Is there a polite way to tell someone 'for fucksakes, learn to use the tools of your trade'



  • From my perspective, not knowing how to use basic Excel functions like, say, sorting, inserting a column, autofitting a selection, and so-on are such basics that not knowing how to do them, in a job which involves lots of Excel usage, is like not knowing how to read and write. Not only is it immensely annoying for me to have to watch idiots fumble around, but they're actually so inefficient that if they took five minutes to learn some new basic technique using it would actually save them that much time in the next hour, let alone over days and weeks ahead.

    I generally bite my tongue because (they're my managers and) I'm getting paid overtime to sit and wait for them to mess around, but also I worry that there's no good way to explain to your boss that he's wasted around a significant portion of his (very busy) day, every day, for years.

    Is there a good way to raise the matter? Should I keep quiet? Overall I'm not annoyed enough to set them up and get them fired, so that's out. Am I just being intolerant?



  • @MascarponeRun said:

    Am I just being intolerant?

    No. I don't do it so much now, but I used to live inside Excel, along with my coworkers. We were all generally very proficient and efficient (to the point of rarely needing the mouse). Even so, just watching another person work would make most of us very uncomfortable. Not that the other guy was necessarily doing it wrong or inefficiently. It just drove us nuts.

    Watching people who weren't experts was especially frustrating, and still is, frankly. The approach I've taken is to say something along the lines of, "Hey, there's a shortcut for that. Would you like me to show you?" Sometimes it works, sometimes not. It's important not to try to do too much at once, though, or the person is liable to get overloaded and frustrated.



  • @boomzilla said:

    "Hey, there's a shortcut for that. Would you like me to show you?" Sometimes it works, sometimes not. It's important not to try to do too much at once, though, or the person is liable to get overloaded and frustrated.
     

    ^



  • Be careful... if they learn Excel too well, you'll get stuff like we have in our company.

    Excel is the only tool we have for submitting travel requests, purchase requests, and things like inventory management.

    It's really fun when you open the tool and get "<Your colleague> currently has the document open for editing. You can close it, or keep it open and wait for a notification when the lock is available."



  • @too_many_usernames said:

    Be careful... if they learn Excel too well, you'll get stuff like we have in our company.

    Excel is the only tool we have for submitting travel requests, purchase requests, and things like inventory management.

    It's really fun when you open the tool and get "<Your colleague> currently has the document open for editing. You can close it, or keep it open and wait for a notification when the lock is available."

    I swear 90% of our company runs on excel. I think it's the tool that's one step up from keeping everything on a post-it on your monitor for corporate america. I'm just glad the one "coder" didn't write a frontend to the shared drive in Delphi. I'm still weaning people off his delphic program that has information that the program I manage now keeps in it. That shit looks like 1995 personified to me, which while it was a good year, is long gone.


    Btw- just taught my boss how to use Win-L to lock his laptop. Because it was painful to watch c-a-d scroll with mouse to lock, and my irritation finally made me tell him about it. Saving seconds of useful time every day!



  • @MascarponeRun said:

    From my perspective, not knowing how to use basic Excel functions like, say, sorting, inserting a column, autofitting a selection, and so-on are such basics that not knowing how to do them, in a job which involves lots of Excel usage, is like not knowing how to read and write.
     

    It gets worse.  How many times have you received a Word document asking for your updates, and when you make formatting codes visible you find that the author doesn't even know about tabs?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @tweek said:

    Btw- just taught my boss how to use Win-L to lock his laptop. Because it was painful to watch c-a-d scroll with mouse to lock, and my irritation finally made me tell him about it. Saving seconds of useful time every day!
    Win-L: Saving the company those crucial 3 seconds of productive time before I head to the shitter to accomplish precisely nothing for a quarter hour.



  • @dhromed said:

    @boomzilla said:

    "Hey, there's a shortcut for that. Would you like me to show you?" Sometimes it works, sometimes not. It's important not to try to do too much at once, though, or the person is liable to get overloaded and frustrated.
     

    ^

    The politeness involved and the fun you extract when telling the other person to learn how to use Excel are like the kinect and potential energies in a closed system. They both sum up to a constant value, but the more you have of one of them, the less you have of the other.



  • @too_many_usernames said:

    Be careful... if they learn Excel too well, you'll get stuff like we have in our company.

    Excel is the only tool we have for submitting travel requests, purchase requests, and things like inventory management.

    It's really fun when you open the tool and get "<Your colleague> currently has the document open for editing. You can close it, or keep it open and wait for a notification when the lock is available."

    To be fair, if you learn Excel really well you can do all those things without those problems -- but wouldn't :)


    @Renan said:

    The politeness involved and the fun you extract when telling the other person to learn how to use Excel are like the kinect and potential energies in a closed system. They both sum up to a constant value, but the more you have of one of them, the less you have of the other.

    Ah yes, that's the problem - sometimes the fun is too tempting :)

    @Weng said:

    Win-L: Saving the company those crucial 3 seconds of productive time before I head to the shitter to accomplish precisely nothing for a quarter hour.

