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Inside The Box

fan in motion
I’m a big fan of working outside the box

Yesterday I helped my old boss install a ceiling fan. It was in my living room. I had fun.

But it wasn’t done in the traditional way.

When I worked for him, I did what I was told … mostly.

He allowed me a fair bit of autonomy because I’m kind of clever and sometimes saw easier ways of doing things right.

But he would not tolerate things being done wrong, so if I saw a shortcut that would mean something being poorly installed or repaired, I was shut down and instructed to do as I was told.

Other shoes, other feet …

But yesterday my old boss was working for me.

Well, it’s not really that simple. I was working for him but I hired him and he was on the clock so whatever I did he didn’t have to do and that saved time so I didn’t have to pay him to do it all.


Moving on …

And when it came to installing the fan, I did a lot of the work, but he oversaw what I was doing for safety reasons. (I’m not licensed)

The interesting thing about installing fixtures in the electrical business is that there are laws about how the wiring must be installed, but the mechanical parts of the fixture are installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Basically, anyone can install a ceiling fan (the junction box needs to be able to support the weight of it), but a licensed electrician should do the wiring or at least oversee the wiring being done.

We did that

But since I was doing all the doing I did what I usually do and left the instructions in the tightly sealed plastic bag … in the box.And yes, I too think it’s funny that they were in the box and I was thinking, as usual, outside the box.

There were more than a few parts to this thing, and though they were pretty obvious, the ones that went between the motor and the junction box bracket were plentiful.

The wires from the motor housing had to be fed through the drop tube to reach the junction box, but the plate for the ceiling had to be on the drop tube before that happened. Which meant I had to take the wires back out and reassemble that much before I could fish the wires back through again.

Third time’s half a charm

Then it turned out that the collar that covered the screws  on the ceiling plate also had to be part of that assembly before the wires were fished through the drop tube a third time.

Finally we were ready … except that it was at that time that I discovered the motor housing plate that covered the connection to the drop tube also had to be on the drop tube before the wires were fished through the tube and the tube was reattached to the housing for the fourth time.

Would it have been faster?

Would it have been faster to read the instructions? Oddly enough, no. Not only does trial and error make me more in tune with what I’m doing, but it adds the adventure of a challenge to the endeavor and that means it increases the likelihood that I won’t wander off to do something else.

Okay, I wasn’t likely to wander off with my boss sitting there watching and helping, but it also means that my attention was on my task and my enjoyment of solving the riddles meant I was working at the speed of ADHD thought even though I was repeating some parts of the job.

So the take away lesson here is either a) leave the instructions in the box, or b) it’s always interesting to change positions with your employer.

I’m saying when you have ADHD, both are valuable experiences.

Inside The Box

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2018). Inside The Box. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 22, 2019, from


Last updated: 23 Mar 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 23 Mar 2018
Published on All rights reserved.