Support for open source projects (which in my case, is WordPress) is surprisingly rewarding.
One wouldn’t think it, but providing support for something you have a passion for, is a great way to grow personally. It doesn’t matter what your profession or situation is, in one way or another, helping others will benefit you.
Support brings professional growth
I’m a developer, I like hard questions, especially if I don’t know the answer outright. This is what helps me grow on a professional level. The intrigue of something new makes me actively look for the answer, and in helping someone else find the solution, I gain that same knowledge.
And the most important thing of all, you learn troubleshooting skills. You learn to identify problems and patterns, and how to diagnose them. This is worth so much, I don’t think there’s any situation in life that won’t benefit from problem solving capabilities.
Support also brings personal growth
Let’s not sugar coat everything, support can be stressful, it can be hard.
You meet people having terrible days, they might have made a mistake, they might have stumbled upon a bug, either way things have gone horribly horribly wrong for them. They are frustrated, some times they are angry, and (unfortuantely), at times they are outright asses.
If they are frustrated and temperamental, staying calm and patient is key. This is how you grow on a personal level, keeping level headed in heated situations.
And let’s not forget, the ability to just say no. There is nothing wrong in declining a request for help, it might even be healthy to get in a good habit of knowing when to say no. Personally, saying no is something I’m terrible at. I’ve done more
One thing to remember though, if people are being asses, you can walk away, at any time, for any reason. This is what makes supporting open source projects so great, you are not obligated to help anyone. By doing it at your own leisure you leave your self an out for those situations, one you wouldn’t so easily have when working with people in work situations.
There may be regulars seeking you out, they enjoy your answers and attitude.
You’ll make friends! Support communities are often some of the most inviting and caring people within a project (and sometimes a bit nuts, I’m looking at you, Jan!)
Do some support
And if forums are a bit slow-paced for you (they are for me), there’s even a #WordPress IRC channel.