At one stage he has an encounter with the Terrible Trivium – a faceless demon, dressed impeccably in a business suit, who lives in the Mountains of Ignorance and absolutely adores wasting time with useless (‘trivial’) tasks. He convinces Milo and his traveling companions to complete several chores: moving water from one well to another by using an eyedropper, relocating a pile of sand (grain by grain) employing only a pair of tweezers and digging a tunnel through a mountain ….with a needle.
When the group realizes that in order to complete these tasks in this manner it will take them 837 years, the Trivium responds:
“Think of all the trouble it saves! If you only do the easy and useless jobs,
you’ll never have to worry about the important ones
which are so difficult. You just won’t have the time!”
I was reminded of the Terrible Trivium the other day when my friend Ed Chaffin related this story:
“I just had a conversation with a Millennial. Their boss initially
wouldn’t allow them to use an iPad to take notes in a cloud
software program during a meeting. They had to explain the process
and why they used their iPad in order to gain approval.”
When, in the name of all that is holy, will we arrive at the day when the grizzled old bosses/managers/leaders ‘get’ technology? And yeah, I’m using technology as the example in this case (because it is the example), but this attitude pops up anytime someone says “let’s keep doing it the same way; it’s always worked” or “I don’t understand it so you don’t need to understand it either.” It’s the workplace equivalent of a mother saying (“hi mom!) “Put on your sweater…because I’m cold.”
The Trivium likes petty tasks and worthless jobs. Sometimes, or so it appears, the bosses/managers/leaders do too.
(this post orginally appeared at the HR Schoolhouse)