When a Picnic is not a Picnic

On March 29, 2011, in Blog, Leadership, by Christine Glasco

A couple of months ago, I started having problems opening Word documents, EXCEL spreadsheets, etc. I tried re-booting and asking people to ‘re-send’ documents. I defragged my hard drive, checked the status of my security package and I searched the Microsoft Online Support Center for solutions.

I even took my laptop to a national retail technology store for service. The service technician ran a program to identify viruses, conferred with a confederate (higher functioning tech), performed some incomprehensible keyboard tasks and after another 45 minutes filled with ‘tinkering’ he advised me to re-load Microsoft Office.

Next, I investigated purchasing a new laptop. There are five [yes – five] computers in this household with two resident humans. Adding a sixth laptop seemed – well self-indulgent.

After several days of angst (cursing all technology deities in general) and trying additional solutions that did not solve the problem, I finally asked my husband (he has an IT Security background) his opinion of what might be happening.

He asked: “What version of Microsoft Office are you using?”

Immediately, a disgruntled – WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT? and WHY DOES HE ASK ME TECHNICAL QUESTIONS? – look came over my face. Recognizing ‘the look’ and acknowledging that discretion is the better part of valor – he said, “Never mind, I will check it out.”

He is a very wise and lovely man.

Well, as you might expect, my Microsoft version was over 6 years old. “No wonder you’re having problems” he said. I thought this was a bit mean spirited – but hey, he was going to help me, so I cut him some slack.

I am now the satisfied owner of the newest Microsoft Office software. My husband (in this case he was my unpaid Consultant) helped me by asking the right question, identifying my problem and purchasing and installing the software. He even provided a tutorial to help me navigate the unfamiliar landscape.

Then he told me that “PICNIC” is the acronym that IT support techs use when describing user stupidity issues. PICNIC means:

Problem In Chair, Not In Computer!

Questions for you to consider:

  • When has your limited knowledge or experience been the problem but you blamed something or someone else?
  • Are your performance issues related to the problem solving capabilities of the person inhabiting your chair and not with your system (team, organization, division or company)?

Contact me to talk about your problem solving approach.

© All rights reserved.

Christine M. Glasco consults to company executives, business owners and non-profit leaders on strategic leadership and career management/career transformation solutions. For a complimentary copy of Five Tips to Transform Your Executive Career to help you be more effective in your career, go to www.christineglasco.com

Email: info@christineglasco.com    Phone:  1.940.367.0837

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2 Responses to When a Picnic is not a Picnic

  1. Shari Krueger says:

    Every day is a picnic for me! Love Chuck. 😉

  2. Christine Glasco says:

    Thanks, you are so right – every day is a picnic when you love!

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