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What Not to Say to an IT Worker

Jose Fermoso

October 19, 2009

Photo: Lachlan Hardy/Flickr (CC)

You need to know how to deal with different types of people in order to get along. Some are especially sensitive to certain things, like the conflict resolution rep that hates to hears insults around the office, even when they’re said in jest. IT workers like us are no different.

We take our geekiness seriously and bristle at stupid questions. Don’t even think about taking away our Borg lava lamp or ask us about impossible hacker scenarios. No, Brazilian ninja hackers do NOT cause your browser to crash everyday! While translating tech concepts to noobs is distracting, it’s been a part of the job for so long that IT staff are (mostly) used to it.

At one time, IT departments were removed from others inside businesses, so techies developed a language of their own that few people needed to understand. Coding acronyms and web publishing commands, for example, were off-limits to “experts” and few businesses pressured non-IT staff to improve their education. IT guys managed even the simplest of technical work, like setting up a VPN network or the printer. As a result, the technical support staff became a type of “magician’s den” where anyone with any PC problem could ask infuriatingly simple questions the staff had to translate and fix on the fly.

Of course, the rise of the web caused the discrepancy between IT workers and everyone else to shrink. An understanding of basic IT skills is now required of everyone, regardless of industry. But let’s not kid ourselves. The consistent development of new technologies still forces many to catch up and on occasion, to look foolishly out-of-it.

Check out some of the favorite quotes we’ve compiled from stories over the years on IT workers, tech support guys, sales persons, and others from around the web, below.

- Jose Fermoso (

1. “If my computer gets a blue-screen of death, does it need to get degaussed?”

No, sir, it doesn’t. The error screen famously seen in Microsoft Windows systems almost never kills the memory or data of a PC system. But we’ll admit it can be scary when it pops up out of nowhere. This is one bug that you should probably take to the IT staff.

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