Thursday, January 26, 2012

I'm feeling kinda like a dinosaur . . .

Thanks so much for all of your concern after my little whine fest - I realize my physical situation is so much less severe than so many others'. I am anxious to go to the podiatrist tomorrow to see what he thinks.

The other day I was thinking about my journey into the computer world, and something that happened at Christmas really brought it into focus. So I thought I'd share my mind's meanderings on the subject.

I worked at a bank from the time we got married until a week before Kristen was born - she was early and it was making the bank officers very nervous that I was still there. That last week before I left, the bank was just in the throes of beginning to set up a word processing center. I had no idea what that meant, but I realized several years later that I had missed the beginning of the computer age, and I had to spend a lot of time catching up.

I was always looking at the job ads in the newspaper, hoping for the perfect job that would not interfere with my kids' lives and bring in a little cash - I did some at home work for awhile. I became a support staff sub for the school district, and had fun working at different jobs most every day. At one point, the district had a project that involved a significant amount of data input, and I got my feet wet on a computer with rote memorization of what to do when. Ironically, I worked myself out of a job, because the project involved tracking the number of hours and amount of money that was being spent on substitutes. They ended up dropping support staff subs for awhile.

As the kids got older, I found two part-time positions advertised that sounded like fun - one with the fire department, and one with the police department. I discovered that they needed someone who was computer literate. I argued that I was a fast learner, if they'd just take a chance on me and teach me as I went. I quickly discerned that there were many folks out there who could hit the ground running, so why would they want me?

My next move was a full time job in a middle school office, which allowed me to get the kids off to school, be home a short while after they got home, and gave me all the same vacations. I soon learned that I didn't enjoy working with that age group AT ALL, but I did have the opportunity to take a computer class as an employee perk. I remember so well the first night when I came home from the first class and said to Dwight, almost tearfully, "I graduated cum laude from college and can't understand a word that woman is saying!" I just wanted her to tell me what button to push, and step by step where to go from there - not about DOS or anything unnecessary to simple functionality. By the third week, we had arrived at word processing, which I loved, and was able to take off running and even help others who weren't "getting it."

Soon I decided that middle school and I (and especially the administration of this particular middle school) were not cut out for each other, so when the straw broke the camel's back, I resigned and went to 3 different temp agencies. I was amazed at how well I did on the "word processing" tests - my speed was shocking even to me. I had so much fun working at different places, including a 6 week stint at one place where I had lots of time to practice my new skills. Then I got an even longer term position, where I learned ever so much more - my supervisor there was a Word Perfect expert.

During that last temp position, I spent my lunch hour applying at Colorado State University. I had to take a morning off for the test which was a requirement for all state system positions. It wasn't long before I had my job there in the School of Social Work, which turned out to be a great place to spend 15 years (well, at least the first 10 were great, the last 5 I just kind of went with the flow). But the learning curve on this job was huge, and we all took many classes as new technology was foisted upon us on a too regular basis. In fact, it was this constant turmoil of technological "upgrading" that made me not unhappy to leave when I did - which we all know was God-inspired timing because of the upcoming situation with Kristen and the girls.

So for the last 3 1/2 years, I have been using a laptop and enjoying blogging with all of the learning curve there, then on to Facebook. I am still a long ways from technologically savvy, but I don't feel the need to join all the new stuff available. I don't even text, which I know qualifies me for the title of this post!

Which leads me to my Christmas gift. My sweet husband wanted to get me something very special. I had mentioned off and on that I might want to have a smart phone someday. Based on the most recent experience, I don't see that happening any time in the near future. He spent a lot of time at Best Buy with the young guys there who are so excited about all things technological. He bought me a beautiful I-pod Touch, along with the docking station and speakers. There was also a box full of funky little extra attachments that I had no idea what they were. There were also two very pretty, colorful rubber covers for the I-pod, so it wouldn't be a victim of my possible future clumsiness. This very nice device does everything that an I-phone can do, except be a phone. I thought it would be great fun. And it would - if I weren't so technologically challenged.

I read the puny directions they include these days - you're supposed to go on line and figure it all out that way. I am not good at directions. Not good at all. I had so many issues with trying to learn how to make use of this very expensive toy that it started to affect my whole day - I felt guilty, yet overwhelmed. Dwight, bless his sweet heart, finally realized what was happening and took it back yesterday - thankfully not too late to get a full refund. He handed me the wad of cash and said, "Have fun!" By the way, I do have a great little tiny I-pod Shuffle, which has hundreds of songs I've downloaded from my CDs, and has everything I need for the gym, to drown out the awful music they play. It's all I need!

So now I don't know what to get myself for Christmas. I don't want new clothes right now. I don't want anything with a learning curve. I've thought about a Kindle or a Nook, but fear the same would happen - I would regret the purchase. Any suggestions?

So I will just settle back and watch "Mary Tyler Moore" and "That Girl" - back before all this technology took over our lives.


Becky said...

I've thought many times that I'm glad I don't have to go back to work in an office. The technology has so far out-distanced me and I know I'd be a mess.

Linda said...

