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The Did-I-Google-it Rule

Fairly early on in my tenure at Fulcrum, it became obvious that I was working alongside higher levels of talent and intelligence than I was used to. Everyone was very kind and answered my questions politely and I didn’t hesitate to let my curiosity show. As I settled into my place in the company, however, I had a growing feeling of guilt about interrupting coworkers to ask for answers that could most likely be found with some thrifty Googling. Granted, some of the information was inside baseball and only they had the answers, but the rest of it? Not so much. One day, though, my attitude changed.

Working in softare, sometimes you cross paths with someone who seems to know everything. Even regarding subjects barely tangentially related to their focus, they seem to have a thoughtful nugget to share or an eye opening vision for what’s possible. I’m not going to go so far as to say some people’s time is more valuable than others…but some people’s time is more valuable than others. The tragic thing about having a coworker like this is interrupting them with a question, even if it’s relevant to what they’re doing, breaks what is likely a long, deep, highly important train of thought.

It took only a few times doing this for my guilt to disallow any future attempts to get answers from this person. The impulses to do so are as strong as ever, but I vividly remember the day I almost asked for help before stopping myself and instituting a rule I still use: the Did-I-Google-it rule. The concept is simple yet brilliant. The moment you’re about to DM a question to your friend, coworker, or loved one, stop. Delete it. Search for the answer yourself. Then, when you can’t find it, I’ve invented a companion rule to go into effect if the D.I.G.I rule fails: Did-I-Google-it-ENOUGH.

I’ve used this rule not only on the smartest person at work who’s time I don’t want to waste, but every person who’s time I don’t want to waste. Sarcasm aside, I’ve surprised myself often enough with this to see that this is a great mindset to have. The only downside I’ve experienced so far is the precise knowledge when other people asking me a question didn’t use the rule.