Just trying to make a simple gradient, and the Photoshop directions are not consistent with what I am experiencing.

I created the gradient, and from that point, the directions say to choose the gradient, then click and drag to apply the gradient. However, when I do so, nothing happens. What am I missing?

Note that I am posting here after approximately 2 hours of trying to do this one simple thing. This is frustrating. Fireworks is much better and more intuitive, but because Photoshop is the leader, I have to use it at this job.