Co-workers who lack basic computer skills (vent)

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Posted 8/22/2012 by MergeLeft in NSBR Board
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MergeLeft
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Posted: 8/22/2012 3:33:35 PM
I have a couple of ladies on my "team" of teachers who lack even the simplest computer skills. It seems to me that in 2012 it shouldn't be too much to ask a co-worker to type a list of names into Excel. But one co-worker can't even find Excel on her computer and the other says she doesn't know how to use it and doesn't care to learn at this stage in the game. These women are a bit over 50, so from a generation that didn't grow up with technology, but dangit, my mom was older still and knew how to use Microsoft Office applications in a basic way.

It's frustrating because it creates more work for me. When our team has to turn in any information in a spreadsheet, which happens fairly frequently, I have to be the one who puts it all together and turns it in.

Just a vent, I guess. No one is asking them to create complex spreadsheets with pivot tables and fancy formulas. We just need lists of student names. Good grief.



needmysanity
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Posted: 8/22/2012 3:37:25 PM
You should come hang out at my work one day!!!

I work with 5 women and they all think computers are the devil. They still use typewriters, green ledger pads and write everything triplicate. I was hired to bring technology into the office and it's been the hardest most frustrting thing I have ever done.

I so feel for you - I know what it's like when they just stare blankly at you.


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aprilfay21
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Posted: 8/22/2012 3:41:01 PM
I work for an IT company and my boss, until recently didn't know how to minimize all apps at once, alphabetize spreadsheet workbooks, edit hyperlinks, or edit her signature in Outlook, among other things. All of those things seem like the bare basics to me.




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redshoes73
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Posted: 8/22/2012 3:43:02 PM
Are you their supervisor? If not, can you bring the issue to your supervisor, asking for them to receive some basic Excel/Word/computer skills training? There are probably many on-line resources vs classroom setting (granted, someone probably needs to help them access the on-line instruction, LOL!). I would definitely be frustrated in your situation as well.

maryannscraps
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Posted: 8/22/2012 3:44:16 PM
Really? I'm pretty amazed that employers allow that to happen. I would think that staying current with technology is part of the job description. How do they handle all the technology that's being used in teaching -- whiteboards, software, simulations, that sort of thing?

This coming from a 50+ year old. I've had to learn about gantry robots, cryosamples, and community health center reporting just this week. That's the favorite part of my work.

MergeLeft
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Posted: 8/22/2012 3:48:28 PM
I'm a teacher and they're colleagues. They also have way more experience and political clout here than I do, so no, I won't be saying anything about it to anyone above us.

The thing is, they do pretty well with other technology. They have no problem with the internet. They use iPhones. They know how to use their Smart Boards at least as well as I do (and that's pretty well). Microsoft Office is just not something they bothered to learn much about, whereas I spent several years doing administrative work and had to learn to use those applications at a high level.



strawberryfairy
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Posted: 8/22/2012 3:51:04 PM
Did they need to know Excel as part of their job in the past? I'm 40 years old and worked in the real estate industry for 20 years. I wouldn't know how to create a spreadsheet in Excel if you asked me. I do know how to create a table in the program that my personal laptop came with, though.

Why don't I know more Excel you might ask? Because I never needed to. All of the programs I used as a loan officer (other than Word) were all specific to the mortgage industry. They were programs to run credit, input loan applications, and run applications through an underwriting system. There were people in admin who did use Excel as part of their jobs. It just wasn't a program us loan officers utilized as part of our day-to-day work.



thatgirlintexas
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Posted: 8/22/2012 3:51:38 PM
And that is why I'm glad I work where I do. They wouldn't last very long where I work with out having basic computer skills. Most of the work I do involves Excel.


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Sharna_G
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Posted: 8/22/2012 3:51:51 PM

didn't know how to minimize all apps at once,


Um... Neither do I. Well, I can do it on my Mac, but not on a PC.


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Pam in Iowa
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Posted: 8/22/2012 3:53:54 PM
Merge, I have never met a more computer illiterate group of people than the ones that work at the building where my kids went to Elementary. The Kdg classes used computers every day and his teacher always had to ask my son for help...

Pam in Iowa
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Posted: 8/22/2012 3:53:57 PM
Merge, I have never met a more computer illiterate group of people than the ones that work at the building where my kids went to Elementary. The Kdg classes used computers every day and his teacher always had to ask my son for help...

eta: she was my age or younger

KathrynPea
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Posted: 8/22/2012 3:56:17 PM
I have had this problem from my older workers. I have sent them to classes. There seems to be a resistence from a majority of them. The only thing I can do as their boss is to make sure that their work performance standards are clear. Once clear and training offered they hop aboard the progressive discipline train. This has forced a great many to retire. It is sad because a person can learn anything as long as it is broken down in small enough pieces. What I have seen is a fear of learning something new and an unwillingness along with the attitude that they have given x amount of years and they are entitled to be put out to pasture and contribute what they are willing to contribute. It is funny how people think that the entitlement attitude is an attitude of youth.

