I heard you know something about computers! There is nothing that fills me with more dread than hearing those words, mainly because I know the question that follows: Can you help me?
Now don’t get me wrong, I love technology and I do my best to be “in the know” when it comes to new mobile devices, operating systems, games, etc. If I can help someone out at the office, I make sure that I am with them until the issue is resolved or have pointed him/her in the right direction. But at the end of the day, unless I am working on a project into the evening, I like to leave work at work because I want to give my family my undivided attention.
Do I get requests from friends and family at work? Of course I do. I mean it’s not like I have work to do so of course I can help you with your problem! Sarcasm and guilt trips galore but it’s in my nature to be helpful, so what can I do!?!? Over time however, I realized that the easiest way to decrease those requests was to figure out a way to have them help themselves. I learned this when I went to visit my wife’s school one afternoon. She managed to wire several offices, and even design the cabling along the walls herself to get several users to connect to a network printer. I was very impressed, not only because she did not ask me for any help, but because she took the time to figure out a solution to her problem. She could have reached out to me at any time, yet she chose to figure it out by herself. She knows nothing about broadcast domains or switching, but she figured out a way to connect all these people on the same network! Why can’t anyone learn technology on their own? My mom learned how to use Facebook around this time as well, and she knew nothing about technology before getting an iPhone. The “Let me Google that for you” mindset was born.
Family member: I have a virus, what do I do?
Me: Did you Google how to perform a system restore? 9 times out of 10, that will remove the malware or virus for you.
Family member: You are a genius! That fixed my problem!
Ever since then, that family member never called me about a virus, and I am pretty sure she talked to her friends about it. I figured out a way to help someone by not doing anything at all. More importantly, I helped “pay it (the solution) forward” to anyone she ever talks to that is having the same issue in the future. Instead of getting a call from a friend of a friend, or a friend of a family member, they could share the new knowledge they gained from solving the problem themselves.
For all those techs out there suffering from this predicament, show your friends and family that technology isn’t as scary as it appears. Show them how to solve their own issues and let them know that Google is their friend! You will thank me in the future. As for me, I have to figure out how my mom’s friend managed to forget the password she uses on her laptop every day.
If you have a computer problem that neither you or Google can solve, contact us to find a solution.
By: Jonathan Cartagena, Engineering, The TNS Group