When I jumped ship and went to teaching, it was to leave a software tech support job that I had grown to hate. You know… when you’re furious with your computer and you call up the help desk and RAIL on the poor person on the other end of the line? Yeah, that was me, victim of verbal abuse from genetics researchers around the world who may or may not speak intelligible English. Day in, day out, and I was beginning to be angry all. the. time. because of it.
But it taught me patience. Even the densest middle schooler is EONS better than some of the Ph.D.s I had to deal with. It was my job to try to explain how to navigate complex genetics analysis software over the telephone when I couldn’t see what they were looking at on their screen at the other end. Enough to make you completely insane. I had to explain to one woman what right-click meant. It soon became obvious that this woman did not know her left from her right. So, over the telephone, I had to teach her how to determine that. And then I had to teach her how to right click. This woman called me just about every day at 5:30, just as I was trying to leave to go home for the day. I was already frazzled, rushed, trying to get out the door, and she needed to know if it was okay to adjust the histogram a little to the left, or would that change her data (this was data ANALYSIS software, not data GATHERING software).
Gah. I google her every now and then, just to see if she’s done anything of note. I’ve seen her name as one of the presenters in a lecture in 2000, but that’s the last the internet seems to have of her. I swear, she had to have a Ph.D. just because her mentor finally got sick of her idiot questions.
To combat the monotony, while I was on the phone with these people, I would surf the net. Sometimes while talking to them, because I got quite good at answering the more common questions while surfing the net and entering orders into the invoice system, all three simultaneously. It was during this time that I discovered a message board for one of my interests, and which I now help manage.
What’s amusing is that now I’m tech support again, because I’m helping people get used to new software, and answering and conquering problems as they happen and as I learn the new software myself. The difference this time around is that most of the people I’m dealing with are appreciative and kind, so it’s a pleasure. So I get positive feedback too — what a concept!
This website (linked over there ——->) kept me sane at a time when I needed it most (else I would have flown out to California and wrung Dr. 5:30’s neck personally), it was my lifeline when I was on bedrest with Alice and going insane from boredom, and now I’m helping to keep it going for other people who might need it now.
Interesting how much more interesting (and fun) tech support can be when it’s a subject that you’re actually INTERESTED in. Genetics? Not so much. Scrapbooking? Indeedy. 🙂