The reality of knowledge work
I installed a wireless home network this weekend, and it was a lot harder than I thought it should have been (three XP computers and a TiVo with new Linksys wireless stuff). I spent over an hour going online, Googling user groups, until I got what I needed to configure everything. The experience was similar to when I got a wide screen television, and had to change not just the user settings, but the accessed-only-by-secret-code factory settings. The fussy, brittle, politically correct, theorist side of me was indignant at both activities. What about ‘Customer satisfaction,’ seamless integration,’ ‘quality assurance,’ ‘user interface,’ blah blah blah? And yet the rest of me was realizing how old I must sound. “I can’t believe I have to go get gasoline for this new-fangled automobile. Why Bessie just needed some grass.” Or even, ‘why does the hardware store sell me these grass seeds that will need to be mowed once a week?’ So I spent an hour doing knowledge work. Big deal. What was I belly-aching about? Networking software and televisions might get easier over time, but what comes next will require just as much adapting. It is easy to theorize about learning in the future. It is just a bit harder when it takes up a Saturday afternoon.