Hard copy…

With very few exceptions, all of our documents live on one of several network drives available to every employee in the building. I theory that means if ask where something is, I should be able to say “it’s on the Q-drive in the folder titled Big Expensive Project.” Thus armed, a reasonable person could be expected to go forth and find the file they need. Of course our people aren’t necessarily reasonable… and the concept of a networked drive Dot Matrix.jpgmight as well be a blueprint for a time machine.

I’ve been using a tablet to tote all of my paperwork for the better part of the last year. It’s great. I make changes in a meeting, at my desk, or sitting on the can and whatever I’m working on propagates through the network to my laptop, my desktop, and even my phone. With the exception of a very few things that require, for some inexplicable reason, a manual signature, I don’t need paper. And I don’t want it. Paper is going to get lost. My electronic files are going to get backed up once an hour and then stored off site at the end of the day.

You can, perhaps, understand my level of frustration when an employee, let’s call him Mr. Turtle, comes to me with a hand illustrated packet that explains one of the new concepts we want to put in place. Seriously. He had hand drawn graphs and had cut sections out of other documents with scissors and taped them into his “presentation.” Literally. Cut. And. Paste. I’m a pretty smart guy, but I have no idea where to even start dealing with that level of ineptitude from a long-serving “professional” member of the staff.

It’s possible that I’m going to have to pummel the next person who comes to me wanting hard copy of something with a ream of 11×17 paper to drive home the point that this isn’t 1870. Everybody doesn’t need a dead tree edition of everything. Actually, almost no one needs a hard copy of anything any more. Of course that would mean that they’d have to figure out how to use the glowing box on their desk for more than a place to stick Post-It notes.

Editorial Note: This is part of a continuing series of previously unattributed posts appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.

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