Manual labor just gets no respect

This pilot fish is the EMS director -- "as in 'ambulance,'" he says -- for a small town. But he also happens to be the only one at city hall who knows HTML.

"So I was the one that usually edited the city Web site," fish says. "Then my boss had this great idea -- WordPress!

"All the city directors had a conference call with the guy who sold the city the Web site. Everyone was taking notes except for me, because I knew what he was explaining. I had questions the guy couldn't answer. Everyone stopped taking notes."

The transition takes place, and soon fish's cell phone is ringing regularly with calls from other departments who now have to figure out how to update their own pages on the site.

After two weeks of "Can you help with this?" and "How do I do that again?" fish is ready to lose it -- his cell phone, that is. But instead, he writes a manual for his co-workers, complete with colorful pictures and step-by-step instructions that fish tests on his 11-year-old.

Then fish prints out copies of the manual -- in color -- and figures his phone is finally going to stop ringing.

But it doesn't. The only difference is that the conversations are shorter: Fish just tells his callers what page to check in the manual.

"Finally I stopped answering my phone when they called," says fish. "Now I understood why the full time IT/telephone guy doesn't answer his.

"After that, someone stopped me at work and said, 'I tried to get hold of you but couldn't, so I read the manual. You put a lot of time and effort into that, didn't you?'

"It took all I had not to strangle him."

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Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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