“WHO IN GOD’S NAME IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS?
I'VE BEEN USING WORD FOR 10 YEARS AND HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT”
At her normal volume, this would still have been a few decibels above the humdrum conversational norm that was typical at this Barclays Bank office.
But this was louder. Way louder.
Seventy or eighty pairs of hands stopped instantly in mid-flight and an equal number of pairs of eyes tracked around and honed in at this sudden noise and impromptu spectacle. (Thankfully, one-eyed Pete had to take his dog to the vet that day otherwise it’d have thrown those numbers out.)
“I can't do anything with it. Who did this; who is responsible for sending this rubbish out?
“Err, that would be me,” said me. “Is there a problem?”
Her facial expression changed as her eyes met mine, and as an ex-military man, it reminded me of the time in infantry basic training when I'd screwed up on the drill square and the platoon sergeant stomped over, ammo boots grinding noisily into the concrete, came to a sudden halt in front of me, put his face 2 cm from mine and, with gob, spittle, breakfast remains and all, SCREAMED into my ram-rod rigid face....
“YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT THERE’S A PROBLEM…”
However, this was miles away from basic training, the drill square, and this was no bully of a platoon training sergeant...
...this good lady was PA to Barclay’s Head of IT.
Me? I was a technical writer on a short, 3-month contract.
Having to use Barclays Bank's awful Word templates was killing any productivity, so I asked and got permission to redesign them. Only 30 or so minutes before, I'd sent them to a core group for review.
Not only was she one of the reviewers, but she was also the first to feedback. 😀
Fight or flight? Fight or flight?
Admittedly, though there are few places to hide in the middle of an open-plan office in a commercial estate on the outskirts of Peterborough, that thought was fleeting.
- She was clearly frustrated about my Word templates.
- This wasn’t my first rodeo. (I HAD experienced this before, though not quite so loud, rude, in plain sight, or with such an audience.)
Charm-time, Russ. Put on the charm.
“Shall we go and have a look?”
Though the walk of shame was only to the other side of the office, you don't have to think hard to understand the looks, the sniggers, the "Ha, bl****y contractors."
But I was confident. I'd been "here" before.
I knew it wouldn't take long.
<10 minutes later>
“Oh, this is rather good. I didn’t know Word could do that. Really? I didn’t know that either…”
Long story short, she did apologise to me in front of the entire office and all was right in the world once more.
But this is my experience with Word, users, and their experience.
We naturally think that the way we're doing it is the right way. After all, we're self-taught, we've been doing it like this for an age, and it's got us this far, right?
Besides, what other way is there?
And we can't know what we don't know.
And if you’re using Word in a certain way and it works for you, then great.
However, the chances are it took you a lot of trial and error, frustration and hair-pulling, and wasted time and energy to get there.
I know from my own experiences, through years of trial and error, that my method works.
Many dozens of clients have confirmed this:
...and even to Microsoft...
My method works
It's not difficult.
It's more about understanding and applying Word's rules.
When you do that, Word becomes very easy indeed.
Shall we begin?