Here I am again spending my Sunday evening fixing a friend’s flakey PC laptop. After this, I’ll be receiving another critically infected laptop to reformat and one more for minor troubleshooting with Symantec Anti-virus not updating properly. For the record, I also have two Xboxes to mod for my younger gaming friends (this WILL be lower priority). Talk about busy, and I’ve got papers to write at the same time. Thanks to the “now” culture of the Internet, people expect things done quick and mostly free. Oh joy.
Spywares, viruses and plain Windows annoyances make PCs such a sick platform, I really spend most of my time fixing PCs although I specialize more on the Mac OS. If you’re not in the higher echelon of “fix-it-yourself” PC users, most people don’t know how to maintain their PC for nuts. I don’t blame them… the PC world is so cluttered with malware and riddled with security holes, to me, Macs are seriously a breath of fresh air. Please, if you don’t know what you’re doing, please don’t buy trouble by buying a PC. Get a Mac and get your work done.
Enough of my groveling… I really like helping, but don’t want to be taken advantage of. I started to think about how much I do for friends and the “return of investment” I get from them. Seriously, how does one keep track of friendly favors?
The Chinese have this thing called “Guanxi“, which involves doing favors to maintain relationships. The Americans have this concept called Social Capital which according to Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, “refers to the collective value of all ‘social networks’ and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other”. Well, all said and done, how much time do we need to spend on favors to be considered enough for a kickback? After doing favors for so long, I feel like I’m not getting back as much as I should!
Via Prof. Halavias, a novel idea came in the form of Ithaca Hours. Instead of money, the local currency for this community project is “HOURS” because this encourages us to think about the value of everyone’s time. The name reminds us that the real source of money’s value is created by people — their time, skills, and energy. How I wish something like that can be applied worldwide via the Internet, like a new kind of Paypal with a time bank instead of cash.
For now, I recall a tip my friend told me from her marketing class: When someone says thank you, don’t just say “your welcome” and take off. Instead, say “I’m sure if I needed help, you’d do the same for me too”. This way, the beneficiary gets reminded to do his/her part.
Do you have any tips and tricks to getting the most back out of doing favors?