An Appreciated Snow Day

How do you explain Velveeta to a child?

Is it a cheese? Is it a processed cheese food? Is it real? Is it fake cheese?

These are some of the questions I have been grappling with today, a snow day for ME! That is right, I got a snow day. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry…it is just the way this semester has been working out. Barb is the only person in the house who has gone to class every single class. I don’t want to contemplate how much school I have missed due to things beyond my control, such as sickness and snow days. I haven’t even had a chance to take a Nate’s Day Off. Damn, I didn’t realize that until now.

So why was this an appreciated snow day? Not because I needed another day off. Certainly not. Today I was appreciated for the skills I brought to the table. I have not been appreciated for my skills in a while, at least not publically. It felt great.

I was “volunteered” to create a newsletter for Allied Health, the dentists, nurses, and other non-pharmacy or optometry specialties on campus. I do not believe in recreating the wheel, which is one of the reasons I find designing game systems frustrating. In this instance, because it was expressed to me that Allied Health needed the newsletter sooner rather than later, I found a newsletter Word template and fixed it up-colors, heading, etc. Nothing special. I left the instructions in place thinking that anyone would be able to use them to create the newsletter.

The person in charge of the newsletter had some questions for me. If I had read the template instructions, I never would have included them. Seriously, Microsoft people, most people want to cut-paste and color stuff. They do not want to know how to create columns, sub-columns, and so on. In fact, all of that information can be overwhelming. Just in case Microsoft Word team is reading this. A couple of emails later, I had an appointment to visit with the person in charge to answer questions.

The person in charge was very happy that I would do this in person. Honestly, this baffled me at first.* I sent them the product. I should support the product. If that means I have to make time to teach and answer questions, then I should do that without hesitation. This is how I learned professionals behave. Thus, while I may not look like a traditional professional, this is how I behave.

About an hour later, the person in charge was excited instead of nervous, to play, not work, with the newsletter. I showed the basic set of skills, demonstrated a few easy modifications, but more importantly assured that I would be available anytime to answer additional questions. I felt great leaving. When I walked into the meeting, the person in charge was obviously not comfortable using the newsletter. I understand, when your first attempt to use something causes what you view as chaos, I too would be leery of making any changes. When I left, the person in charge, was smiling and in a much better mood.  Will there be more questions and teaching, I am sure of that, but for the moment the client went from unhappy to happy. That is success to me.

* My bafflement ended as soon as I recalled the horrible customer service and support I have been through within the last year.



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