sometimes we get asked questions that are, apparently, stupid, designed just to annoy us and waste our supposedly precious time. Some examples:
- Why do you do your job?
- Why do you do (something you have been doing over and over for a lifetime) this way?
- What is the expected return of this work I’ve been assigned?
- What is the purpose of the last hole on running shoes’ laces?
- Why do we keep measuring that index instead of that one?
- Where do jokes come from?
We get annoyed because the answer could be obvious, too long to explain our too long to think about. Yet every attempt to divert the question fails, and it gets repeated with pestering insistence!
What can we make of it? Many people will conclude that the asker is either dumb or deliberately working against us!
I’d like to suggest a little exercise now. Think about the last time you probably was on the other side of the story. That time when you knew your question was perceived as silly, yet you was in absolute need of the answer. That time when you knew the answer was simple and that you could look it up easily, but you were too eager to know to wait.
Why was it so?
Was it because you did care about the matter at hand, that you asked in the first place?
Was it because you did care so much that you kept asking that question commanding an answer?
We ask because we care, otherwise we do not ask, right? I cared about nature and the inner working of our world, so I started asking questions. When I felt I needed more answers, I got books. Then university and a PhD, and the steam of questions never slowed down! When I care, I ask. I remember a course about safety at work six years ago: you can be sure that my colleagues will still remember the “pestering guy with lots of whys”!
A single question could be the most basic signal of caring, you could even design a new unit of measurement, with every question mark adding up as a “single unit of care”.
Now, could it be that who’s asking us is doing it out of care? Do you have the courage and strength to acknowledge it, and act accordingly? Can your judgement go from dumb to intelligent and from opposing to cooperating?
Until next time, take care of the carers.