In the past, non-digital natives, aka those of us who grew up without technology, might have consciously decided to skate through the final chapters of our career without fully embracing the new communications technologies.
Not so anymore. Working from home to stay safe and protect ourselves and others demands that we use technology. Furthermore, with the economic fallout of the pandemic, we’ll likely be working until we’re 100. Technology will only grow.
And it’s not always easy.
Here are some of the emotions you may experience on the roller coaster of learning a new communications technology tool:
I don’t need it. That’s a waste of time. No one will use it.
Sometimes that’s true. Particularly if a platform doesn’t serve a strategic end in real life. And sometimes if you wait, it gets easier. If you missed out on iTunes or any number of ways to listen to music or podcasts, now (albeit 14 years later for iTunes, 6 for podcasts) there’s Spotify.
Maybe LinkedIn didn’t matter a year ago because you weren’t looking for a job or weren’t in sales. Suddenly the entire economy crashed, and you need to build a network, fast. At some point you just decide “I can’t avoid it any longer.”
With that comes…
“I’m smart. I can do it!” you think. You remember how much fun it is to learn something new. You imagine spending a few hours, even half a day, doing online tutorials. After all, “If all of these other people get it, you can too!”
Then the tutorial says, “select edit under settings” and you can’t find the settings button. Or you spend 3+ hours setting up your account and profile and suddenly it’s gone! Disappeared. No trace. That leads to…
The few hours you set aside for learning have grown into full days. You’ve taken an online course. At some point you will think of Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own. “There’s no crying in baseball!” You sit at your desk, a grown-up professional businessperson, in tears. Why did they make it so hard?
You close your computer and walk away, beginning the next stage…
Who needs this anyway? Certainly not me. Do people even watch videos these days? This is calming for several days, until you come across a situation that requires said technology. You go back and think through the parts you understood, where you got stuck. You Google “where’s the settings button on Facebook?” It auto-fills as you type, reassuring you that it wasn’t you. No one could find it!
With renewed gusto and determination, you return and finally find…
Ever since you searched “how to run a Zoom webinar (or Facebook Ad Campaign or YouTube Premier, etc.)” you’ve been seeing ads for help. Finally one pops-up that makes sense to you, and voilà…Success! “Was that a green check mark? It worked! I’m taking a screenshot of this! Mensa, I’ll be waiting for the arrival of my invitation letter. Now let’s see what else I can do!”
Sound familiar? Just start somewhere.
The next time you find yourself needing to learn a new technology, take comfort in the fact that you WILL learn one day.