You Repair an End-Users Home Computer, You'll Be a Monkey's
Nothing irritates me more than to walk into my office to find someone’s
home computer sitting in my chair or beside my desk. And then to discover
that there is no name, no explanation of what’s wrong with it or any
software whatsoever. What the hell are these people thinking?
For every favor there’s a punishment
A seasoned computer person knows better than to jump up and help someone at
the moment of his or her request. This is especially true when it comes to
repairing someone's home computer. End-users have to be trained to value
your time. If you jump every time they call you, they start training you.
This is the number one mistake that most new computer people make. Running
to their every need tells them that your time has no value. They have to
learn to respect your time; if they don’t you will never get your job
done. Your career as a network administrator, or help desk tech, will be
more fulfilling if you are strong enough to say no when someone asks if you
can fix their home computer. If you can’t say no, with every error there
will be a phone call and with every problem it will be somehow linked to
you. Your pager or cell phone will be a curse to your existence. Remember,
the moment you touch someone’s home computer you will be a slave to his or
her piece of junk for the rest of your life.
It’s not enough to work for a company, come in at night and the weekends
or be on 24/7 call, but to have the owners or CEOs of your company call you
at home or have their friends and relatives call you, is enough to make you
go peculiar. Only go to their home and fix their computer if you absolutely
feel you have to and never do it for free. And even then make it at the most
inconvenient time you can so they will never ask you again. You are not
doing these people a favor by fixing their computer for free or when the
time is good for them. If you don’t mark my words, they will have you over
their house for every little nothing, not only for them but also for all of
their friends and neighbors. Also, don’t be afraid to charge a premium
price for your services. Your knowledge is worth just as much or more than a
place they would typically have to take their system, and they don’t make
house calls. Just because you work for their company, doesn’t mean they
own your every waking moment.
How to get out
If you are already doing this and need a way out it may already be too late.
They will never just let you stop helping them. You are their boy, their
computer guy. They even tell people, I have a computer guy. They will never
want to give you up. If you run away, they will find a way to have you
brought back. Most computer people in this predicament are forced to find
another job. That is, those that can escape. If you are one of the fortunate
ones, make sure in your next job when someone says, the computer person
before you used to fix our computers, you say; “Sorry, not allowed to work
on employees' home computers.” Or “Sorry, I don’t feel comfortable
going to your house.” Or even, “I may lose my certification if I break
the manufactures warranty.”
And if you come back to your office and find someone’s home computer
sitting there, re-image it, place a company inventory sticker on it and give
it to accounting.