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Should I say "No"?

By lmitchell ·
I manage the Computer Skills Training Department for the Adult Education Division of a vocational school. My job duties require me to teach a variety of classes, as well as hire, coordinate and manage 13 part-time employees to cover the classes that I can't teach; and work with business and industry to create and administer customized training (this includes doing PR work, marketing, contract proposals, etc.). My duties do not encompass troubleshooting or repairing the computers on campus. Lately, the people I work with (and especially my boss!) have been asking me so many PC troubleshooting questions that I can't finish my assigned work. I feel like a grinch saying "no, I can't help you right now", but I feel I should get MY job done before I do someone else's (we have a tech staff that works 8 am to 4 pm, and I work from 2 pm until 10 pm so I'm basically the only person on campus during those hours who might be able to help in a crisis). Should I just suck it up and continue tostretch myself too thin, or should I risk annoying my boss by telling him to refer his questions to our tech department? Help!

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Should I say "No"?

by Lizzy In reply to Should I say "No"?

You need to have a talk with your boss, but in a nice way. You need to tell your boss that A.) This is what you do (you listed a lot!) and B.) This is what you're being asked to do on top of your regular work. Then explain that you understand that you're the only person there in the evenings, and that it might be a good idea to consider having tech support have someone on call for cases such as you're describing. Tell your boss that your job performance AND satisfaction is suffering and ask your boss for possible solutions to Tech Supports' problem--not being able to serve all their clients when they need service. This is not your problem, but you need to be able to make sure that it doesn't become your problem. Be firm, polite, assertive, nice, but most of all firm. If you have a dork for a boss who doesn't understand and wants to keep pushing this on you, document what calls you get and what you do. Take a job in tech support for more money (state jobs in this field--what you do gets paid less, I know). Good luck and best wishes!

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Should I say "No"?

by Lizzy In reply to Should I say "No"?

I loved answer # 3!! What a great way to put the ball back into the court of the people who should be dealing with it in the first place while maintaining everyone's feelings. Reject my answer! I think # 3 deserves credit for true diplomacy!! If what he suggested doesn't work, you should do two of two things: 1) Document every thing including the problems brought to your attention whether or not you fixed them and 2) look for employment elsewhere because those people are dense and reallly taking advantage of you (if doing what # 3 says doesn't work to end this problem--it should take two or three weeks I'd guess).

Diabetic, Bravo!! Are you a tech or a conflict management trainer or what?

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Should I say "No"?

by lmitchell In reply to Should I say "No"?

Thank you, not only for your advice but for your support! I have taken all of your suggestions and confronted those who ask for help with the reply "when I am finished with my duties, I'll be happy to help". I am also seeking employment elsewhere!

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Should I say "No"?

by tjc In reply to Should I say "No"?

Very sensetive position, Lizzy is right. You have to be very tactfull that you don't make any enemies, expecially your boss. Also do document all help that you give and put it on your quaterly/yearly report and also see if they can get help in the evenings from "technical support" like they should.

I was in a simular position where I was technical support and teacher at the same time and they would always catch me with questions when i was about to go and teach and I had to expaline to each person, one by one that I'm not being mean but I have my own job to do. They were hurt but understood that I have to do my job and they need to be more self sufficint and when not they need to work with getting more help.

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Should I say "No"?

by lmitchell In reply to Should I say "No"?

Thank you, not only for your advice but for your support! I have taken all of your suggestions and confronted those who ask for help with the reply "when I am finished with my duties, I'll be happy to help". I am also seeking employment elsewhere!

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Should I say "No"?

by diabetic In reply to Should I say "No"?

After reading the first two replies (both were very good) I wanted to ahve you consider the opposite tack.

Try the following:

listen to their problem and ask the appropriate open-ended questions that will help you get a pretty good definition of the problem. Then respond that you will discuss this with the tech people and get back as soon as practical. (Interesting problem, let me discuss this with the techs and we'll get back to you once we have some solid answers.) Then you contact thesupport people and let them know the details of the problem and get a firm commitment for a fast response.

In doing it this way, you do not alienate your peers or your boss (very important). You also establish that you do not have all the technical answers. Finally, you correctly position the tech people as the ones who fix problems and provide the best technical answers. This last is very critial because without you ever having to say so, you are communicating the fact that they need to go directly to the techs. The problem here is that you have inadvertantly communicated that they do not have to deal with the techs because it is easier to go directly to you.

Good luck with this.

Humbly submitted,
diabetic

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Should I say "No"?

by diabetic In reply to Should I say "No"?

Lizzy;

Thanks you for the kind comments.

I'm just a broken down old Vietnam Vet, hanging in there. I manage a small four-state IT support team in the southwest.

humbly submitted,
diabetic

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Should I say "No"?

by lmitchell In reply to Should I say "No"?

Excellent advice! Thank you, not only for your advice but for your support! I have taken all of your suggestions and confronted those who ask for help with the reply "when I am finished with my duties, I'll be happy to help, or I can contact tech support for you". I am also seeking employment elsewhere!

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Should I say "No"?

by lmitchell In reply to Should I say "No"?

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