The "Gift" of Technology

Technology is a great thing. Heck, without technology I wouldn't have the job I have today. People need it. People need to learn how to use it. People need to be able to fix it without feeling intimidated.

So it is that I am able to come to work each day, or sometimes even go home at night, or to my in-laws, or to a friends, a poker game, to see the baker, the banker, and the cabinet maker and feel valued. (Okay, maybe those last three were a bit of a stretch.)

"Computer guys" or "Tech-Geeks," as we have been known to tag ourselves, do sometimes get together and commiserate (WOTD yesterday) about how it would be nice to just once go someplace and not talk tech, but secretly I think we, at least I, kind of like it that we are often asked for an opinion or a fix (not that kind of fix), or for just some time to look at something that has gone awry.

Lately though I haven't been offering many opinions, or providing many fixes, at least not in the regular sense.

Ordinarily folks who ask me questions need tweaks, tips, tricks and such - They need solutions that aren't obvious to everyone.

The folks I've been helping the most lately - For them just knowing how to use a computer is their solution, and maybe their salvation.

As you know if you are a regular follower (Thank you), or may not know if you are not (Welcome), the library where I work began this year to offer Job Help Centers to folks who need help finding and applying for jobs.

Now, I've been an on and off job hunter for the last 7-8 years since I got my degree in 2001. I've been working on career paths, resumes and the like for most of the last 10-11 or since I had to become our resume software expert when I came to work in the Main Library Media Center in 1998.

If you need to know about WinWay Resume, I'm your man. If you want to use the resume templates provided by Microsoft, you're on your own. But I digress.

Alright, so where are you going with this Jimmer?

Well I'll tell you...

Since diving into the job search effort with a new verve, and a sense of urgency as opposed to just dabbling along the way - I have learned something very important.

Finding a job is a DAMNED hard thing to do.

Every application is online, they are all different, and sometimes pretty darn long. Additionally almost all assume a certain computer knowledge level regardless of the job one is applying for.

"Want to work in Environmental Services (or just clean things), please upload your resume here:"

Never mind that you will most likely never touch a computer again in your time of employment with that company.

And it's not just employers or even the job sites:

Care to collect unemployment?

Well, we realize you're 60+ years old and have never used anything more technical than your television remote, but you've just been laid off from the job you thought you'd retire from and to get any money? Well, welcome to the online world.

Don't have email?

Sorry - that's required.

Oh, you can do it the old fashioned way - there is a toll free number. Be sure to pack a lunch, and dinner, and maybe even the next day's breakfast - Yes, you might be on hold that long.

Yep. Computers are a huge part of the employment world, and something all too many of us take for granted.

I've told many funny stories over the years about customers who thought: "You Have Performed An Illegal Operation" meant the police were coming to their house; or those that swore up and down their keyboard was broken until I showed them "NumLock;" and even my favorite about the gentleman who looked me square in the eye and said:

"I ain't no computer savage Jim!"

Those were all funny and timely, but alternatives still existed and the learning curve for all of us was a little bit more forgiving.

Those aren't the times we are in now. It's not funny now. It's a little more real - for all of us.

So next time you sit down at your keyboard and bring up The Life of Jimmer, or login to Facebook, or Twitter, or calmly sort through your pages upon pages of email - consider that there is somebody out there who lacks that knowledge, lacks that access.

Take a moment to consider what that might mean, and how fortunate we all really are.

Hey, I never said I'd never preach, but I do invite you to make the comment section your pulpit if you'd like to share your thoughts on the rampant rise of technology.


kathy oh said...

well well well....ive watched my mom struggle with the computer and its technology since she was required by school (she was a teacher) to enter the grades online. she is baffled by the fact that you can shrink a screen and freaks out if things dont look "like they always did".
i have patience for all else except for her freaking out on things that for me are so normal.
folks like the "techy geeks" aka you mr b are certainly a blessing for those of us who have all they can handle doing the tech basics.
i can only imagined just how frazzled (wotd yesterday) you get with that all day. altho the rewards are many too im sure. to see the spark in someones eye when they realize they finally understand something or to have someone come back and tell you they got that job you helped them apply for.
this is an official U ROCK! and thank you for all you do!

Mom said...

There are many of us older people who never had to use a computer for work. Never took the time to learn how to use a computer at home. Don't think it is necessary and are not going to try. The way things are going we will be severly handicapped by this lack of knowledge. Some I know use the computer at work but do not know how to use their home computer. Now you at the library can and have helped many. Be proud and remember we who cannot or will not learn are proud also and when we need help try and keep a pleasant smile and do not laugh!

Cat said...

I hear ya, Jimmer! And you and I have both had the particular joy, I'm sure, of helping someone who barely speaks English, and has no tech knowledge, and just wants to clean hotel rooms . . . those are long transactions in our jobs, but at least I feel like we're out there, making a difference in the lives of our customers.

largesse said...

If my job hadn't required me to use a computer so much over the years, I could easily be one of those "non-savage" folks you are now helping. I can identify.

I am grateful for the "gift" of a job that brings technology right to me, and I'm grateful for people like you who help make it all work, for all kinds of people.