It’s 10:52am and I’ve already had a life-changing epiphany.
Today I have a much clearer idea of what it’s like to be one of my clients – to be in need of expert advice, to fix an issue that is annoying, or maddening, or even terrifying.
So, tensions are running high over here right now. A couple of days ago, a client’s 8-year-old IDE hard drive failed while I was transferring files from it. The data on this drive is critical, and it isn’t backed up. (People: please back up your data!). [Cut to picture of my Time Machine backup with status: “No backups for 58 days”.]
When I first realized that the drive was in trouble, I had an immediate sense of dread.
After all, data is priceless.
And here’s where I suddenly switched from “IT Expert Man” to “Oh My God Crap Crap Crap I’m Lost and Scared and This Is Really Bad Man”. I was in need of some expert help, and was maybe just a little embarrassed that I’d gotten into this situation and couldn’t get out of it, on my own.
Now, human psychology is a funny thing. When faced with a frightening situation like this one, I would advise and expect my clients to stop. Just stop what you’re doing and call me. The sooner your stop and ask for help, the easier the fix will probably be.
This makes sense.
But we’re all human.
Our decisions are emotional. And – oh it pains me to admit this, but – I’m not immune to this. For you see, instead of stopping and calling a data recovery expert, I decided I could fix it. After all – I’m a resourceful fellow, and Google is free to use, right?
Well, long story short I probably did further damage to the drive, and potential made the data recovery process more expensive. Eep!
But I know better.
So, why did I decide to keep working on the drive instead of stopping and asking for help?
- FEAR. I was scared to admit I was in over my head.
- TENACITY. I’ve solved so many problems in the past on my own.
- EMBARRASSMENT. I should have stopped. I should have stopped. I should have stopped.
- COST. I was afraid of the cost of data recovery.
Let’s deconstruct and re-frame, shall we?
I felt out of control of the situation. I didn’t like that I couldn’t learn about the situation, and take charge of it. And I was afraid that I’d done something wrong and was going to have to take ownership of that.
But, that fear isn’t going to change the situation at hand. And, with the right expert on your side, there’s no need to feel this fear. The right expert will not judge you. (Read: As your IT expert, I will not judge you!).
This is a tricky one. I encourage my clients to have a bit of tenacity, and to really aim to discover their computer. But if I’m honest with myself there were a few moments where I had “YES/NO” questions asked to me where I clicked YES, but the thoughts in my head went something like this…
Clicking on “YES” could very well make things a lot worse. It says I can’t undo this step. And there are others out there who would know if this was a good idea or not. But I’m in too deep now, and maybe this will be the magic fix I’ve been looking for. I need to get rid of these bad feelings!
You see, there was a small voice in there trying to take control and say, “STOP!!!”. But that voice wasn’t the loudest.
Folks, tenacity is a good and admirable thing. But if you hear this voice, then listen to it and get the help of an expert.
I wish that’s what I’d done in the first place.
This was a huge component for me. I’m in IT. I should be able to recover a drive. And I bet this is the same argument that you’ve made before, eg. “I’ve worked with Windows for 20 years. I should be able to fix this problem. I should be a master at this, by now.”
Look, there are so many different types of issues that can arise with computers. We can’t be an expert at fixing all of them. And Google can only take you so far, sometimes. And, my friend, that is okay. There is no need to be embarrassed by this. Reach out and ask for help.
If you’re like me, it’s really mostly about the cost. If there was any chance of me being able to recover this drive for free, on my own, I was sure as heck going to investigate it. And so, I spent eight gloriously stressful and maddening/saddening hours trying to recover this drive.
I lost a night’s sleep, and I let it affect my relationship with those around me.
So, let’s go back to the idea of COST. If I’m worried about paying, say, $400, then what if I re-frame the question this way:
Would you pay $400 to eliminate serious stress from your life?
Before we balk at the simplicity of this question, let’s consider that one of the main reasons for vacation is to de-stress and recharge, and to get away from the things in our life that cause us strife. But, what if we eliminate the strife as it happens by giving over stressful problems to experts? Really think about that one for a moment.
I write this article 20 minutes after handing over the sick/dying/dead hard drive to a data recovery expert. I haven’t just given him my hard drive – I’ve also given him my problem. My stress. That’s his problem to deal with now. And he can deal with it better than I can, because he’s a trained and experienced expert. And, I gotta tell ya, I feel better already.
I’m no longer alone with this problem. I’m part of a team. And I can trust that we’re doing the best we can to recover this drive, together.
But I’m also aware that it would have been less stressful, and cheaper if I’d called an expert sooner.
So, like… I get it guys. There are lots of obstacles that can keep us from reaching out and getting help. But know this: if you call me, you will feel better. I will be one heck of a great team mate. I will take on your IT issues and get them fixed up and, friend, you will feel great.