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Programmer’s Survival Tips – #1

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Never give your mobile number to a client, unless you work for yourself

If you are a programmer, and you work for a company (not for yourself), giving out information like this is just as good as signing away any possibility of being able to take some time off. Clients automatically think that when you give them your mobile number, that you are giving them a golden key to IT advice and support on tap.

It will start of slowly, possibly only related to the project you are currently busy working with on site. After that, it will escalate. What’s even worse, if you do your job well, the level of being bugged will increase. Soon you will need to give advice on anything IT related. The final straw will come when you are on vacation. Going away means getting away. Any contact regarding work related issues, will end up bugging you and being on your mind, effectively spoiling any chance for you to switch off and relax.

So what can you do. Well, there are a couple of tactics in dealing with the proverbial “give me your mobile number” aka sign your life away to me” conundrum.

  1. Suggest that the client contact your company’s support desk and log a formal call. Explain that this is better for all concerned and you wish to only provide the very best level of support. Doing this, enforces that.
  2. Get a prepaid SIM card for your mobile or use it in an additional mobile. Hand this number out freely. Then, after hours and when on leave, switch it off.
  3. When asked for your number, and you can’t revert to any of the above two tips, give the client your office number. If they continue to press you for your mobile number, kindly draw their attention to the fact that doing so might be counter productive.

It’s never an easy situation to deal with, especially if you work for a pay check. If you are self employed, then handing out your mobile number is almost required. But in any event, do so carefully.

Dirk Strauss
Dirk is a Software Developer from South Africa. He loves all things Technology and is slightly addicted to Jimi Hendrix. Apart from writing code, he also enjoys authoring books and articles. "I love sharing knowledge and connecting with people from around the world. It's the diversity that makes life so beautiful." Dirk feels very strongly that pizza is simply not complete without Tabasco, that you can never have too much garlic, and that cooking the perfect steak is an art he has almost mastered.

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