I am a regulator by trade. It wasn’t something I intended when I was getting my degree. I mean, no little girl draws pictures of herself as a grown up regulator, hidden behind huge stacks of paperwork. But, just as not everyone gets to be an astronaut, I too had to reevaluate my career goals as the naïveté of childhood wears off.

And so, my life is paperwork. But the advantage of that is that I learned about how to function in pretty much any situation that requires documentation. I am very good at figuring out places like the DMV or customs, knowing that having all the right paperwork in your hand before you go makes everything move smoothly. The lesson I have learned is that there is no patience inherent in the setups to favor the uninformed or slow to learn.

I can expect repeat customers to have a basic understanding of the requirements. Sometimes, during the course of my day to day, a newcomer will surprise me. He or she will nail all the requirements for submission and a part of my brain will quietly sigh.

We sometimes lose sight of the value of being able to read instructions. But when someone does, it triggers the bureaugasm: the release of endorphins to the brain when someone brings all the required documentation required to satisfy the scenario or criteria.

Because we are going away for a week and need a pet sitter, the one far more likely to get my business is the one that shows up with a formal contract, liability insurance and the like. When she pulled out the packet of papers for me to sign, I was ecstatic. Now this was someone I could understand and work with. They spoke my language, the language of paperwork.