Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Diagnosis: Brain Death

It's a known fact that as soon as a luser calls the helpdesk, whatever brains they might have left in their head are quickly shut off, in order to prevent any dangerous transmission of knowledge. It doesn't matter if they're normally capable of managing complicated business mergers. It doesn't matter if they can create new drugs from exotic rain forest plants. It doesn't matter if they can change the oil in a Chevy big block while standing on their head with their eyes closed. No matter what degree of cleverness they might use to execute the actions of their day-to-day life, they immediately lose all ability to do simple things like locating the icon labelled "My Computer".

Perhaps the prospect of surrendering responsibility to higher power lulls them into an infant state. Maybe they just don't want to look stupid, and get all caught up trying to cover for their ineptness. It's just one of those truly difficult things about working with people's problems is that they don't seem to have a thought left in them when they call.

I'm sure you're probably thinking that I'm just biased towards my area of expertise, but it's not the technical questions that people fail at. It's the simple matter of fact instructions that people fail at. Many a time I will ask a person to hit "Enter" after typing in a query blank, and they'll ask if they're supposed to hit the OK button. A request for someone to click will all too often result in a doubleclick. If you ask someone if they said their username ends in a M or an N is almost always disasterous. Sometimes you'll get the pleasure of heaing them spell out their entire username from scratch. Sometimes, they'll think that simply speaking louder will make the difference more distinct. If you're lucky, they'll do both of the previous. A lot of people, especially foreigners, can't understand the concept of saying "M as in Mary". It's a slow grind on your patience to deal with these things over the course of a day, and it just makes your head ache


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