Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Unexplained Juxtapostion

I don't understand this phenomenon exactly, but It came to my attention again today, so I thought I'd see if people had any insight.

My job is Desktop Support. I answer the call when someone is having a problem with their computer. I help my co-workers when they are having trouble with their computers—regardless of the issue. I've been doing this type of work for about seven years. There are two categories of people I help. People I like to help, and People I don't like to help.

This has been focused into higher contrast due to the nature of my current position. For the past two years I have been off the phone. I am in an office environment, and so I have a lot of repeat customers. Some of them I enjoy helping and some of them I do not, and I can't quite put my finger on the difference.

I thought it might be that some of them actually try to help themselves, and try to learn and grow in their computer prowess. I thought that they were the people I didn't mind helping and those that acted as though they were completely helpless were the people I couldn't stand to help; but then I realized there are a handful of people that are completely helpless that I don't mind helping at all.

I don't know what it is. Maybe I'm just judging individuals based on their own apparent merits. Does this make me a judgmental person? I treat them all equally. I help them all. I'm friendly. But I find that with some people, when I get an e-mail indicating they have an issue, or they walk over to ask me a question—I groan a little inside.


  1. Maybe after you offer help, some of them get it and some of them don't? I don't know, but I am curious to see what you figure out about it.

  2. It's all about how they ask the question, and how they treat you as you're helping them. Do you use a standardized form to request help, or do they email you directly? I can almost guarantee that those who you enjoy helping (Clueless or not), treat you like they appreciate your help, and treat you like they need you. They might recognize that you're 'Just doing your job.' but they appreciate it just the same.

    Those who you don't like to help probably act as though they're entitled to your support, and perhaps even address you in a slightly condescending tone -- almost as if it's your fault that their computers are not working.

    You may find something different, but I can almost guarantee that what you'll find is along those lines.

    That's something I learned a long time ago. It's all about how you (and others approaching you) present yourself. Even when somebody does legitimately owe you something, you'll nearly almost always get a better response out of them when you help them feel like it's their choice to help you, rather than their obligation.

  3. Very interesting.
    I've noticed a little of that in my life as well, only I'm not doing tech support.