One Stop Answer Shop

There is an expectation that your IT guy at work is your one stop shop for any technical question you have.

  • I want to buy a new computer. What should I get?
  • Mac or PC? Which is better?
  • Can you look at my personal laptop if I bring it in for you?
  • I bought my new computer and I’m having this problem…

No, I cannot and will not work on your personal computer. I do not care how much you use it for work. I do not care how many hours you spend working on it at home. I don’t care if another tech did it for someone else you know. I am not doing it for you. I do not work on personal equipment. I especially don’t work on personal equipment outside of my normal work hours. If you’re working so many hours on your personal equipment then you need to talk to your manager about getting you a laptop.

No Means No
I am not trying to be mean. I am not singling you out. The simple truth is I could lose my job and you’re not going to pay my salary after I get fired so do not expect me to make you an exception. Rules are in place for a reason. Computers are complicated enough when they start with a standard setup. To work on a personal computer introduces thousands of variables to the equation.

  • Mac or PC?
  • What operating system?
  • 32-bit or 64-bit?
  • Is it up to date?
  • Is there antivirus installed and updated?
  • Is there malware?
  • Is there a strange configuration to account for a certain home environment?

Pandora’s Box

This is only the surface of the potential problems which can arise from working on a personal computer. The computer could be incapable of performing the desired function. Insufficient memory, hard drive space or incorrect version of an operating system can all be responsible for an application not working properly. There are thousand of applications in the world and some of them don’t work properly together and never will but those incompatibilities are not always known and are stumbled across by accident.

Lack of Responsibility

One of the biggest issues with working on personal equipment is the seemingly limitless amount of he worked on it and now it’s acting up issue. It could be days, weeks or even months since I worked on a computer. It could be something as simple as installing new memory, adding a printer, or installing a new application. It could also be something as invasive as malware removal, upgrading to a new version of Windows or data backup and migration. It doesn’t matter the scope of the work done or the time frame. There is no statute of limitations on “The IT guy worked on it and now it’s doing…” No matter what I did or how long ago, all future problems will somehow be my fault. All future issues will stem from whatever I did last time I touched that computer.

Next time you ask your IT guy at work to work on your personal computer, don’t pressure him. Don’t keep asking and expect to break him down. He won’t give in. In most cases, he can’t and will tell you so.