Wednesday, January 14, 2015
I know I have been out of the loop for a while, raising my kids but, when did technology completely pass me by?
When I left the workforce in 1999 to stay home with my two little ones, technology – at least social media, was in its infancy. I didn’t own a smartphone, I didn’t surf the internet, and I didn’t have a Myspace page. If fact, as a teacher, I still had a real, paper grade book and used a calculator to figure out grades. Jump forward almost sixteen years, and I feel like I have woken up and emerged from my cave and am completely overwhelmed!
When I was young(er), I embraced technology. I remember when my dad brought home our first VCR (video cassette recorder for you young ones), and I was the one who learned how to work it and became the resident expert. I was the one who brought home the first computer; an Apple IIc (portable but still like carrying a cinder block), which I thought was such an incredible advancement in modern technology. I learned how to work it, like every new technology that came out for years after. But, once my kids were born, it’s like I went into technology hibernation.
When did this new technology begin to smack me in the face? I think it was when my son started high school (four years ago), and I went to the back to school orientation. All the students were to have iPads, and many of the tasks that were done on paper were now going to be transferred to this new, handy-dandy electronic thingamajig. Then they gave us a website to check our kid’s grades, another website for supplemental materials, another website for turning in homework, etc. In addition, each teacher had his/her own website and so on. The kids seemed to take it in stride, flourished in fact, but I flailed like a whale without a tail – I wasn’t getting anywhere, and I was sure to drown.
Then, a couple of years ago, my husband started his own company. Because he was working full time at another company while working on the start-up phase of the new one, I was appointed the CEO as well as the Corporate Secretary. It wasn’t a big deal; all I had to do was open a bank account, write some checks and sign some non-disclosure agreements – easy peasy. But, as the company grew, I had to step into the real corporate world, and I was completely out of my comfort zone. I had to learn Quickbooks to keep the finances in line. My husband would ask me for reports using terminology I had never heard of and asked me to put it into Google docs – huh, what?! That was the first time I had a work related melt-down. “I don’t know what the hell you’re asking me to do!” I yelled at him. While he stayed in the workforce and kept up with the latest lingo and technology, I was still, very much, stuck in a different time. I felt utterly inadequate and extremely disappointed in myself for not staying in touch with the ever-expanding world.
Let’s top all of this off with the beginning of this year, when my sister-in-law and I went to the coffee shop to get started on our blog. We both struggled with how to set up our blog, not being able to figure out how we could both be on the account and be administrators. It took many deep breaths, sighs and “how could this be so hard?” comments before we finally figured it out. Unfortunately, it took us too long to work out the basics (since we are the blind leading the blind) and had to postpone our launch. Last Friday we made plans to video chat to get this blog published, but couldn’t figure out how to get my computer webcam working (because I never use it) and then, how we can both access and edit our blog at the same time. It was like we were walking down a rocky path and tripped every few steps. Maybe, with each step, the path will get smoother before I break my neck!
Now, I try to educate myself on what’s new but I still can’t keep up. I still don’t get the whole hashtag thing. I’ve attempted to understand it, and my kids and husband have tried to teach me, but I don’t see the point. My kids get impatient with me, grabbing my phone out of my hand or taking control of my computer because I don’t know how to do something. They find it’s easier just to do it for me than to tell me how. I have a Facebook page, but I don’t know how to use a lot of its features. I also have a Twitter and a Tumbler account, but I don’t use those much – it’s just another thing to keep track of. So I wonder…do I really not understand this stuff or is it that I just don’t care to? I think it’s a little of both really. While I would prefer a more simple way of doing things, I know that if I want to survive in this big, confusing world of technology, I’m going to have to step up to the plate and swing. I just need to figure out where to start – is there a class to teach us how to look like we know what we are doing? Hmmm, maybe I should just play with hashtags and see where it takes me.
But seriously, if there is one bit of advice I can give to the young moms and dads of today who find themselves at home, loaded down by dirty diapers, meal prep, and endless errands, it’s this: Never lose touch of the outside world. Take the time to keep yourself updated on the latest of things. If you have put your career on hold to raise your kids, find time to hone your skills and stay in contact with those in your field. It’s easy to lose touch of these things and trust me, time will fly by faster than a game of Candy Crush. So #keepitup, #stayeducated, #itsreallife, #IamsureIdidallthesehashtagswrongbutohwell.
How do you keep up in today’s technology surge? What advice can you give to the young and old? Feel free to comment! #helpusall.