Technician's Rant
I'm in tech support. My job is to assist customers having problems with their cable modem service. In general, I love what I do, and it brings a lot of satisfaction. However, there are some things that customers do that are not particularly helpful. Towards that end, I've taken the liberty of listing some of those things here so you will know what not to do. Enjoy...

1. Please don't start the call off by asking, "Is the internet down?". There are millions of computers all around the world on the internet, and even if our system is having a problem, that doesn't mean that the entire internet is down. Just tell us what is going on with you and your computer.

2. Please try to remember that I am here to deal with cable modem connectivity issues; I cannot assume responsibility for your entire computer and/or network. If you are having a problem with your printer, scanner, digital camera, CD-ROM, zip drive, monitor, router, MS Office application, Ebay, AB-Energizer, etc., and you don't know how to fix it, call the program or hardware vendor, or a qualified repair facility. And please don't say, "It was working until you installed the cable modem". Nothing the installer does in the course of plugging a cable modem up to your computer will affect any of the things listed above. If you want to insist that it does because of something someone else told you, see number 3 below.

3. Please don't try to argue with my assessment of your problem by saying, "My friend (or my boyfriend,  girlfriend, husband, wife, son,  daughter, community college instructor, babysitter, etc.) said it was your fault". I'm sure they're nice people and all, but I do this an average of 60 hours a week - they don't. Contrary to the stereotypical view of tech support, I'm not 15, I wasn't recruited from a local McDonald's to do this job, and I'm not reading from a script - I actually use my computer to do things other than online gaming and mp3/porn downloads. Let me bottom line it for you: I know more about what I'm doing than THEY know about what I'm doing - which is why I'm sitting here and they are doing whatever it is that they do for a living.

4. Please, if you happen to work in the IT department of your company, don't start the conversation by saying any of the following:

"I'm A+ certified" - The A+ cert doesn't cover cable modem operations. Wonder how I know that? Think about it for a minute...

"I'm a network admin" - and just like any other career field, there are good ones and bad ones. The good ones don't try (or need) to impress with their job title.

"I'm Microsoft certified" - which means you had the time (and money, either your own or your company's) to take the tests. And that's great. But it isn't relevant.

5. Please follow the instructions I'm giving you to address your problem. Remember, if doing it YOUR way had worked, you wouldn't be on the phone in the first place.

6. Please try to remember that if you cannot reach your favorite sites (especially if you can reach others), it is not necessarily our fault. We don't own every single server on the internet, and if a server between you and that site goes down, we cannot fix it unless it actually belongs to us.

7. Mac users: Please don't puff up about OS X being better than anything Microsoft ever did, then go slack-jawed when I ask you to open something up. If you're gonna crow about what you're using, know HOW to use it.

8. If you get an "illegal operation" error, it is because of a problem with either Windows or another program your machine is running - NOT the cable modem. If you get a bootup error that says Windows is missing some files it needs, guess where those files come from? That's right - Windows. Please don't get mad at me because you don't have a Windows CD.

9. If you cannot correspond by email with someone in China because their domain is being blocked for spamming, PLEASE don't curse me out for it. The mail server admins have a hard enough time fighting spam; the last thing they're going to do is open up their server and expose several thousand customers to a known spammer domain just so you can get email from one or two people.

10. Business users (ESPECIALLY DAY TRADERS!!) take note: Please don't say "I'm using this for my business!" when a server is down. All servers have to be maintained, and all servers develop problems from time to time. The fact that you are using your connection for business won't make the work go any faster, and if what you are doing is that important, you should have a backup in place. If you're routinely at risk to lose $10,000 if your internet connection fails, you should have enough money on hand to have a backup connection in place, or you could, you know, pick up the phone and talk to whoever you're trying to email.

11. If you have a child, and that child is on your shoulder screaming in your ear that he just pooped his pants, PUT THE PHONE DOWN AND ATTEND TO YOUR CHILD! We're not going anywhere, and the child is more important. Besides, we can't hear you when the child is screaming.

12. If you have to call us from a pay phone across the street because you don't have one in your house, the problem you're having with the internet isn't your biggest problem.

13. When you call, be AT YOUR COMPUTER. Not in the kitchen. Not in the living room. Not in the backyard. And in the name of all that is decent, not in the bathroom! I don't care if you've been on hold for a while - I've been ON THE PHONE the whole time you've been on hold, and you don't see me wandering around like a headless chicken, do ya?

14. Do not whine to me about your win95 system being "just fine" and grumbling about your cable connection not working when I can see that your old, never-upgraded, hamster-on-a wheel-powered POS is NOT RESPONDING TO THE MODEM!

15. Do not tell me you are your company's "Network Administrator" if you do not know what your router looks like.

16. Do NOT tell me you run your company's network if you don't know where the MS-DOS prompt is.

17. To know nothing is bad; to LEARN nothing is worse.

18. Do NOT call me from work to talk about a problem you're having at home.

19. While I'm at it, do NOT call me from home to talk about a problem you're having at work, either.

20. When I tell you to do something, don't say "I don't know about that..." I DO, THAT'S WHY I SAID DO IT. You called because you flipped all the switches and nothing happened - I'm the cavalry, now sit your butt still while I'm riding to the rescue!

21. Man made surge protectors, God made lightning. Guess who wins?

Here I sit in my 7th circle of hell...beware!
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