I spent Thanksgiving weekend in my hometown and visited my friend’s parents. They used to generously pay me to fix their computer problems, but it wasn’t always productive: everything took far longer than I thought it would, and my efforts to fix one problem often created others. It was inevitable: they’re an architect and a graphic designer, and I was a computer nerd with very little professional IT experience, so I never fully appreciated the complexity of their software setups or their priorities for getting their jobs done.
Although I never got paid, while I was in high school and college I also used to provide tech support for many of the people I knew. I ran into the same pitfalls as Marco. Fixing one thing would always create a new problem. And not knowing or understanding a person’s setup, workflow or priority would often cause new problems.
A big issue is that non-IT people tend to do things in unorthodox ways. They store files in peculiar places. They use applications in ways that tech-savvy people don’t.
Thankfully I don’t get many of these requests anymore because most people have someone in their family who can help them with this.