Frustrated by complexity without documentation

I’m having trouble focusing at work this afternoon. I’ve got a day that is very light in meetings which is quite refreshing since I seem to be in meetings all of the time on most days, so I should be able to sit and focus on tickets. I’m having difficulty though and it’s extra frustrating because we seem to be flooded with tickets more than usual this week.

I think a big part of my frustration is that so many of these tickets seem like wandering down an unlit labyrinth with nothing but dead ends. The questions themselves are hard enough to interpret and understand but are even harder to act on when we’ve got complex tools with no documentation, a lack of internal understanding on how various parts of our own system is supposed to work and interact with other systems, and some tools that just don’t seem to work properly ever. This morning, I was working on troubleshooting a 3DS2 ticket with Jasmine who is the most senior support engineer that we have besides our manager and even she was stumped not only on the issues at hand but how to use our tooling. It’s truly demotivating.

After talking with Jasmine some more about frustrations with just not knowing how our product works, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and risk annoying the Engineering team as a whole to see if we can get these customer questions answered and so that we can update our own documentation for these external-facing features. I really hate asking questions of the broader team sometimes because many of these questions seem like they should be really basic and I’m honestly embarrassed that I’m asking them. However, if Jasmine doesn’t know when she’s been here for almost a year, I feel like that’s a pretty good reason to try and get some better answers.

In some ways, these problems are just a reflection of larger problems that I have with society. Our society is absolutely permeated with all sorts of things that are complicated beyond reason without nearly enough documentation on how to navigate this world. As we move faster and faster, moving towards instantaneous solutions, this problem compounds upon itself as the biggest reason that documentation isn’t created is because of the time it takes to create and maintain. The more complicated any system is, the harder it is to document and the longer it takes, so it’s no wonder that people have started giving up on documentation. By the time they’ve fully documented any system, that system has become obsolete.

As someone who is neurodiverse myself and spend most of my time hanging out with disabled neurodiverse folx, this is immensely frustrating to me. If you haven’t had to navigate the world as a disabled neurodiverse person, let me tell you, it is pretty much hell. All of the systems that you need to rely on to just live your life are massively complicated and underfunded and many of the providers who you end up working with seem actively hostile towards you, meaning that you’re often on your own to figure things out if not actively obstructed in your search for assistance.

It’s no wonder that so many people are yearning for a simpler life and are forgoing official solutions to their situations and are relying more on community care and self-reliant solutions like herbalism, cannabis, and psychedelics to treat health problems. Even though these solutions are difficult and can provide less reliable care than quality healthcare solutions, they at least strip out systems that seem designed to hinder progress. Why wouldn’t you experiment with what you can do yourself or in your community when the rest of the world seems out to get you?

Even not being disabled myself, I feel this pull towards simpler, slower, and low-tech solutions. The slight decline in convenience and quality of life is totally worth the increase in my peace of mind that I gain from moving slower and dealing with things that I at least somewhat understand. Making the switch has been a huge learning curve that I feel like I’m still in the first phases of but I feel like it’s going to be totally worth it, especially if I can help clear the way for others to live a simpler, slower life if that’s what they desire.

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