When I took a career break to have a family, good old mail-merge was king, I was competent with excel and would have confidently put on my CV that I was fully computer literate.
Fast forward 7 years to when I returned to work, computers and the working world seemed like a different place. Excel had changed and was suddenly so much more complicated, no one did mail merge and actually posted letters out anymore, smartphones had arrived and “tech” had really moved on. I found myself feeling a bit of an office novice, struggling to navigate around the new versions of work and excel, let alone understanding all the new terms which were commonplace. SEO, PPC, Solus, API.
How to upskill
So, do I put my hand up and ask them what they are talking about or go home and look it up on google? To be honest I did a fair bit of both. TheGivingMachine is a very welcoming and inclusive place so it was (relatively) easy to say when you didn’t understand something, which really helped to reduce the stress of returning to work.
Uploading data to the website used to bring me out in a cold sweat when I first started with the charity. I asked the lady that was training me what would happen if I did it wrong “Oh everything on the site will break”. My cold sweat turned into full on panic until she let out a chuckle and said “Then we just undo it – it’ll be fine”.
All new systems and programs can seem scary when you log in for the first time but, as developers really focus on the user experience, they are normally intuitive and if you dig around you can usually work out how to do something. And if you do get stuck, a quick search on Google normally finds a short how to video or guide. There are also a lot of free online course available and I found doing a few of them really useful in helping to restore my confidence.
Embracing the changes
New technology is designed to make our lives easier, from Slack making communicating with work colleagues quicker and easier than via email, your Apple watch timer vibrating to let you know you are 9 minutes into a presentation that should not be longer than 10 minutes, saving things to drive rather than to a disc. Image creation used to be solely the domain of graphic designers on their AppleMac but now there are so many apps and programs which make it so easy to create content, images and videos. And much to my delight you can’t seem to break any of them. Save things as you go along, scrap it and start again, or use the trusted undo button. Embrace it and give it a go.
After a few years back in the workplace, and a few online courses later, I would say I can once again describe myself as “fully computer literate” – to say I am tech savvy maybe stretching it a little but I’m working on it.