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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Technology: Friend, Foe, Fabulous...or just plain Frustrating?

I know there are more of you out there like me who have surrendered to the technology age and way of life, but sometimes just feel like throwing your hands up in the air when something goes wrong.

My mom called me yesterday irritated that her wireless keyboard for the Mac wasn't working, even with brand new batteries in it. Her cell phone was also flashing and she was told she had to do a software upgrade. My husband got on the phone with her and simply told her to go to the website, download the upgrade, something about a patch, blah blah blah. I know that if I don't know what he's talking about, my mom certainly isn't going to have a clue. I have to commend the baby boomer age for embracing all the changes in technology that are thrown their way. Really when you think about it, we don't have much of a choice.

I made the mistake of telling the Partners of an accounting firm I worked at for two years about my one month stint working for RIM. I lasted there for one month for a reason. When I first started, I was given six Blackberries for the multiple carriers and models of phones. In the first few weeks I worked there, I was not only expected to create a 200 slide powerpoint presentation, but I was to present it to a crew of Rogers staff and the RIM training team. As I practiced delivering the presentation to my husband and slew of stuffed animals, I noticed a glazed over look in his eye and I knew I was in the wrong field. After all, I'm quite certain that even the youngest Rogers employee would know more about what I was talking about than I did myself.

One senior Partner asked me to upgrade her Blackberry. The disclaimer I announced was that I did not know what I was doing. We had no I.T. people onsite and I spent four hours on the phone with our outsourced remote I.T support person. This woman I worked for was feared by so many. She grew up in a military background and treated her staff as such. I had the joy of being her Assistant and although in time, I won her over, you certainly didn't want to get on her bad side.

She passed me in the hallway and asked me how the Blackberry upgrade was going, and then she posed a question to me that made me stop dead in my tracks: "You backed everything up right?" Silence. I looked at her and confidently remarked "Obviously."

I walked away, knees weak and a lump in my throat. I didn't remember backing anything up. I had to finally go to her and admit that I didn't think I conducted the back-up when configuring the installation. If looks could kill, I would have been dead on the floor that very moment. Her face went red and veins coming out of her face and told me that I better have backed it up because all her passwords and everything personal was on the phone that would not have been automatically backed up by our server. I spent the next four hours trying to figure out how to get everything back and to my delight and relief, I had clicked a button on the installation process that said "Backup". It was a win/win situation as my boss thought I was just fabulous after that, but then the other Partner I supported also wanted me to upgrade her phone. It was Thanksgiving weekend and the office staff was due to be let out at 1pm. By 1:30 pm I was still on the phone with our I.T. guy as he remotely upgraded the phone and the Partner was yelling at me that she wanted to get going to her cottage and she needed her phone. I was just as frustrated as the last thing I wanted to do on Thanksgiving was to sit in the office with someone over my shoulder and muddle through something that was already time consuming, but equally frustrating as I didn't know what I was doing.

I have always been the go-to person in a smaller office setting. It's not as if I know anything more than the next person but I am resourceful and will find the answer if given the time to do so. The problem is, sometimes I really don't want to know the answer. Is that wrong? For example, our photocopier and printer would jam on a daily basis. When you're working in an accounting firm that operates in a predominently paper environment, this is a big deal. I was told in my interview that my predecessor quit on her lunch break because of the photo copier breaking down. We had a chuckle and I started the job. On my first day, the printers broke down. Everyone was complaining and yelling and coming to me. I could understand why the person went for lunch and never returned.

The Blackberry issue never went away. Instead, now all Partners and Managers of the firm were given one. I knew if the word got out that I used to work for RIM, I would now be the go-to person for all their phones. I called Rogers and asked if they had any type of support for businesses who are operating on the BES system (Business Enterprise). They informed me that training was usually conducted for groups of 50 people or more. I arranged for a meeting with a local contractor called "Just fix it."

This name I thought was genius. How many times do representatives for your local service provider try and walk you through why your phone won't work? The Canon representative who used to come in and fix the photocopier would literally take an hour of my already jam packed day explaining what went wrong and what each component was used for as in my head I was thinking to myself..."I don't care, just fix it."

For all you I.T. wizards out there, there is a niche market for your expertise and patience. People need you like they need a mechanic, lawyer or doctor; specifically the older generation who were not born into technology. I consider myself to be bright and resourceful and I can usually find the answer with a little patience and a whole lot of perseverence but you can rest assured there are also a whole lot of curse words thrown in there as well.

These companies who sell such complicated and complex products really need to supply the consumer with a support aspect. These smart phones and computer systems are the way of the world, however if you don't speak tech speak, you really don't have a chance. My mom asked me yesterday, doesn't anyone speak English anymore?

I'm going through the same thing with our Mac, camera and photo editing software. I have figured out what to do to get by, but I'm sure there are ways to be more efficient and bypass time with shortcuts. I'm self taught in mostly everything I know and spend a lot of time reading, looking at tutorials and absorbing but the problem is, just when you get a grasp on something, things change again.

So often, a button on one of our five remote controls is accidentally hit or I've done something on the computer and can't figure out for the life of me what I've done or how to get it back. I spend hours perplexed on what just happened and in the meantime, I think I make things worse by hitting every button under the sun. The last time I did that, I erased every photo on my camera.

For the love of God....just fix it!

1 comment:

xxxub40 said...

LOL I hate technology. Well, no, let me rephrase...I hate cell phones. I dislike the rest of it. I'm lucky to live with an IT guy so when a problem comes up ... "Aaaaadddammmmm" in a whiny tone but if he's not home at the time, it's more like "FOR F*** SAKE I F***ING HATE THIS S*** WHY DID YOU LEAVE ADAM? LOOK WHAT HAPPENED AND I CAN'T FIX IT AND I'M GONNA SNAP. I SWEAR TO GOD I'M GONNA SNAP AND THROW THIS S*** OUT" that's my typical reaction to him walking in the door if I tried to fix something and it didn't work.

Computers frustrate me to my wits ends. I hate having sixteen remote controls and trying to dissect the camera tutorials/instruction guides to figure it out can be really aggravating but ... can't live without it :)