Dangerous Knowledge Deja Vu

I got out of working permanently in a company in an IT support role when it became clear that a significant number of people just used IT support as a crutch for not learning how to use computers (not always their fault as often no training was offered and ‘winging it’ was how many got by) and so days were filled with constant calls from people who had no idea how to scan, print, resize, cut, paste, use photoshop, word, excel or practically any piece of softwareSupport adequately enough to get by and no matter how many times you patiently took them through the process or made up a nice step by step ‘how-to’ PDF’s and animated desktop movies for them (which you had to print for them so they could waste more paper and still ignore it), they just didn’t get it.Really they just wanted you to do it all for them.

And once they knew you could do it then their work was your work.

I knew I had to move on for the sake of my sanity when the department responsible for producing a monthly newsletter continued to use photocopiers, scissors and glue to produce the newsletter after having ordered several copies of Quark Xpress (at £800 a piece) and quickly abandoned it after realising that learning to use it was too much time and hassle.

And then the head honcho asked me to print out a photo attachment he’d been sent  in an email so he could view it, unaware that double clicking the file would allow him to view it on his desktop.

After that I decided that it would be better if I just got out and just did the whole job for people at a distance. It worked out better and was less stress for both parties concerned. It’s what we both wanted.

Today I had a brief feeling of deja vu having asked somebody to send me 3 digital photos in an email but was later emailed to inform me it was easier for them to print them out and send them to me in the post.

A little knowledge is a very dangerous thing.

Photo by julianrod under this creative commons license 

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4 thoughts on “Dangerous Knowledge Deja Vu

  1. oh god I hear you! Someone I was talking to earlier this week told me that a lot of people had called saying that an internal site wasn’t working…it was an IE6 pop-up blocker stopping it displaying, but people had never seen it before and didn’t know what to do. Surely that’s now basic computer literacy?

  2. Hi Simonmay-It’s the sad thing about the failed potential of IT and the impossibility sometimes of ‘IT support’ that we still have to remind ourselves that using a computer is just not obvious or intuitive for an awful lot of people. The ‘winging it’ bit does occur on the support side too (nobody can know everything).

  3. Oh dear, I rather think I might be one of those irritating people who never tries to do things for myself. I always print reports to read them so I can scribble on them in pencil. That’s terrible, isn’t it? But I just can’t edit effectively on screen.

    I think for me, I try to decide whether these technological things I can’t do, are things I am going to have to do regularly. If they are, I will generally take the time and make the effort to learn how to do them – well, I ask someone to show me (often you!!!) and then I try to do it a few times so I would be able to do it again without asking. But if I am not sure that I will ever need to do it again, or only rarely, it is easier and quicker for me to get someone else to do them for me.

    You IT whizz people are so clever with computers that you don’t always realise that what is interesting and exciting to explore for you, is actually really difficult and boring for techno-idiots like me, and raises my blood pressure and makes me crabby to be around. I just don’t have that way of thinking. I know it is lazy and pathetic – but we all have to prioritise.

    I am always really really grateful when someone does help me and I do try hard not to ask the same person the same question twice!

    Perhaps if I spent less time making excuses and a bit more time fiddling around with my laptop, I might do better eh??

    But I can see why you got out of in-company IT support – I too would have found that very wearing.

  4. Hi RB- It’s nothing personal & I’m not getting at all users (bites tongue).It’s human nature and I always say that if a compy system or software isn’t intuitive then you shouldn’t be using it (but people don’t really shop around to see what else is available) and I wish computers and software programs were more intuitive to use (which may not happen until the hardware thinks for itself). It bothered me that many companies saw IT as a universal panacea (blow the budget on the beige boxes and nothing left for training)when it was just another tool that could equally be used well as badly. Getting out worked well for me in the end. I specialise in the things people don’t have the time or inclination to learn or feel they are getting bogged down in. I do what I’m good at in taking on the (for them) complex, tedious and time consuming stuff and they get to free up time and get on with the things they’re good at. It’s a better and more productive balance for both parties.

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