• Always try rebooting before calling the helpdesk
  • Be patient and don’t lose your cool with the tech
  • Document the solution so that if it happens again, you can self-manage
You’ve been working on this document for weeks.

There are countless hours of analysis, editing and formatting that went into this file. It’s a complex document that integrates a lot of information from other sources, departments, systems and groups.

There’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears that went into this document. And justifiably so because there’ll be a lot of eyeballs on this, including the ones from the executive level.

You can’t drop the ball and fuck this up.

You’re scrambling and making additional last-minute changes for the next revision review coming up in just a few hours and then, the worst happens.

Your computer decides to fucking check out at this most critical timing.


You wiggle your mouse and press all sorts of keys but there’s no response at all. The screen looks like this weird semi-filled-in status kinda like the days of dial-up internet access when only part of a webpage came through.

You’ve only got a few more hours to get this done. Panic sets in. You can feel your stress level meter going through the roof.

You immediately get on the phone and call the helpdesk. This is an emergency.

As soon as the helpdesk person answers, you get into a frenzy and vent all of your frustrations and angst at them. And, it doesn’t go well - at all.

You can tell they don’t like your demeanor but they don’t understand the situation you’re in. This is really bad timing and this shit has gotta get fixed now - or else.

These are one of the worst kinds of days at work. Getting through a rough day like this will be next to impossible.

Why Computer Problems Stress Us Out So Much

We've all been there - you're in the middle of a big project at work, you’re “in the zone” and your computer starts to bog down or worse, suddenly decides to shit the bed.

Whatever the case may be, computer problems can quickly turn a good day into a bad one.

Why do we get so stressed out when things go wrong with our computers?

Part of it has to do with the fact that we rely on them so much. We use them for everything from work, communication to entertainment, and when they don't work properly, it can throw off our whole flow and routine.

Studies have shown that when we encounter problems with technology, it activates the same “fight or flight” stress response in our brain. Only in this situation, you’re not being attacked by some wild animal but instead, your computer is putting you in another kind of danger.

The danger now is the consequences of failing at work, which makes you look like you’re not competent and capable, which means that you won’t get promoted or worse, that you may even get fired.

And if you lose your job, how will you pay all your bills? Where will you live? Will you be homeless? You’re not prepared for job loss.

See how it just escalates into the worst-case scenarios?

Unfortunately, this is how our brains work. This fear-based default programming of our minds served us well for survival back in the caveman days but it makes our modern-day work lives a constant misery.

This is why we’re constantly having to manage work stress to keep our sanity intact.

This stress response is designed to help us deal with physical threats, but it's not very helpful when we're trying to fix a crashed computer because oftentimes we redirect that stress response to the very people that are trying to help us - the helpdesk techs.

This then creates a vicious cycle where the tech gets pissed off at you which then piles on more stress to your predicament.

The Right Way To Ask For And Get Helpdesk Support

If you've ever had to call the helpdesk for tech support, you know it can be frustrating as fuck.

You're put on hold, transferred to different people, asked to explain the problem again, etc. It feels like you're never going to get the immediate help you need. It creates a lot of stress and anxiety.

But there is a right way to ask for helpdesk support, and if you follow these simple tips, you'll get the help you need quickly and efficiently and with much less stress.

Calm Down & Take A Quick Breather

When your computer goes berserk or freezes up unexpectedly, it’s natural for you to instantly go into panic mode, especially if you’re working on a critical document. You don’t want to lose all of that work and then have to do it all over again.

This isn’t good at all. You’re allowing your mind to trigger the release of cortisol into your system, sometimes in big quantities.

Now, it’s impossible to stop this trigger. It will happen. However, what you can do is minimize the negative impact by lowering the amount of the stress response.

Before you frantically dial the helpdesk, you need to calm down and take a breather for two main reasons. First, it will prevent your heart rate and blood pressure from going through the roof. Second, it will allow you to be calmer so that you can talk clearly and coherently versus the panic-babble that usually happens.

Do a one-minute meditation at your desk. Or, even better, get up from your desk and go for a short 5-minute walk outside for some fresh air. Just the simple act of physically separating yourself from the computer helps to calm your nerves.

Always Try Rebooting The Computer

Guess what most helpdesk folks recommend when you have a computer problem?

“Have you tried rebooting the computer?”

It’s almost always the first fix that is suggested because in many cases, the error or problem that you’re experiencing is something that is hanging up or looping the processor.

When you reboot your computer, you’re terminating current processing requests, ending the stalls and clearing temporary caches. This process will usually do the trick for the most common issues related to slow or stalled units.

When you can’t reboot your computer from the screen menu because it’s totally frozen and unresponsive to mouse or keyboard shortcuts, then you’ll have to resort to a forced shutdown.

This is done by pressing and holding the power button for several seconds until the computer turns off. This forces the computer to cut power and shut down. Then, simply boot up in the normal way.

Always try rebooting your computer first before calling the helpdesk. This quick self-help reboot can fix many problems.

Keep Your Cool And Don’t Lose Your Temper

Guess what? The tech on the other end of the phone line is on your team. They’re there to help you and find a fast fix to the problem you’re having.

If you get on the phone with a pissed-off attitude and guns blazing, you’re not going to make things easier, just a lot harder.

