The eternally friendly m4iler

Hi! Today, I think I’ll hammer out a few quick but shorter posts on several topics. The first one will be on my attitude towards clients.

If I work for someone, I’m quite courteous, I try to satisfy needs as soon as possible, but only up to a point. I would like to ask you to check for yourselves: How many times does someone need to ask you for a favor with zero payback before you snap? Hard mode: Asking for THE SAME favour.

I am a very patient person. I will express my boredom at repeated questions, but I will help in the end. There is only one caveat: I don’t provide fish, I teach. If you don’t know something, I’ll teach you. If a hundred people come to me with the same problem ONCE, I will help each and every one. The moment my eye starts twitching is when someone asks for the same favour three or four times in a row. That is when my blood starts to boil. At this moment, no knowledge is being spread, I am now being used as a tool. I don’t like being used.

Example from my life: A year ago, I was asked to help a colleague pick and sort photos for a yearbook. I said yay, because I like being helpful and teaching makes me happy (with the above mentioned caveat). The work turned out to stretch over the course of 3 MONTHS. Yes, MONTHS. Not weeks. Two hours a week may not seem like much, but this work was solitaire-level difficulty. Click a photo, ponder with the colleague whether or not it’s good enough, after which I either released it, OR did a ninja trick where I dragged the photo to ANOHTER FOLDER. Nothing more.

If you guessed that my colleague had both arms cut off, you’re guessing wrong. She was perfectly capable of clicking and dragging when looking for photos, but “the computer is scary and she could break it.” I haven’t had this feeling since I was 13. This lady used me as a voice-activated mouse interface. Furthermore, because it was “more convenient and faster”, the whole yearbook was written BY HAND. More work for me, because I can type.

Well, I did it and was happy. I really was, it seemed to me that she’ll learn and get the hang of it by looking over my shoulder.

Oh, how wrong I was! This year, when the time for the annual yearbook rolled around, I got the same request. A year she had to work on it, learn and try to sort her own photos. It was then that I realized she just found it so boring on her own that she needed someone on hand to talk to while working. I mentioned that I wasn’t really happy about it, but that there was no one else to do it… Lo and behold, there is! Someone else got dealt the shit card and I was free.

I bet you know or have known someone who tried using you like this.

I will teach in the future, I’m sure of it, because spreading knowledge gives me a big, fat stiffy. What I want to avoid is doing this people could do by learning. Sure, my sister doesn’t have a working SD card reader, so I am the only one who can get the photos off her camera. But if you have two working hands and need to use a mouse, I’m not going to be your right hand, because that just sounds like masturbation.