Going The Wong Way I'm ALWAYS going the Wong way

The Long And Short Of It

People don’t care what you have to do, just get it done.

Have you ever noticed someone’s eyes drift or glaze over when you would be explaining something to them? Well it could be that you’re just boring them to death. But I was thinking about when I would occasionally be explaining why or how I got from point A to point B.

Say for instance someone were to be interested in how you happened to come from the point you were at 5 years ago to this point right now. You would think about all of the different things that have happened, good and bad, small and little. You would want to talk about every little incident to truly show how or why or when you did what you did. But more often than not, it seems as if that person wants to basically just know a summary of the journey. They don’t want to hear how you felt 10 days after you experience unrequited love or how you felt during that all-nighter that would seemingly determine your future.

It’s like that in the real world, too. It’s very accurate, in my opinion, to say that people just want you to get something done. They don’t want to hear about all of the problems that you had while getting there. At work, they will be much more interested in a final project (whether that’s a report or a program or a piece of art) than they will be in how you arrived at said destination. They don’t want to know how there was this tiny bug in your program that you couldn’t find for the longest time. They don’t want to know how you messed up the formatting of something and had to start over. I remember at a previous job that I had, we would have weekly lunch meetings where the new people would introduce themselves. A new guy on my team joined and there was the requisite introduction made along with the invitation to talk about what he did/was going to do at the company. This guy (who admittedly might have been slightly out of touch with American social norms because he seemed like he had not been born there) promptly got into talking about what he had done in the past week to get a particular function to work. He went on about how hard it was to figure it out but ended with saying that it looked promising and he was making headway. Want to know what I said when I introduced myself? I said, “I’m a student at UCSD studying Computer Science.” So you can imagine how I cringed at seeing him talk endlessly, which sent everyone in the room (temporarily) to Timbuktu.

Another example is my morning routine. I have five alarms set each day. Now you must be wondering why I would have such a thing. Everyone is different, and here is what works for me:

  • I have my first alarm go off at a pleasant level of noise to the news on the radio on a clock radio.

  • My second and third are tunes that are progressively louder on my cell phone.

  • The fourth is a shrill and loud alarm on my cell phone.

  • The fifth is a very loud and annoying alarm on the clock radio.

Wow this seems like a lot to me when I read it. However, I figure that this covers me for cases of when I am very tired (can’t get up at the first one or two alarms), and it also covers me for disasters (either my cell phone runs out of a battery or the electricity goes out). Do people care about this? Not really at all. In fact some people often question why I do the things that I do. But what’s really important and what do people really care about? Whether I got up in time or not!

So basically, people don’t want to hear the details of the journey most of the time. This does not mean that the journey is not important. In fact, the journey is immensely important. However in many cases, people want to know the destination and end. They want the synopsis.

That makes it all the more important to take note of this: if you find someone who is interested in the entire journey, you just found a “keeper.”