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mr. fix-it August 21, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Staff.

Photo used under CC license; by Flickr user star5112.

Photo used under CC license; by Flickr user star5112.

Mr. Fix-It. Oh, you love Mr. Fix-It. You know you love him. Whenever you can’t remember an e-mail or a phone number, whenever you need an obscure fact, whenever there’s a question that isn’t part of his job description, Mr. Fix-it is ready to help you!

That is, until Mr. Fix-It doesn’t know the answer.

Mr. Fix-It is that guy in your family who’s always talking about his awesome new computer and all the great stuff it can do. He’s the guy who says, “I’ll be glad to go to Circuit City with you and help you pick out the right computer!” He’s the guy who gets all the TigerDirect mailings only to toss them in the trash, unread. He’s the guy who knows everything there is to know about your computer, your cell phone, your car stereo, your GPS, and your digital camera.

Until he doesn’t know. Then Mr. Fix-It rapidly becomes Mr. Get-the-Hell-Away-From-Me. Mr. Fix-It can un-jam a printer, but if the printer keeps saying it’s jammed after he works his “magic”, he gives up. Mr. Fix-It can give you cell phone tips, but he can’t guarantee they’ll definitely work on your phone, and when they don’t, he washes his hands of you. And Mr. Fix-It is all nice and helpful when his workload is light, but if he’s in the middle of a project (or is even just having a bad day), he shuts down and is totally unhelpful.

And that’s when Mr. Fix-It is at his worst, because if you know anything about the problem at hand, Mr. Fix-It will tell people you can help. Mr. Fix-It is one of those guys who is only helpful when it benefits him, or when it’s easy, or when he can sound like a really smart guy while actually pulling answers out of his backside.

Another problem with Mr. Fix-It is that he gets abused. IT guys are sometimes hard to find, or they might have important problems to solve (like, say, the building e-mail server going down because Katie in Sales forwarded a virus to everyone on the entire corporate network — all 3,000 people), or they’re just sick of making your $2,000 computer work on a dial-up connection when you clearly have the means to get an aircard or similar. So people keep coming to Mr. Fix-It for help with small problems, and either the problems can’t be solved by Mr. Fix-It (legitimately) or he just doesn’t feel like dealing with your crap (equally likely).

In the end, Mr. Fix-It will regret sharing his technical knowledge with anyone at the office, but the damage will have been done, and he’ll be fixing your computer and updating your cell phone for the rest of his tenure at the office… and maybe even beyond.



1. the reality of the telecommute day « corporatespeak - September 25, 2008

[…] desk just to chat. Or to ask you to do something. Or to get your help (especially if you’re Mr. Fix-It). Or, best of all, to complain. By working from home, you avoid people complaining around you, and […]

2. the people in your network neighborhood « corporatespeak - March 2, 2009

[…] me just refer you to Mr. Fix-It on this […]

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