Last night I got a phone call from my dad asking me how to load his iPhone with music from iTunes. This would’ve been an okay request, if I wasn’t already asleep and if I hadn’t been working that evening on work-related stuff (i.e., “pleasant” would have been an antonym of my mood). It also would’ve been a-okay request if he purchased his iPhone recently…but he’s had it for over a year. Or maybe he’s never used iTunes before? Wrong again. He purchased a shuffle THREE YEARS AGO and is very familiar with the system. Or wait. No, I know what it is! He’s one of those self-proclaimed computer “illiterate” and doesn’t “get along with technology”? Incorrecto. He purchased a black-and-white laptop when I was 4 years old…meaning, he was ahead of the curve (gosh I loved Math Blaster!)
Yesterday I was at a conference about childhood obesity. Out of the 5 presenters, three stated at the beginning of their Powerpoint presentations that they were “technologically challenged” and therefore needed help finding out how to start the Powerpoint. Start it. Like, how to begin the presentation. Initiate the ppt.
Now, I’m all for helping people with technology, being patient (patience, baby boomer grasshopper!) with the student, etc. I realize baby boomers did not grow up with computers like I did and did not have a Microsoft Office class in college. And I realize, yes, that there are people from Gen Y who don’t “work well” with computers.
But there is a tipping point. If these baby boomers can’t keep up with basic technology like Word and Ppt, how can they even function in the office? If those presenters I saw were at a sales meeting…BOOM! customers lost. People expect you to know how to use Office. It’s not even on resumes anymore because it’s just implied that you know how to use it. It’s sink or swim baby.
So let’s teach a (wo)man to fish here. Go to a continuing ed class. Get your unemployed college student to show you how to use these “dern computers that have a mind of their own.” But don’t expect to stay afloat in the rapidly developing work world if you don’t know that F5 STARTS THE POWERPOINT EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.