Career Opportunities

A ComputorEdge Column

Back to Archive Index

Peeves, Pitfalls and Pickles: Part 3

© Douglas E. Welch 1997

Difficult people appear in every company, regardless of the specific industry. Some industries seem to breed more than others but anyone contemplating a computer career should be prepared to deal with a variety of people, some of which might not be the most pleasant.

Most users are nice people who are honestly having trouble with their computers. You can help them quickly and move onto the next. Not everything is sugar and spice though, especially the type of user I call the "Do It Dictator."

The "Do It" Dictator

As the name suggest this type of computer user, generally a computerphobe at heart, calls again and again, with close to the same question. Then, when the support person calls or arrives at the office, the user doesn't want to learn how to do the task. They want the support person to do it for them.

Often this is done in the guise of critical deadline work but after several calls it becomes clear that the user has larger problems. Once tactic is to refer the user to training that might be available at your company. Another is to instruct the user to write down the simple solutions in a computer notebook which is then kept next to their computer.

In extreme cases, you might have to have your supervisor talk with the users' supervisor. The Do It Dictator takes time away from all the other users in the company. They shouldn't be allowed to push their work off on someone else, especially not you.

The MacWeek/PC Week User

The name for this type of user derives from the names of 2 prominent computer trade weeklies. They are employees in departments other than Information Services or Computer Support who are also computer hobbyists. They are aware of every new technology and seem to want to purchase it as soon as it appears in the weekly magazines.

Unfortunately, they often have no understanding of the limitations of cutting edge technology or how the technology fits into the companies' existing computer plans and policies. They will often go around approved channels in order to get the technology and then call the support department when they have problems.

These users can be the bane of support groups since they require some computer staffer to familiarize themselves with the new technology in order to assist them. Oftentimes, the technology might not even function as claimed. It is then possible that the computer department will be blamed for the failure, even though they did not introduce the technology in the first place.

These problem users can be combated somewhat by remaining aware of new technologies and the problems associated with them. Computer departments also need to try and serve these users better so that they aren't constantly looking elsewhere for solutions. There is obviously a problem that isn't being solved and the computer department can save hassles down the road by providing solutions today.

Next week, a discussion of personality-based problems and how to avoid, if not combat them.

Douglas E. Welch is a freelance writer and computer consultant in Van Nuys, California. Readers can discuss career issues with other readers by joining the Career Opportunities Discussion on Douglas' web page at:

He can reached via email at