What I learned about life from working in IT: part 1

I’ve spent the past 9 years working in the IT field…most of it as a help desk technician. It would be an understatement to say that my job hasn’t been easy. Anyone who works on computers is part detective, part engineer, part psychologist, part interior designer, part whipping boy, and a shit load of other things that require you to push your mind to its limit in multiple directions everyday. My experience as a computer technician has forced me to hone my thinking skills, and over the years I’ve noticed myself using these same skills outside of the work place in my everyday life. So I decided to share what I’ve learned. If you use the skills I’m about to share you’ll be able to fix your own computer and pretty much any other problem life throws at you.

The first thing you learn about fixing computers is that they’re not mysterious, magical or spiritual. Until you understand that you’ll never be able to fix them. Doctors have my sympathy because when someone’s mother is sick people pray to God, hire shamans, consult oracles, etc. to try to cure their loved one’s illness…and when the doctor cures the illness all the credit goes to the metaphysical beings. You never hear about anyone calling a priest when their computer breaks though. You know why? Because when emotions aren’t involved everyone knows that in reality magic and divine intervention aren’t real. I’m not saying God can’t be real, but the sooner you accept the obvious fact that (if there is a God) He/She/It is an impartial observer the better you can deal with the problems life throws at you. In reality, in this scientific universe we live in, the only force affecting the behavior of the universe is cause and effect.

The sooner you accept these facts the sooner you can fix your computer because when a computer breaks you’ll know it happened for a cut and dry, logical, scientific reason. Thus you know you can analyze the physical evidence, logically deduce the cause of the problem, and apply reliable countermeasures to correct the problem.

I once got a call from a user who said something was wrong with her computer. At the time I had a program that let me connect to other computers remotely and take control of the mouse and keyboard. I took control of her computer and started controlling her mouse remotely to check various settings on her computer. I made the mistake of not warning her that I was going to take control of her computer. When she saw her mouse start opening folders she screamed into the phone that her computer was possessed. I kid you not. She would have never been able to fix her computer herself because she didn’t understand that a computer obeys the laws of science (aka the laws of reality). If I were a betting man I’d wager the rest of her life (away from her computer) was shit as well.

A lot of people don’t like to accept that we live in a scientific universe because if they believe in a magical universe they can take any perceived tragedy and assume it happened for the greater good. It also means they don’t have to take responsibility for their actions because they assume God or some other mystical force is going to wipe their ass for them. However, its been my experience (as both a computer technician and a human being) that this is a destructive way of looking at life. It never solves anything, and it paralyzes us from taking realistic cause and effect measures to fix our problems. Look, I hate roulette because I hate leaving my chances of winning up to chance. My favorite game is chess because when I play chess I win or lose based on my own actions. Well, life is like chess. If you don’t believe me then pray to God to fix your computer the next time your hard drive burns out and see what happens (or doesn’t happen).

Once you understand this, fixing a computer becomes exponentially easier. When your computer breaks you know there’s a reason for it. It might be beyond your understanding (at the moment), but you know the problem can be figured out and corrected if you work at it hard enough and logically enough. The same is true with life. When a problem occurs in my personal life I look at it logically, figure out why it happened, and take logical steps to fix it. I don’t sit around and hope God is going to wipe my ass for me. And you know what? My problems get fixed both in life and at work! If I find that a problem in my life is unfixable I accept the reality that the problem beyond my control and take logical steps to alter my actions to make the best out of the situation I find myself in. If I can’t fix a computer problem I either ask for help from someone who knows more about computers than me, reload the operating system and start over from scratch, replace the piece of software/hardware that I’ve determined is faulty or replace the whole computer. You’d be surprised how many real life problems can be solved using similar solutions.

What I learned about life from working in IT: Part 2

What I learned about life from working in IT: Part 3

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