Accepting New Methods in the Digital World

Integrating old obsolete office skills with the new high tech world is continually being done today.

If we take a step back in time to 1965 when we had secretarial pools typing stacks of paper and contracts from legal documents to publishing books trying to meet deadlines from their bosses. We had information delivered in a different process that wasn’t the most efficient or accurate. Proofreaders would find numerous typographical errors and the page would need to be re-typed until it was perfect. White out wasn’t invented yet so the typist would need to re-type the entire page causing frustrations, of course smoking was allowed in the work place; this was a stress reliever for most and an irritant for a few. Memos, calendar planners, adding machines, note pads, inboxes, and answering machines were used on a daily basis. Our concept of email was just a vision in a geek's mind. Most businessmen had several secretaries, receptionists and accountants on staff to keep them organized.

Through all these frustration and delays, we’ve journeyed to faster, more efficient word processing programs, accounting and digital databases. The countless hours of software engineers developing and creating some of the best programs we have today has made all of our jobs pleasantly efficient. We’re able to take on more responsibilities and workloads by not having to worry about the minor details of administration. We need to remind ourselves where would we be today without the Internet and all the new software programs we currently have? Back in the early 90’s, my friend said to me, “Have you heard of the new www?” I said does it have anything to do with World Wide Wrestling, she laughed and said, “No it’s a new way of communicating through the Internet.” This was a magical experience to send someone electronic mail. My boss insisted that we only communicate this way. I was ready to embrace change riding the technology wave of the 90’s. Goodbye old DOS programs and bright green words on a black screen that gave me headaches. The tasks that took hours were completed in a few seconds, allowing companies to grow with less overhead costs. I wasn’t a geek but I enjoyed being the end user.

Being flexible and open to new ideas and techniques is key in surviving in a high tech world. We need not fear new ideas and technology, for they are flourishing into something bigger, better and faster to make our lives easier. At a previous job my co- workers insisted on sticking with familiar programs not wanting to switch to new programs. Many worried about their current job being jeopardized by a computer, making their skills obsolete. The managers didn’t want to spend time re-training their employees or buying expensive software. They didn’t realize that using old techniques actually slowed them down considerably making it difficult to complete projects on time especially when interacting with new customers that were using newer versions of software. The customers with the newer software would get frustrated and would have to send their documents as pdfs. This would cause the administrative assistant to re-type the project, which was time consuming for everyone involved, causing more overhead.

I think we should always evaluate how much technology and software we really need and then weigh our options - how we could benefit from using something more efficient that saves time and paper. Inspiring people to see a better future and how they'll be a part of it is key. As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organization's goals, truly enjoy what they're doing and (of course) know they'll share in the rewards. We realize that success is only possible if employees and organization embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.

Susan Rosso, Director of Administration

Susan Rosso is a former 8th Light employee.

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