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What It’s Like to Be the Tech Support To Your Family & Friends

Apparently, 28% of IT professionals hide their career from friends and family to avoid being asked to provide free tech support.

If you show any kind of interest or enthusiasm for technology to your family and friends then you will have already been assigned the role of Tech Support for all of them.

I’ve worked in the IT industry now for many, many years and always showed a keen in computers and gadgets so I was always the person to go to. Apparently, 28% of IT professionals hide their career from friends and family to avoid being asked to provide free tech support.

What It's Like to Be the Tech Support To Your Family & Friends - Sublime99
Source – The Oatmeal

Getting blamed for future problems

Even though you’ve managed to fix their computer and it runs perfectly. If it goes down again, all future problems will be your fault. You can guarantee it.

What It's Like to Be the Tech Support To Your Family & Friends - Sublime99

Passwords. Passwords. Passwords


The biggest headache is when they forget their passwords. For the computer. For webmail. For Facebook. For everything. What’s worse is they even forget their own email address.

What It's Like to Be the Tech Support To Your Family & Friends - Sublime99

One small job always ends up as a much bigger harder job

They may want you to take a look at their router because the interweb has gone slow. Once that is fixed they’ll want you to check the printer. See why their inbox is full. Transfer 10 years of crap onto a 1GB memory stick. Show them how to edit a document in Word 2003 and re-cable the DSL lead, which comes from the downstairs hallway into the back office, two floors up!

What It's Like to Be the Tech Support To Your Family & Friends - Sublime99

They always think you have access to pirated movies, music and software

Yes. I work in IT and have access to a lot of software and licences, but I wouldn’t ask my friend who works at Tesco’s to shoplift me some steak and alcohol!

The vague description of their tech problems


This is made much worse when they are speaking to you over the phone.

“The blue E for my web email says I have to unzip the java and update my OneDrive in iTunes”

What It's Like to Be the Tech Support To Your Family & Friends - Sublime99

Being asked to support things you don’t have knowledge of


It’s starts off with computers, but then you will end up giving support on things you don’t even know anything about. Then if you can’t fix it, you get the old “I thought you were good at this stuff” remark. Or being asked to fix things you have absolutely no control over, like Google’s themed logo for the day, the redesign of their webmail UI or the adverts on Facebook.

What It's Like to Be the Tech Support To Your Family & Friends - Sublime99

Being asked on future purchases


You’ll probably get asked or have a catalogue shoved in your face asking if this computer is alright. You take a look at the brand and the specs and it all seems OK. They purchase it and it’s a piece of garbage and then you get blamed for a manufacturers shoddy product.

What It's Like to Be the Tech Support To Your Family & Friends - Sublime99

Helping them setup mail or social media accounts

When you hear the phrase, “will you help me set up a Facebook account?” you will most certainly get a sense of dread and a chill down the spine. You’ll be hours filling in the forms, showing them how to use it. Unfortunately, you will have to admit that you are on Facebook also, so you are instantly added and tagged in endless photos you really don’t want to and sent endless game requests. Heaven forbid they logout after they’ve used Twitter or Facebook, because they will never remember their password to get back in.

What It's Like to Be the Tech Support To Your Family & Friends - Sublime99

Being pimped out


Your family can sometimes be proud of your knowledge and mention it to their friends how tech savvie you are. This in turn leads to your services being offered out like a tech whore. Usually you will have to deal with some obnoxious person you’d never choose to deal with yourself and it turns out a major pain in the ass!

What It's Like to Be the Tech Support To Your Family & Friends - Sublime99

 Never ask them for a web URL


If they want you to see a website they think is interesting, then you’re probably quicker googling the site yourself, because you can guarantee that if you ask for the URL of the site they will always recite it completely in full…

Them: “All lower case. (me = rolling eyes) Er…. http.. two dots, one above the other…”

Me: “Colon”

Them: “Yes, that’s it. Two forward slashes. Www, dot website name, dot com, forward slash, home, dot html”

What It's Like to Be the Tech Support To Your Family & Friends - Sublime99

Advice is always ignored


No matter what advice you offer it will always go ignored.

Such as…

  • ‘Do not click on pop-ups and do not download random shit from the internet’.
  • ‘If you get an email from a Nigerian Prince then ignore it’.
  • ‘If you want to get rid of a program on the computer, then uninstall it from Control Panel and not by deleting the files direct off your computer.’
  • ‘You don’t have to keep every email you’ve ever had since 1997’
  • ‘Make sure you unselect ‘I want to receive marketing news from third-parties’ when signing up for anything’
  • ‘Don’t keep clicking on everything if the computer is frozen. This will not make it work any quicker!’

and

  • ‘No. You don’t need any more browser toolbars’.

What It's Like to Be the Tech Support To Your Family & Friends - Sublime99

Under no circumstances must you make them a website

This will be one of the biggest ballaches you will ever have to deal with. Trust me!

What It's Like to Be the Tech Support To Your Family & Friends - Sublime99

Being Overthrown


Although it can be tiresome and can really annoy you at times, you could get demoted, because one of your teenage cousins managed to connect your grandmas phone to the home Wi-Fi and now they have become the new tech support for the family.

Although you are relieved that you are no longer being bothered with endless calls about how slow their laptop is, you are kind of bitter at the same time, because you know that you have worked for over a decade in tech.

You’ve installed and configured servers and created websites. Fixed and repaired endless desktops, laptops and printers and this somebody who you know is less knowledgeable becomes the new tech solving God. All because one day they wanted to changed their ringtone and accidentally ventured into the Settings area on their iPhone and it opened up their tiny little minds!

What It's Like to Be the Tech Support To Your Family & Friends - Sublime99

Written by Jake

Nando's Ambassador and resident blogger for Opinion Machine & Digital Art Mix

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