the time and then turns out to be a funny story!

Heather said...

Laura-next time you get that question I have a visual that might help:
...this is a new album, so I'm hoping that link will work...
maybe it will help you too, Liz.

Mom said...

I'm still laughing!!! I've missed your posting too!! I love you, Mom

Gina said...

Hallelujah...she's back. You just made my whole week. Yippee! Maybe a portion oft he job interview should include a computer proficiency test. Honestly, people have to understand that in order to be marketable, you gots to know the computer!

Thanks for making a comeback, Liz!

Katie said...

I'm so happy your back, but feel so sad for your situation. No fun at all. Maybe you should just tape the instructions and have them playing in the room over and over and over again. Have you tried hypnosis?

Anonymous said...

Welcome friend, welcome! I was getting concerned about what you were doing on that roof!

Did TRAINEE's eyes widen in horror at the big light box on the desk? Did she pick up and examine the flat thing below it with all the letters of the alphabet on it, not to mention the numbers? Did she keep looking on top of her desk for the files she was saving on her desktop?