I'm sleeping with the IT guy in my office. But it's not as sexy as it sounds. My office is my home, so the IT guy also happens to be my husband of 13 years.
While there has been a ton of debate between the sexes over division of traditional household labor, I have heard nothing about how household consumer technology has impacted this dynamic. Think about it. I did this week, as I scrubbed the shower and mopped the kitchen wondering why I'm not splitting the cleaning chores with my husband.
My moment of clarity came as I was changing bed linens and listening to an NPR "Talk of the Nation" discussion about Tuesday's release of Microsoft's Vista operating system. Although the discussion involved just average PC users, it was technically way over my head. My mind started racing with thoughts like "do WE need to upgrade to Vista?" and "will I have learn Word all over again?" and "I can't deal with this! Thank God my husband handles all this stuff."
And there it was. My husband handles ALL this stuff.
He maintains our home desktops and laptops. He installed all the OS's. He installed the wireless. He installed all that other stuff that needs installing. He manages our memory and security issues. He's the answer man for my ridiculously naive computer questions and problems, and is the troubleshooter when things go wrong - which is often, because computers are just so - so - not perfect.
In a study just released this week by SupportSoft, independent researchers found that "the average consumer has experienced computer troubles eight times - about every four months - over the past three years." The study, called "Cyber Stress," also discovered that "the average American is wasting 12 hours per month" dealing with home computer trouble. This is the reason The Geek Squad is doing such big business (see a profile on this past Sunday's "60 Minutes"). It's the same reason SupportSoft is launching a new service called support.com, which "speaks to consumers without talking down to them and uses proven, patented technology to resolve their frustrating computer problems."
But that's just for computer problems. Throw in maintenance and general management, and the average home IT person is likely spending more time on their high-tech household tasks than the other partner is spending on their lower-tech chores. So, with some three-quarters of American households equipped with one or more computers, being the home IT person has become just as time consuming and crucial a job as cooking and cleaning.
I know I really should learn to do all this computer maintenance myself - share in this 21st century household chore. But just because I know how to cook, doesn't mean I should know how to fix the toaster. And unlike toasters, computers need to be constantly managed and maintained to work - and work efficiently.
Thank goodness I don't need to hire out for computer help just yet. Because I sleep with the IT guy. And I plan to do so for many, many years to come.
That’s where I live today.
Where do you want to go today?
Where do you want to go today?
How about Netscape for a start?
The last thing I do before I close my eyes,
I wonder how Bill Gates is coping.....
(see Bill on Monday night's Daily Show with Jon Stewart, as he offers to help Jon install Vista if he has any problems)
Who does all the IT on your home computers? Do you see this chore as equal to other household chores, like cooking or cleaning? Are you planning to upgrade to Vista? Let us know the answers to these and other questions, by clicking below on "Comments" and joining in the conversation.