I have no problems with being compared to sort of a mechanic. I fix things, and if I can’t fix things, chances are they are broken at the Engineering level, so I have to go back to the people who create the parts. Despite usually being outside the Scope of Support, I like to break the rules, and sometimes break the product, and have some fun with XSL projects/customizations. Ideally, my job would be represented by this image:
More often then not, however, I end up feeling like this:
It would be nice to be an evangelist of pushing up your sleeves and getting dirty within customizations, however mostly it is just re-explaining things that are found in the product or perhaps difficult to find. For better or worse, I am the bear. Typically this means that once a person can formulate a question well enough, then that means that he/she can usually figure out the issue. Sometimes this happens as early as attaching a test case, so that I can help this person figure out the issue through troubleshooting. Digressing a little, people sometimes ask me why they have to attach a test zip to the case. This goes back to the mechanic metaphor. Would it not make sense that you drop off your vehicle when getting it diagnosed by the technician? Sure you could try the “Car Talk” approach, but in all reality, we really need to actually see this issue before we can begin to work on it. It just doesn’t make sense if there is something wrong to not be able to look at it first hand, so in that sense I am more like the riveter.
I don’t mind being the bear, though, really. Trial and error can be an arduous process and sometimes the right training can ease the process of learning new software. Also Support has been working with Documentation to provide feedback on the new ePublisher docs via the Reverb format. For our more advanced users, if I can’t provide a satisfactory answer, I will usually point these people to the Wiki for a chance to submit their own projects, that or the Power Hour/Study Hall sessions for the informal training that we provide. Even for me as someone who researches problems every day, a chance to reformulate my questions on how to use or customize the software can be helpful. Everyone gets stuck sometimes, and it is okay to want to have a pink care bear to ask your questions.