Believe it or not, the helpdesk person wants to help you. They want you to get back online and stay productive. When they’re able to solve your problem and get you back on track, it gives them satisfaction and they can celebrate the small victory.

If you are rude, disrespectful and/or have a bitchy ‘tude, you’re just going to piss off the helpdesk tech, who is the very person that is there to help you.

Yes, the situation isn’t ideal and you’re stressing out. They know that. And, they are going to do their best to get things sorted out as fast as possible.

So, don’t be the asshole at work. It’s best to keep your cool and not lose your temper. Explain the situation calmly and as logically as possible. Doing so will make the troubleshooting process much better.

Get The Facts Of The Problem Down Before Calling

When you’re in panic mode, you’re not thinking straight or clearly. So, as mentioned earlier, you need to calm down and lower your speed a bit.

Imagine if your work BFF called you, all out of breath and frantically saying random words and incomplete sentences. You’d be confused and lost as to what the hell they’re saying or trying to get across to you.

That’s what it’s like for helpdeskers.

A lot of times, when users are panicking, they can’t speak logically - for real. The tech can hear the stress and it comes across in the user’s disjointed sentences and thoughts.

This makes their troubleshooting process nearly impossible.

Before calling the helpdesk, take a breather and dial down the panic as best you can. Then, gather the facts of the problem including what’s happening (or not happening), what program you’re using, the current symptoms and situation.

Also, be sure to have your computer type, user ID and any relevant passwords ready for them to open the ticket and begin troubleshooting with you over the phone.

Having all the information ready before calling will make the process easy to start.

Let The Tech Do Their Thing

When you’re under the gun to get back online and finish your work, it’s understandable that you’d be impatient and want to rush the troubleshooting process.

But, you’ve gotta chill and let the helpdesk staff go through the troubleshooting and process of elimination to identify the root cause of the problem, escalate the issue and apply the appropriate solution.

When you interrupt the process and start making suggestions to the tech on how to fix the problem, you’re just going to piss them off. They are the experts here, not you.

You have to let them do their thing.

Don’t cause other distractions with side comments, questions, conversations, recommendations, ideas etc. If and when the tech needs your feedback or information on something, then you can chime in. Otherwise, give them the mental space to focus and think.

Also, if the tech is accessing your computer remotely to troubleshoot the problem, don’t be messing around with the computer. They need to be able to control the computer remotely without you cyberloafing on the web or doing other things.

Keep your hands off until they ask for you to jump in.

When Uncertain, Ask Them To Repeat Or Slow Down

When you’re part of the troubleshooting process, the tech will often ask you to do things on your end that they can’t do remotely.

This can be things like downloading software, updating old drivers, deleting settings, typing in commands, etc.

For non-technical users, this can be very intimidating. You don’t want to delete the wrong configuration, type something incorrectly or install something upsidedown.

So, if you’re ever feeling unsure about something, press pause and ask them about it. Have them explain it to you again so that you understand.

Most every tech won’t have any issue with clarifying things. They have a vested interest in making sure that each step is the correct one. Because if it’s not, then it just creates more work for them.

See The Problem As A Puzzle To Better Cope

When you’re in a bind and stressed about your computer not working, you’re taking an emotional-based approach to cope with the situation. This is the most common response that people have.

This kind of approach tends to elevate your stress levels and get you all riled up. This isn’t going to help the effort.

The better coping strategy is to see this computer failure as a challenging puzzle. You’re trying to find that missing piece, rearranging the order, connecting the dots, etc. When you see it this way, it’s less of an emotional drain and more of a fun challenge. You gotta have fun at work, right?

In fact, according to this study, people who saw computer problems more as puzzles had much better ability to cope with the challenges than those who used an emotionally-based coping strategy.

Document Simple Fixes To Common Problems

There’s nothing more irritating than having to experience the same computer problem again. It’s like when the check engine light comes on after you just got the car back from the mechanic.

And just like cars, computers are quite complex. There are so many software programs loaded in that sometimes, it can cause some conflicts. Adding to the complexities are all the online elements that also interact with your laptop.

Sometimes, the fix only lasts as long as the current setup remains the same. If any changes take place in other software, apps or programs, it can cause the same problem to pop up again.

You’re banging your head against the wall with the same issues.

For situations when the same problem comes up again, you can save yourself time by fixing it yourself with the same solution.

During the troubleshooting process, document the steps. So, the next time the same problem pops up, you can just run through the fix yourself and get back on track fast.

It’s All About Teamwork, Baby!

In a perfect world, our laptops would never have any problems. No blue screen of death. No bogging down. No frozen screens. No random crashes. Work life would be so much smoother without these disruptions.

And it would make Mondays suck way less.

The reality is that with the complexity of today’s software along with all the online elements, there are a lot of things going on inside that laptop of yours.

You’re probably multitasking the shit out of that laptop too with multiple programs, email, chat, YouTube and a dozen browser tabs all running at the same time.

So, it’s inevitable that your laptop is going to have some kind of issue every now and then. Shit happens.

And when it does, don’t freak out about it. Your helpdesk tech has got your back. Help them help you by being the cool, calm and cooperative teammate you are.

By doing so, no computer issue will ever hold you back.

Feel Better,

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