I work in IT. So a good amount of my day goes something like this:
Of course, despite my best efforts, not every problem can be resolved with a simple reboot. Some problems are shockingly complex. Some problems seem to linger for weeks or longer. Sometimes I try something that really shouldn’t work and I can’t explain why it would and it does. I try not to ask too many questions.
But sometimes, you get those extra special problems from those extra special users. They’re either afraid of computers or openly malicious towards them. They’re afraid to try anything but they click everything. These are their stories.
Sometimes, users don’t really get the limitations of computers. Here’s an interaction I had with a particularly confused Chief Financial Officer.
CFO: Can you just set it up so I can tell the computer what to do?
Me: … what?
CFO: You know, I just tell the computer to do something, and it does it.
Me: Dude. This isn’t Star Trek. You can’t just… command it to do things.
CFO: Really? Are you sure?
Me: Pretty sure you’re just going to have to learn to use Excel. With a mouse. And a keyboard. Sorry man.
Of course, this was the same guy who once hit “Reply to All” on a company-wide email telling a story about how he once farted in the General Manager’s office, so the bar was pretty low to begin with.
“I know what I’m doing.”
There’s nothing worse than someone who overestimates their technological prowess. These “power users” tend to give false or misleading information and sometimes suggest bewildering solutions to problems. They’ve learned a few terms and throw them around without context or meaning. It’s pretty great.
Once they learn the term “motherboard,” it’s all downhill from there. A typical interaction goes something like this:
User: Hey, my monitors are broken.
Me: Oh yeah? Why do you think that?
User: When I put my laptop on the docking station, they don’t turn on. I checked all the plugs and the laptop is fine. It’s definitely the monitors.
[I walk over. The power button is fading in and out, indicating the laptop is in Sleep Mode. I press it. The monitors turn on.]
User: What’d you do?!
Me: I hit the power button. It was in Sleep Mode.
User: I tried that.
Me: So.. it only works when I do it?
User: I swear I already did that.
Me: Listen, I’m not saying you’re lying, but… well, yeah, that’s pretty much what I’m saying.
I guess my customer service skills could use some work.
“I swear, I didn’t click anything.”
I run into a lot of viruses, especially with the less tech-savvy users. They click everything. Except what they’re supposed to. They’re terrified to do Java updates, but if you know 1 secret Mom trick to a flat stomach, they can’t whip out their credit cards fast enough.
User: There’s something wrong with my computer. I can’t seem to get to the Internet. You know, for work stuff.
Me: Yeah, it looks like you have a virus.
User: I swear, I only browse work sites. I don’t know how this could’ve happened.
Me: Ummm yeah I wasn’t judging you. Everybody surfs the Internet at work.
User: Not me, I only use work sites.
Me: Really? You never read the news or check scores or gossip sites?
User: No way.
Me: So these 15 coupon toolbars you have… they came from.. our accounting software?
User: Ummm… not sure.
Me: Do you want me to open your browser history to verify?
User: There’s a history of where I go?!
Unfortunately, you can’t teach people what’s legitimate and what isn’t. And they deny it all. They never surf porn (why the fuck not?), they never browse random sites (hahahaha), they never click on anything they shouldn’t (which is weird, cause I never get strange search pages or add-ons). They’re the most innocent bunch of folks out there.
The Importance of Computing
So, in case you haven’t gathered, I work with computers. You might even say I am technologically connected to the world around me. Aware of the ever-changing landscape of technology. So when a user explains to me why it’s so very important that they have a working computer, I can’t help but be amused. This is like explaining to your doctor why you need your skin to hold in all your internal organs and blood. He knows. He’s a fucking doctor.
User: My computer crashed and I really need it to get this report out.
Me: Got it. Well I’m not sure what’s wrong with it but I’ll get to it as soon as I can.
User: Well I really need this computer, you see, my report is on there and–
Me: Please, explain to me again the importance of your computer to your job, as the IT guy, it is not obvious to me how the use of technology in the workplace provides any value at all. Where’s your abacus?!
User: *evil glare*
As I said, my customer service skills could use some work.
… and there’s just no fixing foolishness.
At the end of the day, you can’t make people learn to use computers. Some folks just aren’t tech-savvy. That’s why I have a job. I forgive them. But some of the things which come out of their mouths are just… precious.
User: I need to connect to this website for remote viewing but it didn’t work.
Me: What browser are you using, Internet Explorer?
Me: Have you tried another browser? Sometimes certain sites work better with other browsers. Like Firefox or Chrome.
User: Yeah man, I already told you I used MSN.
Me: Wait… what?
(If you aren’t sure what that means… you might be one of these people. Sorry.)
Oh, users. They’re so adorable.