IT work for no fun and no profit

Hey non‐heartless geeks, how do you avoid becom­ing some ran­dom person’s com­put­er guy1?

I was just blind­sided by my friend’s aunt and before I knew it, I was show­ing her how to use her laptop’s right‐click but­ton to delete unwant­ed desk­top short­cuts in Win­dows XP. Then, she want­ed to know how to delete a book­mark from her Inter­net Explor­er bar.

She scared me on the last one, though; through her bro­ken Eng­lish, she seemed to be describ­ing an unwant­ed brows­er tool­bar, and warn­ing sirens went off in my head as I start­ed think­ing I was going to be asked to remove one of those. Then, as she cursed Inter­net Explor­er while it took near­ly a full minute to load, I had to fight the urge to make a quick exit through the win­dow — closed and locked, of course — before I could be asked about remov­ing spy­ware or defrag­ment­ing. I almost sug­gest­ed she just buy a whole new com­put­er, before real­iz­ing that I could just as eas­i­ly be con­script­ed into help­ing with that.

Ugh. It turned out to be sim­ple stuff in the end… but this is how it always starts.

Before I know it, I’m going to be fix­ing her router, before trou­bleshoot­ing her DSL prob­lems, before being roped into advis­ing her on which of the pro­grams that she installed on her com­put­er she no longer needs and can be removed to free up space on her hard dri­ve.2

Proof that there is no god: I look the part.
This is bug #2. Let’s fix this.

  1. Did that term sound sex­ist? I meant only to refer to Nick Burns, my tech sup­port hero.
  2. This is actu­al­ly a true sto­ry.

2 thoughts on “IT work for no fun and no profit”

  1. With the excep­tion of fam­i­ly and close friends. If the prob­lem is going to take more than 30 – 60 min, do the first one for free but the next time they ask refer them to some­one else. Prefer­ably some­one you trust if you’d like to keep friend­ly rela­tions with the per­son.

    Or just claim you’re too busy a few times and they’ll get the point. =D

    1. Or just claim you’re too busy a few times and they’ll get the point. =D”

      I can’t believe I didn’t even think of that! Sounds good to me.

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