I can absolutely identify with all of this Dawn - except you have lots more experience than I. I wouldn't even know where to begin to look for a job. I am so unqualified.
Steve got me a Kindle for my birthday. I love it! It is really easy to use (and if I think it's easy - it really is). There are certainly books I would rather hold in my hands, but the availability of inexpensive - even free - books is just wonderful. I didn't get a Kindle Fire because I only really want to read books. I don't want to let myself get caught up in spending even more time in front of a screen on internet things.
Something I would love to get some day is a really good camera. Not in the budget right now, but perhaps some day.

Brenda said...

You sound like the type of learner I am. Just show me how to do it. I'm pretty techno-challenged myself. The other day my daughter had to figure out our new universal remote control. Crazy.
Then when I actually do 'get' something on my own I think I'm hot stuff until someone comes along and says 'well duh!' oh well.

Michelle P said...

Technology is both a blessing and a curse!

Amy said...

My mom won't touch anything electronic at all. She couldn't even learn how to use her new DVD player and I got her a digital photo frame for Christmas that even though I set it up beforehand, my cousin had to come show her how to turn it on.

I think you're doing great. The Ipod was probably foreign to you because you probably use a PC (windows based) laptop and the Ipod runs on the same operating system as a MAC. The 2 are totally different although Mac is much easier you use once you figure it out.

Enjoy whatever it is you find to buy!

(the kids could have probably shown you how to figure out the ipod. Whenever I can't figure something out- I just ask my kids)


I had to smile at this. Oh learning DOS was something that just blew me away, the command to even boot the computer was something that intrigued me. Tho, as you say, I am not savvy either, compared to all the younger kids these days, but I must admit, I am a fast learner...thing is, the way I learn [at my best] is just 'hands on'...I love experimenting and finding out and saying 'hey, I did it' ---when a 4 year old can do it blindfolded. Y'know? Now, if you ask me, I would much prefer the $ as a gift instead of your iPod. The chance to go shopping for myself would make me downright pleased as a pig in a mudhole!! LOL

Now, when it comes to Kindle or Nook, I would much rather have the feel of the book in my hands, and if this sounds odd, well, so be it.......but I LOVE the smell of books, new books, old books, treasures that you just don't get with the electronic devices. Talk about 'dinosaur'.

Okay, now my mentioned in your comment for me do you reply to a comment left for you via email. First off, you must have an email visible to all who comment. [I don't like emails so I don't do email comment responses]. But here is how you would do it ---

In Blogger - get into your dashboard, click on SETTINGS. Once that opens, click on COMMENTS then...scroll down all the way to find COMMENT EMAIL NOTIFICATION...fill in the email addy you want people to respond to you with.

Now, on the reverse side of all this, if you want to be notified of a response in the comments....there is a little button [box] under peoples comment form...that will show "notify me by email"...if you want to be emailed that someone responded to you on their will come thru to your email.

In order for YOU to respond by are the directions. [I]

Needled Mom said...

I can relate to this post, Dawn. I hate buying anything new anymore because it all comes with books of directions - or referral to a site to learn how to use it. Unless you are using it all of the time, it doesn't "stick" anyway. My almost 90 year old mom recently bought herself an I-pad and is loving it. Go figure!!!!!

Midlife Mom said...

I would highly recommend an Ipad! I love mine and it doesn't require a PHD to learn it otherwise I wouldn't be able to. You can do your e-mails and your blog right from it and I would suppose FB but I just haven't tried that yet as I don't do FB very often. I take in on trips so that I can keep up with my mail and blog reading and it's small enough to fit into my fairly large purse. My grand kids love it as they have put all kinds of games onto it. You can also Skype and all kinds of things. You can get books from Amazon and use it like a Kindle or Nook. You are a smart gal and I know you could learn this very easily.

I didn't take your last post as a whine. You have a lot on your plate and sometimes it can become a bit overwhelming and that's what your blogging buddies are for, to let each other vent!

Sammy said...

Dawn! I'm younger than you and I feel the exact same way! I hate learning new technology and am embarrassingly bad at all of it. I'm terrified of smart phones and have explicitly told everyone to never get me one. My brother in law is an engineer for Apple and he always asks if we want the latest toy. I always say no! When i-pods came out he gave me one and guess what? It's still unused! Seriously!

That said, Nghia bought me a kindle for Hanukkah this year. I was shocked and surprised and actually said, "Why would you get me this?" He said, "I think this is something you will really like." And guess what? I really do! It didn't take me long to figure out, and now I love it! And if it didn't take ME long to figure out, that means that literally ANYONE can figure it out. You really might like it!

Fun post! Sorry for my ramblings! I'm just so glad I'm not the only one who rejects new technology!

Sharon Lynne said...

I rarely laugh as I'm reading a post, but the thought of Dwight handing you back the wad of cash, "Have Fun!" gave me the laugh I needed for the day.

I'm the same way. I don't like reading directions, and I'm not up-to-date on tech stuff. It's just coming out too fast! There's not enough time to learn one thing...when another thing comes out. The world is moving too fast.

I prayed for Kevin's traveling situation. The computer went down, right when I was going to post on facebook to tell you so.

And then it went down again, last week, just before I was going to comment on your previous post!

I'm thinking about you tonight, and am sending a prayer up.

Sharon Lynne said...

Oh! I LOVE the picture of the girls. I'm glad the photo session went well. That picture will be a treasure!

Gigi said...

Definitely a KINDLE!!! And then you can come to my Kindle Lovers forum and we'll give you ALL the help you need! Promise!!