Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What indication did I give you that this was OK?

I swung by Borders tonight to pick up a book on SharePoint Server 2007, seeing as how I'll be teaching on it pretty soon. I walk up to the counter and the guy asks me, "What is SharePoint?"

I give him a quick explanation on what it is (it's a portal/collaboration server), rather quickly and coldly, because I know what's about to come. I'm bracing myself. I'm hoping it doesn't.

"Do you know anything about web development?", he asks.

"A little..." I'm a little more aggressive on the "I really don't want to talk" attitude, but still being polite - and being polite is pretty much always my mistake.

"Can I ask you what a good tool is for editing web sites?..."

CRAP! There it is. I knew it was coming from the very beginning, but I was really hoping I could dodge the bullet. I guess not. CRAP!

This vent that is forthcoming is not directed towards friends or family. If are related to me or my friend, and I am happy to help.

Why is it that if you work in computers, complete strangers will suddenly decide that you are now their personal computer consultant? Do people mention that they're a doctor and have the person respond, "Really? I have this cyst..." Now don't get me wrong - I love what I do. I get to play with technology, I get to impart knowledge on others, I get to help others. But that doesn't mean I'm interested in talking technology 24 hours a day, at any random moment, with any random person.

It's gotten to the point that when people ask me what I do for a living, I don't want to say anything. Half the time the answer leads me into a 20 minute conversation about this wireless router that isn't working correctly, or some other such problem. My favorite people are the ones that get upset with me when I can't troubleshoot their computer through conversation.

I finally posted a message in the MCT newsgroups about how to answer this question. The best answer was to say that I'm an astronaut, or some other impossible job. When asked what I really do, say I'm really a computer trainer, but I don't like to say that because I then get asked about the person's computer issues. Makes sense, and it's been successful.

Except in a situation like this. I have no choice. I'm trapped. I can either help him, or be completely rude. But then I'm suddenly the jackass.


Do the world a favor. If you meet someone who does <fill in job where you might have personal questions here>, don't just start asking them questions. Let them make the offer first. It's the polite thing to do.

Done venting. You may now go on with the rest of your day.


Mary said...

Ever tried being a lawyer? Love, Auntie M

jersey said...

I have never tried being a lawyer. ;-)