Early on in my IT career I worked in tech support hell – I did tech support for a web hosting company.
If you want the biggest bunch of ungrateful, cheap-ass SOBs, try proving support for people who expect to run an internet based business making “thousands of dollars and hour” from an account that costs them less than $7/month.
Yeah, there were plenty of nice people, and plenty of people who knew what they were doing and just needed help from me to get some things accomplished.
But then there were also the users who don’t know anything but they’re trying to learn (and despite what you might think older people are typically the ones who are the most willing to learn – unlike say – your typical Apple user).
But fast forward several years and a couple of jobs and I’m happy to say that my outlook on dealing with people who don’t know any better has changed quite substantially and it’s a very good thing that it has.
Why do you have a job?
The simple fact of the matter is IT professionals – just like any other job – are hired because they posses a set of skills applicable to a job that needs doing.
While I was in tech support hell I would often think that lots of people were stupid. I mean hell, why can’t you figure out how to upload/download, edit and delete files? It’s not hard, there’s a damn GUI! Why can’t you just play around with it and figure it out?
As I’ve come to understand, it’s simply because lots of people don’t know any better and they never learned how to ask questions – or they simply don’t want to learn.
None of which you complaining or calling them names under your breath will help (or change). They’ll only pickup on your disdain for them and that will create a whole other batch of problems.
Why do you have a job?
It’s because you understand things other people don’t.
People hire you to help them.
Yeah there are a lot of really DUMB people out there, but YOUR JOB is to HELP THEM.
The Long and Short
You didn’t pop out of the womb knowing everything, and while you probably are smarter than the people you’re dealing with – at least as far as whatever question they’re asking you to answer – making them feel stupid is only going to make your job harder going forward.
Your job is to take care of people by solving their problems so they can get back to work and keep your reason having a job present.