Computer Stress

Computers can sometimes be a source of stress.

This is partly because we’re so dependent on our computers now that if they won’t cooperate with us, we can be seriously inconvenienced. Partly it’s because the things we count on our computers for are so complex that we usually can’t fix them ourselves.

But I really think that a large part of the sense of doom that comes over us when we have computer troubles stems from the feeling of personality our computers have developed for us. My computer is my friend. It makes happy little noises and reminds me that it’s time to go to the gym and brings me news from the outside world, and that’s where I get most of my paychecks, too, so how can I help but be fond of it?

It’s easy to feel that your computer has betrayed you.

I’ve been trying to fix an old phone number that keeps showing up on listings for one of my clients. I waded in confidently enough to begin with; I do that sort of thing for people all the time. This is different. I sent help tickets and visited a forum (may I just say that there were a lot of unwise emotional meltdowns going on at the forum? Don’t those people know that these things turn up on their search results?), but all I found was that lots of people have this problem.

Eddie Izzard has his own approach to this sort of thing, but for the rest of us, persistence is usually key. Persistence in searching for the answer to the question, which is probably somewhere in the documentation or online at a forum. Persistence in following steps very carefully because computers only pretend to be smart and really have to be told every little thing very precisely. They will never say, “Oh, of course! I see the problem! Let me fix that for you.”

And persistence in calling for help if you need it. One of our favorite IT guys tells me that the key to getting satisfaction from tech support is to use this phrase whenever you call and can’t get a solution to your problem:

“Okay, thanks for trying! I’ll call back tomorrow and see how it’s going.” Delivered in a bright, cheery, nonthreatening voice, this can motivate the most jaded IT guy to make an extra effort. The threat of a daily call from someone with a bright, cheery voice is a pretty good one.

When you use computers in your business, you will sometimes have computer problems. However, it’s also true that if you have people in your business, you will sometimes have people problems. If you have machines in your business, you will sometimes have mechanical problems. I expect that if you have horses in your business, you will sometimes have horse problems.

Stop. Turn everything off. Unplug it, maybe. Turn it all back on. If it isn’t fixed yet, then it’s time for some persistence.






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