I’m grateful to have worked on both sides of this, first as a part-time IT guy while doing my PhD, then as a more research-oriented tech support, and finally as a researcher. There’s always going to be that one researcher who calls up IT without checking if their computer is plugged in, and there’s also the IT guy who doesn’t listen to the user and treats them like an idiot.
In universities there’s the problem that a lot of the users calling IT support are very clever people, who know their specialist field’s software inside and out, but can’t do some of the simplest computer tasks. And being in the IT team of a highly technical research department is challenging when there is so much specialist software. It’s one thing to work out why someone can’t print from pdf, but another when the PC is running with custom-made IO devices which are only compatible with an unpatched version of windows 95.
IT Support Panda on phone: As I've told you before Dr Mad, we can't send a university technician to your office until you've run through these steps. Now, have you tried switching it off and on again?
Annoyed IT Support Panda (whispering): Ugh, is it him again?
SFX: nod nod nod
Dr Mad: And as I keep saying, I want YOU to switch it off!