I’m not entirely inept when it comes to technology. I’m the family’s primary troubleshooter, and can even support my colleagues in several work-related apps and interfaces, so I do OK. But every so often it’s necessary for me to make the call, and yesterday at work I did just that.
My “My Documents” folder keeps disappearing. I know the documents live there, because even though virtual education necessitated the shift to everything Google Drive and Google Classroom-based, I can locate them intermittently. I was given a specific task and a completion deadline so wanted to refer back to an older document I knew had everything I needed. I knew it had what I needed because I wrote it all those years ago, what goes around comes around and all that. So we are back to the future, as the saying goes, and I can’t find what I want.
I employ my rudimentary problem-solving mental decision tree kind of thing to no avail. In the interest of efficiency, I make the call, literally and figuratively, to allow the people whose job it actually is to assist me. The tech guy, who shall remain nameless only because I honestly can’t remember his name, takes over my computer remotely (sorcery, I tell ya!) and naturally, restores my access instantaneously. Cool! I’ve got what I need, and look forward to copying and pasting away!
He provides a few pointers to add to my problem-solving arsenal, and you know there are fake quotes around “problem-solving” here, and I’m glad to have a new trick in my back pocket. He goes on to tell me there are several steps I can follow to access some command prompt thingy which allows me to blah blah blah blah blah blah which will be able to tell me blah blah blah blah blah.
I’m out. Mentally, I’ve already said thanks and good-bye, but I’m not a total jerk, so I say in response, “I suppose I’m supposed to tell you that I want to learn how to do what you’re telling me, right?”
He politely and professionally gave me the out, saying that I did not, in fact, have to learn what he was telling me.
Me: So I can call you back next time and you’ll fix it for me, yes?
Him: Yeah, sure.
Me: OK, cool, thanks. I’ll call you if I need help. Out loud this time, thanks and good-bye.
It’s not that I’ve got a learning new things aversion. But I’ve got limited bandwidth these days. And here’s the thing I think many of us feel when we call tech support: We should know how to do all the things. We should know how to fix this. What if the tech support guy thinks I’m an idiot? We all have computers, so we all have some base of experience. We shouldn’t interrupt the tech support people; they’re busy helping others who really need tech help.
But here’s the real thing: I have a job. I’m a pretty good speech-language pathologist, and I’m sort of a tech support person for the SLPs with whom I work, just not literal tech support. I help colleagues think through their speech-language concerns and help them problem-solve. I wouldn’t call technology support for questions I have about service delivery for students or decision-making about eligibility for services. I wouldn’t call the tech guy when seeking evidence-based practices for a professional development presentation or when debating which fluency-enhancing strategy might work best for a student. That is absurd.
So why do I say no thanks to new technology information from the tech guy, risking exposing myself as a dope? Because it’s his job to help me. He’s the expert in his field as I’m expert in mine. It’s a small and weird thing to be pleased to have passed on, but I’m happy I did. It may represent the feeblest stab at empowerment, using the dullest of butter knife blades, but I said no and it felt just fine.
My favorite tech support guy, Jim, told another of my colleagues yesterday that I should be a celebrity. Now THAT is the kind of tech support I can get behind, y’all.