So, What do you do?

There was a great post at 52Tiger about what we do for a living. Dave Caolo writes,

I loathe this question. For now, let’s set aside the notion that a person is defined by his or her means of earning an income. Instead, consider the answer itself. Many people have one ready. For example, “I’m a teacher” or “I’m an electrician.” Nearly everyone has a point of reference for those jobs and immediately understands what a teacher or an electrician does My answer confounds people.

For much the same reason, I also hate that question. How do I answer it? The answer bounces around in my head as I evaluate the asker.

  • Do they really want to know or are they making polite conversation?
  • Are they technical at all? Will they understand what I actually do?
  • Do I want to divulge that I am a “Computer Guy” for fear of follow-up questions? ((There are ALWAYS follow-up questions.))

“I fix computers” is my usual response. It is simple. It answers the questions and I don’t have to explain the difference in what a help desk does ((and the stigma associated with it)) and what I do ((Desktop Support)).

I also try to fend off the litany of questions about to be hurled my way if I show I am the slightest bit competent in the ways of computers and the internet.

As soon as I am dubbed The Computer Guy this also means I am knowledgeable about every piece of consumer hardware and software available.

  • When is the next iPhone coming out? When Apple decides to grace us with it.
  • What do you recommend for an antivirus that’s free? Microsoft Security Essentials
  • Did I get a good deal on this external hard drive I bought at [Insert Big Box Retailer]? No, you did not.
  • My wireless doesn’t work very well at my house. Do you think I need a new router? I don’t even know where to begin with this one?
  • If I bring in my laptop from home, will you work on it for me? No, In fact I am required *not to work on personal computers for people at work.

What do you do is a very loaded question.

So, my dear readers, “What do you do?”