Communication

The picture in this post is of a cover plate for a light switch.  It is made of metal and it is typical of what is used on Navy ships.  I keep this cover plate on my desk and may actually put it in a frame of some sort.  This cover plate is a visual reminder of a very important lesson I learned in the Navy: when you ask someone to do something, it is important that you take care to communicate any expectations that are attached to your request.  So here’s the story:

I had a division (smaller than a department) of 5 or 6 guys and our spaces (translation: rooms) were soon to be inspected by the Commanding Officer so we were touching up (or completelyrenovating) some things.  As the cover plate on one of the switches looked kinda sloppy, I said to one of the guys, “Please rough up this cover plate so we can paint it.”  I think back on that now and laugh.  He roughed it up all right.  I am not sure if you can see in the picure but the cover plate is dented and bent and gouged with every bit of paint removed from it.  What I meant for him to do was simply scuff up the paint that was on there so new paint would stick to it.  But I assumed he had the same experience I did and that he would intuitively know exactly what I meant.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  You know what happens when you assume…you make an a** out of ‘u’ and ‘me.’  (Get it?  ass-u-me?  Ha ha ha…) 

i just saw the cover plate sitting on my desk and figured I would share my tidbit of learning with the world.  That is all.  : )

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