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  • Writer's pictureNicole Papaioannou Lugara

Take It to the Graveyard: Burying the Excess - An L&D Ghost Story

It's a dark stormy day.

The kind where the power sizzles and snaps at random.

Just enough to make the appliances scream as they reset.

Where you sit on the edge of your nonergonomic office chair wondering... "Will the internet stay connected?"

You hear the familiar bloop of a Teams request echoing from a headphone in the distance.

You freeze.

Did you have a call scheduled that you forgot?

Your heart races and you hasten towards your desk...

hair disheveled,

wearing a Van Halen t-shirt 3 sizes to large for you with a hole in the armpit.

You see it on the screen...

Subject Matter Expert is requesting a meeting.

Did you forget? Did you? You can't seem to remember agreeing to this.

With sweaty palms, you click the mouse,

and they appear.

"Hello, my ID. I have come to tell you one thing," they say.

"It must all go in the training."

You want to mute and shriek, but all you can do is scream silently in your mind: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

You muster an "Are you sure?" but they have already disappeared.

The words turn to smoke as they fall from your lips.

And you are suffocated by their command.


You come to after about an hour.

The shock has started to wear off.

Survival mode triggered.

"Where's the real target?" you ask yourself as you fumble with the roadmap, looking for an escape route.

You're going to save the company from an egregious mistake.

You're going to make sure the weight of training doesn't crush learners beneath it.

You're going to hack the content up

into itty bitty pieces,

place them in containers according to their purpose.

And you're going to bury every single piece that doesn't serve.

It's a gamble.

One wrong move and the SME could take you out.

You need to be thoughtful.

Meticulous even.

Strategy is everything.

You must be relentless in your pursuit of the goal.

Kill your darlings, even.

Take it to the graveyard.


You've done it.

The excess is buried, tucked deep away where no one will ever have to see it.

Your doubt wells up. Did you do the right thing? Should you have let it live?

Your guilt spills over. Were you right to get rid of it? What if someone longs for it later?

Your anxiety gnaws. Have you angered the higher power? Will your time be up?

And as you mull these question over and over, you hear that familiar sound...




It's the Subject Matter Expert.

"ID, I know what you did."

They pull up a piece that you thought was buried, covered in red tracks and slashes.

No. No. No.

This can't be happening.

You won't let it.

"It has to be this way," you cry out.

"Why?" they ask.

"For us to thrive, they must die."

As fast as they appeared, the Subject Matter Expert vanishes again.

You hear the jingle of Outlook.

They've sent you an attachment.

Your stomach churns.

Your clenched fists open just long enough to click the mouse.


You blink at the document on screen,

catch your breath slowly.

It's going to be ok.




The Stakeholder calls...


Scary stuff, right?

Nothing strikes fear into the heart of novice learning designers like subject matter experts who insist everything must go in the training.

But Your Instructional Designer knows how to handle complex content. We work with subject matter experts and stakeholders to create meaningful impact.

And we're not afraid of a challenge.

Need better training?

240 views2 comments

2 comentarios

Chaitali Pal Chowdhury
Chaitali Pal Chowdhury
27 oct 2022

Ha ha this was one the best scary stories I have read!!!

Me gusta

Sara Pehrsson
Sara Pehrsson
26 oct 2022

Ha ha ha ha! Spooky, scary! The ID's version of the Telltale Heart.

Me gusta
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