Seven tips to get on the good side of your system administrator

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I find it incredibly annoying when non-tech people assume that system administrators are walking computer encyclopedias. With this in mind, here are a few pieces of advice that will get you a few extra brownie points from your favorite system administrator:

1- Asking questions about how to fix your home system is fine, as long as you are being reasonable about it. We don’t like spending half our lunchtime answering your personal computer questions. We’re human beings too, you know! We need to take a break sometimes. If you need your home computer fixed, just hire us to do the job. Just because we’re work colleagues doesn’t mean that you can make us your tech slaves.

2- Ask our permission before you start telling all your friends that we can fix computers.  Just because we helped you doesn’t mean we want to help everyone.

3- Please stop assuming that since we work with computers, we automatically know how fix and operate all electronic devices operating on the earth’s surface. Why would I know how to program your coffee machine or home DVD recorder?

4- We like chatting about stuff besides computers. Star Wars, Star Trek and Dungeons & Dragons are fine conversation starters, too! Seriously, geeks like to chat almost about anything. Try it sometime, and you’ll see that we’re a fun bunch.

5- Stop thinking that all we do is surf the Internet all day. Yes, we do spend a fair amount of time online, but it is for good reasons. And even if we’re not always extremely busy during the day, we often have to work late at night and into the weekends. I’ve often worked past midnight, and yes, I had to come in to the office the following day. You didn’t know that right? Why do you think that the IT enrollment rate in schools has dropped approximately 50% in the past 5 years?

6- If you are getting an error message, don’t forget to write it down before calling us. We don’t know what “I’m getting an error” means unless you tell us exactly what it says!

7- When we fix something for you, don’t forget to thank us. Even though we’re being paid to do it, we like hearing that we’re doing a good job, just like everyone else does.

By following those seven simple steps, you’ll be on the road to having a better relationship with your system administrator. If any of you would like to add additional points to this list, feel free to do so by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post.