Tech Support

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.

9 thoughts on “Tech Support

  1. If we never call them, they won’t have any work. If they don’t have any work, they’ll lose their jobs and their families will suffer. I have no qualms about calling those magical tech support folks at my workplace. They are great guys who try not to make me feel too stupid. As far as your being a celebrity? I don’t need to call them about that, it’s a no-brainer!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I recently moved back to New York from L.A., Wendy, and I’d completely forgotten about just how “Larry David” every shop owner here is! You drop a handbag off at the shoe-repair place to have a zipper fixed, and the guy spends the next ten minutes trying to talk you out of it — that it would be easier for us both if I’d just go buy a new bag. (Not from him, mind you — from whoever. Just so long as he doesn’t have to deal with it!) When I went to the air-conditioner installer to schedule the removal of my A/Cs from the windows, I felt like a damn defense attorney in court trying to explain to him that Yes, I really want them removed for the winter and I’m happy to pay whatever surcharge and finally I hear you, but my wife wants them out. Every transaction in New York, from the drycleaner to the pharmacist to the kid behind the counter at the bagel shop, goes exactly that way: It isn’t enough to walk into a store and request an appropriate service — you actually have to defend your decision! It’s f*#&ing fatiguing. Like you with the tech guy, I’m like, “Can’t you just f*#&ing do it as asked?!”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. great post, Wendy! for me, there’s always this lingering idea that computer stuff should be quicker. like how on TV, commercials for online services are ‘just one click away’ — they don’t add in all the added time-consuming junk lol

    Liked by 1 person

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