The weblog for Nooz you need. Period.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Let's talk about technical support.

Specifically, the fact that people will use you for it, if you know how to do things on a computer. A better term for this might be "free consulting." I just deleted the fifth or sixth message in as many days from someone that I once attended class with, someone who calls me and asks only for technical support. I don’t get phone calls from this person for any other reason. There’s never any offer of a favor or service in return. What's really ballsy about the latest message is that not only is he looking for an answer to his first question, now there's a second question too. No "hey, would you mind" or "if you have the time" implied here, it's "help me." Apparently I'm now on the hook to help with Winamp as well as setting up a webcam broadcast.

Thus my rant. The unnamed caller named Damon in the previous paragraph is just one of many and probably doesn't understand why I am purposely not returning his calls. It's a constant barrage. Hell, I even got an email about a week ago from someone I barely know asking me to help him load software onto his computer. I'm sure that each person that asks for this kind of help doesn't think it's that much to ask, but when you're one of several people who ask every week - or sometimes every day - it adds up. I have a job, I have other interests, and I don't like fixing other people's computers in my spare time. I simply don't have the time for it nor am I interested in it.

Folks, let me be plain. I don't have time to give help to everyone who asks. If you wait for me to get your computer working a certain way, you’re going to be waiting a long time. I cannot afford to do free consulting. This is the kind of thing that people get paid for in the real world, and I once did it for a living. There are exceptions to the “no technical support/no free consulting” rule: family members and close friends. Close friends know who they are. They are the people that I confide in. They don't brazenly ask for favor after favor. They are the people who know how I feel about this and have been told that I don't mind helping. And you know what? They don't expect it from me, they just know that they can ask if they're in a pinch, The same way I can count on them in a pinch. As it should be.

Hopefully these people wouldn't ask a casual acquaintance if they could borrow money. That's the same concept under a different blanket. I don't work for free, and that's what this is - free work. If you think that’s rude, that’s fine with me.

I’m still not going to fix your computer.

posted by Mark  4/23/2006 11:17:00 PM


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