The ‘Just’ Syndrome

There’s a tendency among those who don’t work with computers in any real capacity to fail to understand the complexity of the work we do. I encapsulate that concept in the phrase: the ‘just’ syndrome.’

“Can’t you just…”
“I don’t see why you can’t just…”
“But if you just…”
“All you have to to is just…”
“All I want is for you to just…”

You usually hear this when a person doesn’t comprehend the intricacies of their request. I often hear this when someone wants a div moved a few pixels and overlaid with another, with no real understanding of the notion of an inline-block layout. I’ve also heard it from people who don’t comprehend the difference between flat HTML and a backend or dashboard like WordPress or Drupal. Here’s the difference: MySQL. If you want control over your content, you need a database…but you’d be surprised at how many people can’t see the difference between a flat site and multi-tiered
architecture.

I’m given to understand that this is endemic in any relationship where one party doesn’t understand the skill involved in performing a task that seems simple.

“I just want a 1040…”
“I just want the house painted really quick…”
“I just want the carburetor replaced…”
“Can’t you just take a quick look at this mole…”

These seem like simple tasks, but have complicated components that require a deep understanding of the field each of these professionals are in to even answer a ‘simple’ question.

The moral of the story: respect the skills of the professional you’re talking to, and don’t request a ‘simple’ anything that will only take up ‘just a bit’ of their time.