'Why your volunteer or staff technician may need support'

Accidental Techie's need support too

"User support is about giving of oneself. One’s time, one’s knowledge, one’s patience. Without a way of renewing those resources, techs (whether as an amateur or as a professional) will find themselves headed toward burn-out. What saved me? Linking up with a supportive community of professionals..."

Start Quote Supporting others requires a lot from us. For most of my career, I have been the sole staff member providing IT support and training for the community organisations I've worked for. While I’ve had the chance to work with some great people over the years, I’ve recently come to realise that something has been missing from my professional life.

Recently I linked up with a network of community-based IT workers (the UK Circuit RidersOpens a new browser window) and persuaded my manager to invest in a support contract to support me, which has given me the chance to feel like part of a team again, and I love it.

Okay, sure. Hooray for teamwork, and blah blah blah. Maybe I’ll be accused of sounding like a motivational poster with this stance, but I’ll take that risk. It’s easy to be cynical when you are used to being surrounded by other IT professionals, but try and put yourself in my shoes for a moment.

Until recently, it has been literally years since there was anyone in my organisation who I could even talk to about technical matters. The people I’ve worked with (and for) have been wonderful souls, but it is so isolating to be the only person in your organisation doing what you do. I had no idea how isolating, until I started posting to the circuit rider network and found I could 'phone a friend' at DOT-COMmunications when things start to go ever-so-slightly wrong.

I had actually become quite depressed, and I hadn’t even realised it. Not because my previous jobs have been so horrible, but because exposure to other professionals who understand what do, is a great way to grow. I had forgotten the excitement of collaborating with another to solve a problem, and how quickly I can learn new things when I’m surrounded by other experienced techs. I now actually look forward to going to work, and supporting clients feels easier than it did before. I attribute both of these developments to the fact that I feel like I have competent people around me to lean on.

So, moral of the story, make sure that you have a professional community of your own. Hopefully, you’ve found a little of that fellowship here (in DOT-COMm's ClientZone). Wherever it comes from, though, you need to have a way to replenish your energy and excitement. I am better now at my job than I have been in years, simply because I find my working environment more sustaining. Being on my own for too long, part of my professional self had atrophied. I implore you not to let the same thing happen to you. End Quote

Adapted from comments made by an Accidental Techie

Circuit Riders - ICT development and support for the voluntary sector

Lasa Circuit Rider Logo

A Circuit Rider is a mobile worker who provides ICT support and development to a caseload of small voluntary organisations and who works in collaboration with other Riders. It has also come to represent staff and volunteers who provide technical support to community organisations.

Subscribe to the UK Circuit Rider discussion list Opens a new browser window to discuss and help develop the UK Circuit Rider movement. Your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose and you can unsubscribe at any time.

DOT-COMmunICaTions - "Accidental Techie" Support Contract

Accidental Tech Support

If you are lucky enough to have a staff member or volunteer able to provide technical support, web design, etc. needs, then have you thought what support you should be giving them? Few individuals are skilled in all areas of ICT knowledge and may need advice and support from time to time.

For only £49 a year you get:

  • Unlimited calls to our telephone, email and live chat helpline for technical advice and support for your “Accidental Technician”;
  • Two inclusive Remote Access Support Calls to help resolve a problem (and a fixed price for any additional calls at £15 an hour);
  • One on-site visit  and a fixed price of £30 per hour for any additional onsite visits or alternatively £15ph for repairs back at base;
  • Free loan machine if your computer is being repaired or has been stolen
Conditions apply.

For more information, please contact us for an informal chat.