Dear J.T. & Dale: The company I work for was purchased by a large corporation. They recently implemented new computer-based documentation. We all received training and were expected to be up and running within a week. Well, I’m not the most computer-savvy person, and I was recently informed that my performance is not up to the new standards. I have to assume I’ll never get proficient. So, before getting fired, I’m thinking of trying to find a new job. However, I fear all jobs like mine are headed the way of the computer. Should I find a new job? Further more, what will potential employers think about me leaving a company after 15-plus years? – Janet
J.T.: Before you throw away a perfectly good job, I hope you’ll try to salvage the situation. After all, you’re right to worry that new jobs will likewise require computer proficiency.
DALE: Janet, Janet, Janet… this is about more than just keeping a job. People who refuse to embrace computers are missing out on an important part of what’s best about modern culture. Even a few years ago, it was common to hear older professionals proclaim anti-technology sentiments with comments like, “I don’t do e-mail.” Many said this dismissively, as if saying, “I don’t do paintballing.” Now it’s just sad, like hearing someone say, “I never learned to drive.” This isn’t something you can dismiss, like refusing an invitation to the circus because you have a fear of clowns. You need to do this. You CAN do this. Whoever led your training class assumed a certain level of knowledge, a level you hadn’t achieved, and so you never caught on or up.
J.T.: Given all your company knowledge and experience, it would be a shame if they lost you. So, approach them with the idea that you are going to master the new technology to become an exceptionally valuable employee. Because your company is monitoring your performance level, they might help you identify what is slowing you down. There probably is some online training you could take that would help you get up to speed. Remember, though: If you have it in your head you’ll never get there, it will become your reality.
DALE: It’s possible that the acquiring company will prove unwilling to devote much effort to your remedial training. We’ve reached the point where being computer-illiterate is the same as being illiterate-illiterate – some companies may be willing to teach an employee to read, but others aren’t.
So, don’t count on the company. Find a friend or neighbor to tutor you, and sign up for a class at your local library. If you don’t want to buy a computer, spend time using the ones at the library. Once you experience the glories of Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube, you’ll find you can learn just about anything online, including how to love the computer, and then there’ll be no stopping you.
© 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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