It can be painfully embarrassing to ask for help with something simple. It’s even worse when you can’t find that help.
When was the last time you struggled to fix something yourself instead of getting help? I’ve always been a believer in getting help when you can in order to save yourself a lot of time. There’s experts out there for different things, after all.
Time Is Money. Or So They Say.
But what do you do when you have no money to pay someone to help you out?
I tried reaching out to several friends but they said they had to take a look and asked when it would be a good time to meet up and to schedule a meeting. Why do we need to meet up to fix something like that? This guy lived two hours away. I was trying to find a reason as to why it had to be so difficult to get quick help with a website.
I know, some people think that it’s selfish to expect help and then not be willing to drive two hours away to get something fixed, but stop and think about that for a moment. I understand if I’m getting my car fixed and I need to get the car to the mechanic. But I had a question that I sent over email, and I was asked to meet up. That means time, gas, and small talk.
Reminds me of work when I had to get access to a program and had to call three tech support people and wait 24 hours in order to grant me access so that I can get some work done.
What I wanted to do was simple (or so I thought). I needed to make the content of a blog post to look like it does now (on desktop). Empty space between the end of the page and the content. I feel like it makes it easier to read, and that’s a main reason why I enjoy checking up on WPMU DEV, and the blog over at Buffer.
But here’s what’s important:
At first, I spent around four hours trying to do this myself before I even posted the question on the support forum, and even then I apparently asked the question wrong.
“How do I increase the amount of space between my content and the sides of the page?”
The moderator asked me for a screenshot. So I took two screenshots within that hour (one of how my site looked like and another showing what I wanted it to look like) and posted them up there, hoping that he’d come back and tell me how to fix it with a quick custom CSS snippet.
After the sixth day waiting for support to get back to me, I figured I might as well do it myself. I headed over to Google.
A blog post led to another which led to being introduced to a browser extension thing called Firebug, but for that I had to download Firefox, and then I had to watch a video on how to use it.
I clicked around trying to act all professional around reading <div> and class=”bla bla bla” in every other line, when I happened to roll over something, and it highlighted page content.
I could literally find out what this section was messing with. So I kept clicking around until I found my page content, which apparently was under something called “col-sm-12” and I added padding, and excluded it from taking effect on mobile devices. It worked.
I learned a few lessons from this. So not all of it was a waste.
1.) Some People Want to Make Everything A Process
(And that’s okay. For them.)
Here’s what I mean:
Some things can get done fairly quickly. Things like responding to an email or a text message. Also things like meeting up for coffee.
But some people try to make it all into an event.
“Hey dude, wanna get coffee next Tuesday?”
Do I really want to get my calendar out and mark “Coffee with Mark?” on a random Tuesday that will probably end up getting awkward and no one will want to call to cancel so we both just kind of end up letting it go and then later blame each other for it?
Why not meet up tomorrow, or that same day?
Here is a real email reply I’ve received:
I got an email saying that they got my email. I guess some people call that a courtesy, or like that’s the right thing to do. But not me.
In my case, I wanted to get my website fixed. I didn’t want a formal meeting that involves scheduling and talking and driving somewhere, paying $6 for a coffee and then looking at the same screen while one of us knows what he’s doing and the other (me) kind of just watches.
It kind of reminds me of those meetings in college where everyone tried to sort out the perfect time and place that would work with everyone’s schedule and then you realize that you could’ve just sorted out the work via email. If someone said “sorry I have class at that time” I’d just say, “we’ll send you the meeting notes. is this email ok?”
And then I’d look insensitive and pretty messed up.
We’re Taught to Trust the Process
And with some things, we have to because there’s no other way.
But other processes just hold us back.
Go to school, get a job, be happy. Or want a job? Gain experience, add it to your resume, practice interviewing.
But there’s someone who took the position you were applying for at your workplace just by having a stronger relationship than you with the hiring manager or a higher up.
There are people who went to school, got a job, and aren’t happy with a $100k salary.
It’s like we’re scared to leave the process, and comfortable procrastinating instead of just getting started with what we have, where we are.
Someone wanted to meet up with me in order to build a website.
By the way, I was not planning to return to Los Angeles in the near future, but I guess I get it. Some people want to meet up with you to discuss… the same things they’d discuss over phone or email… in order to just.. okay, that example got away from me there. I don’t understand why I needed to meet with him face-to-face in order to add a feature to his website.
Let’s move on to lesson #2.
2) You Are Smarter Than You Think
Had I waited for a response to that fix, I would’ve been waiting forever. I just saw that the forum moderator has been responding to other queries and looked over mine. I would’ve had to hire someone to fix it and it would’ve cost me at least $100.
We sometimes think that we need to have a certain amount of readers in order to sell something, or have a certain amount of income in order to feel comfortable with ourselves, look a certain way, weigh a certain weight.
Lesson Learned: You only find out what you’re capable of once you give it a try.