Sunday, September 13, 2009

It doesnt come with a manual....

I write user manuals as part of my profession as a technical writer. I am a proud peacock when it comes to saying: Every product comes with a user manual.

Think about it.. Just about everything you buy or see or know has some sort of write up attached to it. There is at least a caution word or disclaimer attached to just about anything today.

I was talking to a friend of mine on particularly nothing.. Somewhere in between our getting-to-know-each other chat, parenting and children became the subject.

When talking about her new-mommy stage, she said: My baby didn't come with a user manual.
She went on to say, how it was a very different learning and we continued on that for sometime and stopped at "Yes, nature has its own way of teaching you things..."

but my mind carefully noted that one line:

It doesn't come with a user manual.

My tech writer friend, who had a baby recently said, after a tiring day-and-night match with her newborn : "You forget that there is no user manual :) You just have to start with high hopes that you are doing the best you can." I had dismissed it off, because we were both in the same profession and it was easy to joke about it...but the latest chat was with a non-tech writer. So if you have two people echoing the same opinion, then may be, just may be, it is worth a second thought.

How much of this thought do we have in our minds, every time we see our parents??

We were women talking, so may be my writing speaks about mothers, but then I am sure, fathers would have their share of quizzical times to fondly recall and painfully-perplexed times that they are still trying hard to erase from their minds.

When I say, user manual again in my work, I am sure, I will remember my Mother.... :) If you are fighting with a gadget and can't find the user manual that your son/daughter might have hidden away from your line of sight, instead of spiking up your blood pressure, try to think of your mom and all the tough times that you might have given her, and smile.. for all you know, you'll find that manual right under your nose....

Remember, she had no choice but to handle you without any user manual.


SG said...

The only time I got kind of irked with a user manual was when I got a parker pen as a gift and it came in a box with a manual !! I always think that having user manuals kind of restrict the creativity (obviously product dependent, not for household appliances) and I do like the learning curve, so like Children, it would be nice it we had this learning curve in many other items we use in our daily life too :)

Anonymous said...

actually, she's wrong. There are a bunch of "User Manuals" - some of them quite famous actually...and just as useless as some of the technical documentation we produce :)

SK said...

User manual for growing Kids :-) Nice idea though..

Dew Drop said...


She meant no manual actually comes with the baby :) You have to get to the Net or a book that you might have with you :)

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