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Why You Should Not Fix Computers for Free

If you are an IT pro, there is an invisible sticker on your forehead that reads “can solve any issue that involves electronics.” Although I like to help people whenever I can, I sometimes feel that providing such a free service is not a good idea. Don’t get me wrong, I never turn down mom, dad, my wife, my sister, close friends and almost always they tell me that they didn’t think I am such a patient person. My problem is with the abusers.

My first problem is about respect. Respect to my personal life, my time and my efforts. Knowing each other for some time does not mean that I am always available to fix your stuff. I do not call people after 9 P.M., including mom and dad, unless something really important comes up. And if so, I send an SMS and ask for availability. I tell this habit to everyone I know without exceptions (yes, including  the family members). And I expect the same respect in return. I may be watching some YouTube stuff late at night, and I can help you, but please be so kind to ask in advance, OK?

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Please respect my time and effort. I am giving you my personal time and I am trying to do something for you. My personal time is not free for your use: it costs me for not resting, not doing things for myself, and it costs my family and friends. My personal efforts are the same: getting it for free does not mean it is not valuable. Will you do the same things over and over again if you paid for it? If not, then do not do them when you get it free from me.

Please respect my advices. I am a tech professional. Period. I am making my life from my technical knowledge because I do know some things better than some people: the boy next door, your brother-in-law, your colleague at work or any other non-IT person. If I tell you to install an anti-malware application and keep it updated, then don’t reply me by telling that X has told you to uninstall the anti-malware application because all anti-malware applications slow down computers. (If you do, it will be the final support you have received from me).

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When I fix your computer for free, it does not mean that you have found out the gateway to the free-for-life tech support. Just because I gave you a hand in your difficult time, please don’t ask me to install operating system updates, remove malware, download nasty stuff from the Internet, get you counterfeit copies of software etc.. I think this is what falling victim to one’s own success means.

As people does not value things that are free, and they sometimes fail to show respect, they further go on with developing risky habits. Since I am just a phone call away, why not give the administrator password to your kid to have her download toolbars, screensavers and games from questionable sites? You can call me, have everything up and running again and do whatever you want to do, which are against my advices. Of course you forgot what I said about clicking “Yes” to everything you see, I can spend my whole evening to help you. And I can do this over and over again. You just keep accepting everything.

Thinking that people stop here would be naive. Once I begin giving them hand in their computer related problems, I am asked about cell phones, tablets (I don’t own a tablet), sound and video equipment (I don’t have one) and any other thing that has an electronic circuit. Countless of times I was asked to answer simply “iPhone or Samsung” question, which now I realize a very good question. But heck, why are you asking me for an oven? Just because it has a digital display on it? Unfortunately, yes, this is the reason.

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Do you think snowballing effect stops here? Ha! How about the friends and other family members to whom I helped? Believe or not, I was asked to provide consultancy to my wife’s uncle’s son-in-law’s friend’s family about the interconnected homes they have recently heard about? I am not rude when I say that I work for Gehrson-Lehrman Group of Consultants for an hourly fee.

Although I can manage all of these somehow, I cannot stand the “it didn’t do this before” and the “this began to happen after you fixed it” comments. They make me question your humanity: how can you be so…

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1 Comment

  • Avatar for Nicholas Chan Nicholas Chan says:

    I agree with you because I feel that time is still the main thing in helping people to fix a computer as it might takes a while to solve a problem although it’s not difficult to fix it!

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