I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received phone calls/emails/text messages/smoke signals letting me know that a friend or family member is having problems with their computer.  I usually don’t mind and do my best to make time to help everyone, but there are always times when I feel so overwhelmed that I will purposely dodge calls because I don’t want to answer and end up on the phone for an hour.  And there are those that only call when they have a computer question, never just to talk or hang out; these are the people I avoid at all cost.  Moochers who only want computer help but never offer friendship or anything material in return.  I’m all about helping, but it’s nice to get a little something in return, at least occasionally.

I do enjoy what I do though.  Not my career per se, but working with computers in general.  I sit at a computer all day, then get off work and go home to sit in front of a computer again.  I don’t mind it at all.  I enjoy the sensual backlight of my keyboard in a dark room as I fiddle with my iTunes library and blog whatever pops in my head at the time.  I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when presented with a problem and being able to fix it.  I get a rush from the admiration that some people exhibit when they thank me for doing what they couldn’t.  I will readily admit that being able to do things with a computer that many others can’t is a big ego boost.  I would never hold it over someone’s head, but still…I love that I can do something others can’t.

However, I’ll be the first to admit that I heavily rely on others when it comes to other things.  I rely on my friends for help with all kinds of other things that I’m not nearly as good at as I am with computers.  We usually trade off favors, never really keeping track, but knowing that we don’t have to worry about the other being there when we need them.  And honestly, that’s really all I want from some people.  I want there to be some kind of balance.  Pay me, make me dinner, go to a movie with me, hang out for a few hours, but don’t just call me because you have a virus and don’t know what to do only to have me fix it and then be avoided and ignored until then next time you have a problem.  Homie don’t play that game.

My friend Jayme came over to my place this past weekend because her computer was freaking out for no discernible reason and she needed help.  She spent hours at my place hanging out, watching TV, playing games, and just talking while I ran scans and cleaned up some of the assorted junk that had made it’s way into her system.  We even went out for dinner and ice cream while one of the scans was running.  At the end of the night though, the problems still persisted and we realized it was too far gone to salvage the operating system – a reformat was imminent.

I went over to her place last night to wipe the slate clean and reload her computer from scratch.  She’d already backed up all her files though, so I was able to jump right into the gritty task of reformatting and reloading all her files and software.  It took all night, but we enjoyed a home cooked meal that she and her mom made and her cousin Sarah came over to join us.  It took me hours to get the computer setup properly so she could use it again, but it didn’t feel like it.  I was relaxing with friends and having fun while working on the laptop, so it didn’t really bother me to be doing it.  I actually enjoyed it.

Then again, I’ve always gotten some kind of weird enjoyment out of loading a computer from scratch and setting it up to work exactly the way I want it to.  Changing settings, installing/uninstalling programs.  I think it’s the amount of control that I have and the organization that I’m able to implement that gives me some sort of geeky high.  Whatever it is, I’ve always loved doing it.

I intend to stay in the IT field for the rest of my life.  I want to be working with computers for as long as I’m able.  Whether that means working IT in the corporate world, or starting my own private consulting company to help small businesses and individuals, or even teaching, all I know is that I don’t want to work in any other area.  Computers are where it’s at.  At least for me.