Do You Hate Being “That Tech Guy/Gal”?

There are pros and novices alike who read our blog. For the pros out here, have a quick read through of this article and see if you’ve ever had something similar happen to you. For the novices: here is your change to glean a bit of perspective into the mind of that one person that you always go to for tech help.

So, tech pros, you guys know what I’m talking about. You’ve somehow been marked or labeled as a computer guru. Your family and close friends probably come to you for computer related device. And for the most part (as long as it isn’t too frequent), you don’t mind helping these people because, after all, they are your friends and family and normally it is a reciprocal situation.

But have you ever had the scenario occur where you’ve established yourself (either on purpose, or as a necessity) as that tech guy/gal” in a group outside of your family and friends? For some people, this might be a position of power or respect, where you have a knowledge that others lack and are willing to use that knowledge to help others. However, it can just as easily be a position of exploitation, where people rely on and expect that you are there and will fix stuff when it isn’t working.  Recently had this experience (along with numerous times in the past) and I’m not quite fond of it.

In class, we had some group PowerPoint projects. I sat by and watched as nearly every group walked up to the front of the room and was completely unprepared to actually get their presentation displayed up on the screen. If I wasn’t there to help, I don’t think any of the groups would have been able to present today. Which to me, begs the question: how can someone come unprepared like that? You wouldn’t walk into a presentation with half of your slides unfinished and expect someone else in the room to do them for you, would you? I think not. So how can a group that needs to do a presentation come to class without knowing how display their presentation on the screen? Maybe they just expect that someone there will know how to make it happen?

One of the groups was having an issue displaying their presentation through a laptop that was brought to class. They didn’t know which cable to use, and once someone in the class pointed out which one it was, they were no closer to getting their presentation to the projector because they had no idea how to toggle the output. Another group had a compatibility issue as they saved in the wrong format. These are things that the groups should already be prepared to handle, just as they might need to be prepared to handle a question from the class about their presentation topic. These groups might have been intentionally relying on the fact that someone in the class would know how to get their presentation to display. That person obviously ended up being me. Sure, I’ve got plenty of tech tricks up my sleeve, but why is the responsibility suddenly placed on me when they are not prepared and I’m not even part of their group.

I’m not sure what I should be more annoyed about: The fact that groups came unprepared, lacking knowledge necessary to put on their presentation, or the fact that it isn’t easier for them to fix these issues on their own (ie: it should be more simple to toggle output, or more straightforward when it comes to file formats.)

Another question begging to be answered is this: what made us that tech guy/gal”. Sure we’re ‘savvy’ with technology, but how did that come to be? Are we just naturally inclined to be better with technology? I doubt it. For me personally, and I would guess for many of you out there, it came with trial and error. Maybe we just had the patience to figure out how to fix issues on our own. Or maybe the lack of someone to ask meant that sheer need necessitated our leaning of computers and related appliances.

At any rate, I think I’ll start reffering to people who are not my friends/family, but still expect me to fix their tech problems to the following chart from xkcd.tech_support_cheat_sheet

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