    Hey, those are the most only productive fifteen minutes of my day.



  • @da Doctah said:

    @MascarponeRun said:

    From my perspective, not knowing how to use basic Excel functions like, say, sorting, inserting a column, autofitting a selection, and so-on are such basics that not knowing how to do them, in a job which involves lots of Excel usage, is like not knowing how to read and write.
     

    It gets worse.  How many times have you received a Word document asking for your updates, and when you make formatting codes visible you find that the author doesn't even know about tabs?

    I have slightly more sympathy for that, because it's not necessarily obvious that such a thing as a tab should exist in typography - at least to me. If you don't know about tabs, then that's not a Word-specific problem. With the Excel users, though, the main cause of frustration is that they have no idea that Excel has all this advanced (ahem) functionality, so they never bother to look for another way to do things.



  • How do you autofit a selection?



  • @Weng said:

    @tweek said:

    Btw- just taught my boss how to use Win-L to lock his laptop. Because it was painful to watch c-a-d scroll with mouse to lock, and my irritation finally made me tell him about it. Saving seconds of useful time every day!
    Win-L: Saving the company those crucial 3 seconds of productive time before I head to the shitter to accomplish precisely nothing for a quarter hour.

    He wanders off to meetings a lot, and sometimes I walk into his office and then we both have to find a third party (who will give my boss an answer immediately, instead of blowing me off via email, IM, or in person). The 30 seconds it takes him to do that gets to be much, when I'm the one waiting for him to lock his screen.

    then again, i'm a little impatient by nature, and a little twitchy when people go 'round the long way instead of doing the sane thing. I'd be in the same boat as the OP with the excel shortcuts (I'm not as versed in them, but I do know ctrl-' which comes in handy more often than you'd think)



  • @Spectre said:

    How do you autofit a selection?
    Not sure if you're serious there. If you are... Oh sod it, just google it. Just to be clear, 'auto-fit' is a formatting term in Excel, not a statistical one.



  • Have you tried, "My little 3 yo child can do this better, which reminds me, LIFE IS PASSING US BY! MOVE OVER!!!"

    While not exactly polite, it DOES get across 1) A message that TIME is something you can't get back

    2) A small dig at the clod who is WASTING your time

    3) No swearing which I would admit, goes a long way towards reducing pent-up stress, but ultimately makes YOU the 'asshole'

    Finally, 4) Gives you the opportunity to demonstrate the actual skills needed to accomplish tasks. I recommend doing THIS while even HIGHER UPS are present, showing THEM talents that might lead to bigger and better things...



  • while my boss would think it's funny, even with swear words, I try not to be "the IT guy."

    deep sigh "MOOOOOVE!"

    Teach a man to fish, etc. At least my boss learns things and retains them, unlike my friend with a masters in IT, who is now working as a picker in a warehouse for slightly above minimum wage.



  • @MascarponeRun said:

    I generally bite my tongue because (they're my managers and) I'm getting paid overtime to sit and wait for them to mess around, but also I worry that there's no good way to explain to your boss that he's wasted around a significant portion of his (very busy) day, every day, for years.

    Is there a good way to raise the matter? Should I keep quiet? Overall I'm not annoyed enough to set them up and get them fired, so that's out. Am I just being intolerant?

    old seying in India. give your superviser enuf rope and he will hung self very soon. sit back, relex and watch fun. :P



  • In a previous job:   a project manager who'd been a PM for well over a decade once asked me to show him how to use MS project.  He hadn't the first clue, and apparently had been tracking his projects using a combination of handwritten notes and memory.  <shudder>

    (The subtle ding being that I was a software engineer who knew more about Project than he did, and it wasn't even one of "my" tools.)



  • what? there weren't 84 excel spreadsheets involved?! I call shenanigans.



  • @too_many_usernames said:

    Be careful... if they learn Excel too well, you'll get stuff like we have in our company.

    Excel is the only tool we have for submitting travel requests, purchase requests, and things like inventory management.

    It's really fun when you open the tool and get "<Your colleague> currently has the document open for editing. You can close it, or keep it open and wait for a notification when the lock is available."

    While I recognize that this opens a whole another can of worms: They know that you could share an Excel file in such a way that concurrent editing is possible?



  • @Renan said:

    @dhromed said:

    @boomzilla said:

    "Hey, there's a shortcut for that. Would you like me to show you?" Sometimes it works, sometimes not. It's important not to try to do too much at once, though, or the person is liable to get overloaded and frustrated.
     

    ^

    The politeness involved and the fun you extract when telling the other person to learn how to use Excel are like the kinect and potential energies in a closed system. They both sum up to a constant value, but the more you have of one of them, the less you have of the other.

    You probably meant "isolated system" - a closed system can still exchange heat or work with the outside. It does not exchange matter, though.

    But why not go whole hog and simply use Heisenberg? The uncertainty principle is great for such stuff :p



  •  Try

    "for fucksakes, learn to use the tools of your trade, please."

     

    That's more polite.


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