So you like gadgets and technology, and know a thing or two about computers, and now your reputation precedes you and news about your tech wizardry has reached the all corners of your social network. We’ve all had moments where we just wanted to relax and unwind with friends and someone brings up the issue of their broken PC and wants you to go round and fix it. It can be a huge annoyance, and that’s why I’ve compiled a list of 6 great tips to dodge these requests.
1. Google some resources and send links and nothing else.
This is by far the most tactful and effective way to deal with email requests. Someone needs to remove viruses; Google “remove viruses from PC” find the first result and email it to them. Usually that will be enough, but if they respond by saying but I don’t understand how to do it, just remark that everything required is in there.
2. Problem? Get a Mac, or just buy a new PC
This is my favourite response to many tech support questions, Macs are easy for basic computer users, and they aren’t as configurable as a PC so users can’t mess it up. And the cost of repairing a PC, spending several labour hours reinstalling windows and applications tend to be more expensive than buying a new PC. So if your computer died, do not resuscitate, just upgrade to a new one.
3. Never undertake technical support outside of work hours
This is a good tactic if not a general life principle to live by, don’t take work outside of your working life. If you’re out in family functions or out with friends refuse to answer any requests or questions about trouble computers or buggy gadgets, tell them to email the problem during working hours, by which time they will have forgotten, if they haven’t you can always fire them back with tip #1.
4. Sorry that’s not my area.
This is my most favourite tactic, and often times it’s actually true. Having all round knowledge in tech can be a double edged sword, it means that I’m often mistaken for being an expert at EVERYTHING. Thankfully I’ve learnt that you can evade tech support requests by simply stating that this is not your field of expertise and can’t deal with it. Use it to evade questions related to your field as well, but just don’t try it with your boss.
5. I’m busy, ask me again in two days
This works surprisingly well, when you’re having a general social conversation with someone and then you’re slapped with a tech support question, simply ask them to contact you again in two days when you’re less busy. If they respond back again in two days, fire up the good old Google get out of jail card [Tip 1].
6. Outsource important tasks but things you would never want to do
If you have power over interns, now is a great time to flex your bureaucratic muscles, delegate the work to your interns and get them to respond back the person asking for support. Such is life in the corporate jungle, why not exploit it?
There you have it 6 great tips, to avoid getting mooched to work for free, enjoy the peace away from being constantly hassled for tech support.