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(I)n my experience it's quite amazing the amount of people that when you tell them you're a software developer say "oh, that means you can fix my laptop/pc/printer etc..."
"I will be happy to try to fix your laptop/pc/printer, when I have a spare hour or two, for a bottle of good Scotch."
I think that ("other") people have a tendency to assume that, because you're doing what seems like magic (just typing at a keyboard, not doing anything obviously technical that involves physical tools and parts), fixing their spyware-encrusted Win32 install is a trivial matter. After all, you're not getting your hands dirty, are you?
Most people are willing to accept that fixing their computer is Work, rather than Magic, provided that you explain it to them with a certain level of politeness. Once they recognize it as Work, they may not stop asking you to rid their machines of spyware and their printers of paper jams, but at least they'll be more willing to pay you for your time.
Incidentally, my standard xmas gift to my parents is Free Computer and Network Maintenance and Upgrades. They buy new toys, and I install them when I come to visit. It works out quite well.
In reply to Re^2: Software engineering: a useless profession?