I was just sitting here feeling that warm fuzzy feeling one gets when one finds a string of good nodes, when I suddenly accidentally clicked on a link to one of these tech support people writing about how essentially anyone who doesn't similarly work tech support is just a lowly imbecile. If you call tech support because you have a problem, then you are an idiot for having such a problem with your computer and not knowing enough to fix it yourself. If you call tech support and appear to know what you are talking about, then (gasp!) you probably are thinking you know more about computers than the tech you just called. Gor blimey! I think there are too many of these nodes on E2.

First, you have no right to complain when so many of you are apparently writing these nodes while you are at work. That is not an option for a lot of people, so just sit back and write a thankful node to the users who don't know the difference between RAM and the hard drive and thus keep you in a job.

Furthermore, how dare you people complain when you are lucky enough to have a job that at least dovetails with your hobby to some extent. You know so much about computers, and thus get paid to work with computers, because you enjoy them. That is not the case for most people. Most people see computers, not as a hobby, but as a tool. For a good many people, a computer is something they have to use at work, and work is a place so very many people hate. Why in Slovenia's name would they want to then spend extra hours brushing up on computer-related jargon? Just to impress you tech support geeks? Give it up.1

Tech support people, usually, learn about computers because they are interested, rather than finding a job first and then having a computer foisted upon them when they did not want it. Obviously, nearly everyone has a good deal more specialized knowledge about the things they care about than about the things they do not. Those "idiots" the tech support people are blasting most often know a good deal about whatever it is that they care about doing. Computer illiteracy, in whatever degree, does not equal idiocy. And knowing about computers, to whatever degree, is not inherently superior over not knowing.

Frankly, you know who really startles me? It isn't the folks who can't install a printer driver. It's the people who have spoken their native language every day, for every possible function, for virtually their whole lives and still cannot manipulate it the way these techies would have the secretary down at the local H&R Block manipulate files. You know, the kind of people who stare at you blankly when you make a simple remark about the relics of the case marking sytem in English. Or when you ask them to explain the difference between "I loaded hay on the truck" and "I loaded the truck with hay". Those people. Those, I think, are the same people who used to come into the restaurant where I waited tables back in college and reply to my query of "How would you like your potato?" with "Can I have french fries instead of a potato?" Sorry for the English bias, there, but that is my native language as well as the lingua franca of E2 as things stand.

Ideally, everyone would know everything about whatever they do all day, including their language, their computers (if any), their rose garden, or whatever. But, since most of us do a lot of stuff, we need specialists. If you specialize in something you care about and people will pay you to do that, then don't complain when they expect you to know more than they do.

1Yes, I know some of you will respond that the problem tech support people face from some callers is more than a lack of jargon. Some of these users probably don't know things they should know. On the other hand, many of them have very real fears about messing something up (especially on the company's computer) and doing serious damage to their hard drives or files. It isn't all paranoia. It seems plausible to me that most of them do not actually call the start menu by that name (I don't), and so when you say "start menu", it doesn't occur to them that you mean that button because they don't call it that. Kind of like those people ordering french fries instead of a potato. The words "french fries" don't contain any reference to potatoes, so plenty of people who know they actually are potatoes make this mistake in the heat of ordering. Simple confusion. Add to this simple confusion the fear of doing real damage to a fairly expensive machine, and you get your stupid remarks on the tech support lines. Try a little empathy for the love of Mike.