Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ooh, psychologist burn...

So I've been seeing a councilor about some of the issues I've been having with work, and life in general. The fact that I dread things that may or may not even happen, and spend days off dreading going back to work, thereby giving me pretty much no time off.

He's been giving me some ideas on how to target negative thoughts and deal with them, though a lot of them seemed kind of silly, mainly because I don't feel that negative thoughts are the problem.

My main problem, with people in general, is willful stupidity.

"I don't know how, and I don't want to know how, but can you make this work for me?"

I don't know if anyone has ever actually used that particular verbiage...but some actually get very close. You'd be surprised how blunt people can be about their own stupidity.

My response, at least internally, has always been:

"Well, obviously you do want to know how, and you need to know how. You called, right?"

When something isn't working correctly, the customers don't want to troubleshoot. They don't feel they should have to stand up, reset their modem, or router, or cable box, or whatever. They just want it to work. Which is a pretty idiotic premise, since it's obviously not working, and some action needs to be taken, and unless they have to, they probably don't want to wait for a tech. But they made the phone call assuming the problem was not theirs.

Anyway. To me, ignorance and stupidity are two completely different things, one acceptable, one not. I can take ignorance. In fact, ignorance is very healthy, because you don't know what you don't know until you admit that you don't know, thereby proclaiming ignorance. And a lot of times, I will get a call like:

"I don't know how, can you tell me? I'm not very good at this, though, so you'll have to go slow."

Okay, yeah, definitely. That's a good call from the beginning.

Well, my councilor got me good today. I mentioned to him that it might help if I could get inside their heads, understand why they won't take these simple steps when they're the ones that called in, and they're the ones that need it fixed.

Everyone wants to learn how to use the things they want or need to use...right? Pretty basic stuff.

Well, he told me that, the frustration that I feel with people when they don't want to listen, and don't want to learn what they called to learn...sometimes that's how he feels about my reactions to some of his suggestions.

*Insert sound of screeching brakes here*

So, my immediate response, which thankfully I didn't say out loud because I would've felt like a total douche, was:

"But the problem isn't mine, it's theirs. I'm not the one who is refusing to learn."

Crap. I'm doing the same thing.

Whereas they thought just making the phone call was going to do something useful, I apparently thought just showing up was going to make things better in my head. And it's not as if I've done nothing. I have tried. But I've also resisted.

So I go back to all the times I've thought "This is so simple, just unplug the damn thing, and plug it back in," and realize that, as simple as I thought that was, I'm trying to fix things that are in my own damn head. From an outsider's perspective, it couldn't get any simpler.

I think, now, it'll be easier to deal with people, if for no other reason then I'll feel like, to a degree, I've been there and done that. I've fought the bad fight against someone trying to help me. I've resisted the simplest, easiest steps, because I didn't think they were necessary. And, at the time, though I have no idea why, I've felt right in doing so.


  1. The problem is that there are more people who genuinely expect people to do everything in the world for them than there are reasonable people.

    Trust me. The problem isn't you. It's them.

  2. Oh, I agree, if all people were reasonably self sufficient then I wouldn't have near the problems I do doing tech support.

    I can't change them. I can, however, change my perspective to one that will help me deal better.