Friday, April 25, 2014

Revisiting the Help Desk Rules

Lately, I've been noticing an uptick in the number of spontaneous requests I receive for technology guidance. Because I do a lot of work in media, I'm guessing folks feel comfortable reaching out and asking for my help whenever their tech isn't working, or when it's time to buy something new.

I'm perfectly OK with this, of course, and I'm generally happy to help because I was raised to be polite and to do the right thing to the best of my ability and circumstance. I also don't want folks to think I'm standoffish, so I do my best to respond whenever I'm asked.

But I'm noticing a disturbing trend: no one says thank you. And increasingly, they don't even acknowledge that I've answered them. In fact, for the entire month of April - which I've spent buried under a ton of work and life stuff - of all the strangers who have asked me for help, I heard back from exactly one person. As far as everyone else is concerned, they got what they needed, then promptly moved on. Nice.

It bugs me, because even if my response is a short email, tweet or Facebook posting, it takes time and energy away from whatever else I was doing at the time. Time and energy I increasingly cannot spare on unappreciative strangers.

The logical, rational response would be for me to simply ignore everyone. But that might be perceived as rude. At the same time, I'm getting pretty tired of having my time wasted by strangers who can't be bothered to even let me know that they got an answer from me.

To them, I'd like to politely suggest a re-read of my Help Desk Rules. I first published them way back in 2011, and on further reflection they seem to be as applicable now as they were then.

To everyone else: I think I'm off the free-help-for-everyone gravy train for a while. Friends and family know I'll always be here for them, but folks who ping me out of the blue just aren't worth the effort anymore. I've got better things to do with my time.

Your turn: What would you do if you were in my shoes? Ignore everybody? Continue to help? Something in between?


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Jeremiah is right, but...

We should be more polite.

MorahMommy said...

And always remember to say hello to your wife before demanding to speak with you!