Dec
2
2011

Everyone should be in IT for a day

“I’ve never had a job working in tech support, but I have called it,
and I am an idiot, so I have a pretty good idea of what they have to
deal with. Tech Support, as a concept, sounds impossible to me: You
get on the phone with someone who has a problem they can’t articulate
that they want you to fix, and then they yell at you if you don’t do
it.

I’m not very tech savvy, but I certainly know more than my parents, so
I try to help them over the phone whenever something goes wrong with
their computer or blu-ray player or the attack robot I bought them for
their last anniversary. It’s really tough for someone to talk about
computers if they didn’t have them growing up, because there’s a
language barrier; they just don’t have the vocabulary. Everyone who
has ever had to help their parents fix a computer knows this. And, if
you work in Tech Support, you have to deal with the computer
illiterate parents of the entire world. And other just general,
run-of-the-mill idiots. Like me. As I said, I know more about
computers than my parents, but not a lot. I still have to call a
professional when something goes wrong with my computer. This is what
one of those calls typically looks like:

Me: Hey, my computer’s not how it usually is.

Tech: Alright, sir, I’m happy to help. Why don’t you tell me what’s
wrong with it?

Me: It’s just broken. And it’s usually not. That’s the weird thing.

Tech: Okay, what’s… Tell me what you’re doing, describe what things look like.

Me: I’m talking on a phone, things are looking good.

Tech: Talk about your computer.

Me:I hate it!

Tech: Sir, look at your computer screen at the parts that aren’t
working, and tell me what you’re doing and what you see when they
don’t work.

Me: Well, I want to open a browser, but when I use the browser and
click on the browser, the browser doesn’t come up. What do you think
it means?

Tech: I think you’re calling too many things “Browser.” I would like
you to pick one thing to call “Browser.” Doesn’t matter which, just
decide one of the things on your computer is the browser, and then
give different names to anything that isn’t that.

Me: I’m going to call the clicky thing that fits in my hand the
‘browser,’ because I use it when I browse the brows- Oh, shit. I’m
still doing it.

Tech: That’s fine. Why don’t you just restart your computer?

Me: Help me! The screen is different now.

Me, doing my best.

Tech: That’s fine. Are you seeing a blue screen?

Me: I don’t know that I’d call it ‘blue,’ exactly.

Tech: Well, what color would you call it?

Me: Doesn’t really feel like my place to say.

Tech: Sir, please tell me what color your screen is currently.

Me: I’ll give you this: It’s definitely in the blue family. It’s,
like, a cousin of blue.

Tech: That’s fine, sir, thank-

Me: Like a second cousin of blue, I misspoke.

Tech: That’s very good, sir. Now, if you-

Me: Ah! My phone’s in my mouth now! Can you do anything about that?

Tech: Sir, I can’t hear you.

Why Everyone Should Have This Job:
Tech Support is about teaching someone who doesn’t speak the same
language as you to fix their problems just by talking to them. Imagine
how much better we, as a global community, would be at communicating
with each other if we all had to spend a year in Tech Support. In the
way that a lawyer trains her mind for organizing thoughts and building
arguments, a Tech Support employee trains his mind for pleasantly and
efficiently communicated with people who are much, much dumber.”

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