Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Internet and its End Users and Knowing the Fights

I met with my former boss for lunch today, to catch up on things. We were talking about our next steps since we've both left our mark at the former organization, and I was talking about my current job and what I'd like to do. Ideally, I could find a job that incorporates my technical skills with my soft skills. Something in "training" would be ideal. Lately some opportunities have been opening up and I'm hoping something good pans out so I can escape my curren sweat-shop-meets-prison work environment.

The current job involves a lot of callers who really have no idea how to operate a simple website. Many companies these days require that you do certain human resources functions online, like sign up for your benefits or report your sick days. You know you have a long call ahead of you when you ask "Are you using a Mac?" and the answer is "I have no idea." For example. It's a damn shame. Don't even get me started on trying to define and explain web browsers and why they need to be using one instead of another. I am definitely not a developer or a computer programmer, but I thank my lucky stars that I kind of have an intuition about technology and some good skills with operating such. Life would be more difficult if I did not, and these days, if you ask me, having and using internet access is akin to needing to have and knowing how to use a fucking telephone.

I'm of the age that I remember a time when there was no internet. I'm fortunate to have grown up in a time that saw the introduction of the home computer and its development up to this point, alongside email, the internet, and other technologies such as smart phones (which I have never owned but think I could manage to figure out if I did get my hands on one).

For the callers, though, I just wonder how you can possibly be born after 1980 and not know the difference between the address bar and the search box. Or how you have made it through life this far without understanding a registration and login process. The older you are, the more sympathy I have for you.

The older callers, in their fifties and sixties, who just don't get it and need a literal step by step walk through, are usually very nice and so grateful that someone is helping them figure it out.

I look at them and think about myself, and how I keep up with technology, and what's new, and what's the next big thing. I really hope that there does not come a time when I fall out of the loop, the next important consumer technology comes out, and I have to ask my friend's kids how the fuck to use it. Or to do things on it for me.

Strangely, World of Warcraft can make me feel like this which is why I abandoned Azeroth. Enough with fifteen year olds yelling at me over a Ventrilo connection because I "don't know the fights".

1 comment:

K. said...

When we get new employees, I have a computer skills survey that I give them to get a feel for where they're at on the technological ability scale. I tried to have it online and that proved to be too difficult for some. So now it's paper-based. This hurts my brain, but I understand why some need it on paper.

I don't understand how those who are out of high school less than five years have no computer skills, though. I thought it was part of the curriculum?

Hope the job situation gets easier to bear for you.