I am 46 and didn't grow up with computers. I have taken it upon myself to educate myself. I am aware that I am responsible to keep my skill set sharp and adapt to changes in the workplace. You can rest assured I will stay relevent. There are so many free opportunities to learn things if one will just apply oneself.

I am sorry you are having to deal with that. Introduce them to google and youtube.

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Posted: 8/22/2012 3:59:20 PM
I can almost beat those..our secratary has NO computer skills at ALL. She barely knows how to reply to emails. Yea..so if you want her to do something..yea..aint gonna happen. She finally got moved to another dept, and only works for us 1 hr..and it's barely worth it. She used to be the "pet" of the ex-boss, so that's why we figured she's still here.






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Posted: 8/22/2012 4:05:34 PM
I'm "a bit over 50" - 53 to be exact - "from a generation that didn't grow up with technology" & I consider myself to be extremely tech savy. I can run circles around most people in excel, powerpoint and most other computer applications.

I can hook up a computer, DVR & any wireless network. I can hot sync my Kindle, ipod, ipad & iphone. I set up my internet radios & my son's Xbox & Play Station thank you very much.

These women are just plain lazy & closed minded.

I evolved with technology starting with my first Beta VCR ,
Atari & Tandy computer - I dug in & taught myself plain & simple.

Please don't lump all us "old fogeys" together.

I-95
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Posted: 8/22/2012 4:16:08 PM
I do think there's a disconnect between SOME folks who didn't grow up with technology, but there's an awful lot of us who are positively geeky when it comes to techno toys.

It's interesting because EXCEL is not that hard to work with. It can get complicated, but for most things it's not that hard to work with. I don't use it very often, and sometimes have to stop and think what goes where, but for basic spreadsheets, it ain't hard.

amom23
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Posted: 8/22/2012 4:23:02 PM
It seems in today's world you really need to embrace and keep up with changing technology regardless of age.


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Posted: 8/22/2012 4:35:07 PM
I'm taking an Excel class this fall to learn the ins and outs of it. I know the basics, but there is hardly any office related job out there now that doesn't require it.



Fraidyscrapper
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Posted: 8/22/2012 4:45:01 PM
Merge, I can't tell you.

I can't tell you how many times I think that ish should be in some teachers' PIP and then written in their evaluation. It's BULL DINKEY.

First, this is the damn JOB. I don't care WHAT the job was when you started here in 1972, that's really irrelevant. This isn't something new, you've had a few years.

Second, I am tired of all my PD time being wasted because the trainers have to teach these four yokels how the hell to LOG ON.

And finally, how in the SAM HILL are you going to model being a life-long learner when you dig your heels in and refuse.

Not for anything fancy. Not data analysis, or creating a powerpoint. For working on a Word document so your crap looks decent and professional. And not from 1972. Which it probably is. You idiot.





Sorry. Apparently I have strong feelings about this topic. I blame Merge for bringing it up.

Pridemom
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Posted: 8/22/2012 4:45:25 PM
I have a lot of computer skills, love my smart phone, and am the go-to person for basic tech for my colleagues. But, Excel is the program I don't use. I can export Excel lists into Word, though. Lol




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Posted: 8/22/2012 4:54:27 PM

I work with 5 women and they all think computers are the devil. They still use typewriters, green ledger pads and write everything triplicate.


I can't even imagine *wanting* to stick with that. Good luck with that job, Steph (and I mean it!).

I think the biggest problem isn't that they don't know Excel it's that they aren't even attempting to learn it. That's what is creating more work for you and they are doing it willfully. I really don't want to get to the point where I want to stop learning about technology. I love all of the new (or old like Excel) stuff.




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peapermint
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Posted: 8/22/2012 4:57:46 PM
I hate Excel and for a list of student names I'd try to get away with making a table in Word.


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peapermint
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Posted: 8/22/2012 5:01:25 PM
I wonder if they think it's "clerical work" and that they are somehow above it?


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mumzcuddles
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Posted: 8/22/2012 5:05:27 PM

They know how to use their Smart Boards at least as well as I do (and that's pretty well). Microsoft Office is just not something they bothered to learn much about, whereas I spent several years doing administrative work and had to learn to use those applications at a high level.


If they can use that technology then they could learn to use Excel, but maybe they are just using their clout to get away with not doing something that they probably had to do before you turned up. Lets face it some people will wriggle out of doing anything other than drinking tea and gossiping at work if they thought they could get away with it

Princess Pea
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Posted: 8/22/2012 5:33:33 PM
I teach and I don't know much about Excel. I haven't needed to learn. I am more savy in Word than my husband who is a computer programmer. He rarely uses Word, so he doesn't have a need to know much about it.

I just recently learned to text. That's about all I can do on my smart phone.

OTHO: I can teach a first grader to read. I think that tops being able to use Excel.

I agree that you need some computer skills, but maybe using Excel isn't as vital as you think...especially to a classroom teacher. Myself, I'm too busy learning how to integrate other technology into my classroom (ipads) to slow down long enough to learn Excel. If it were an office job, maybe, but teaching is a whole different profession.


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maryannscraps
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Posted: 8/22/2012 5:40:58 PM

They know how to use their Smart Boards at least as well as I do (and that's pretty well). Microsoft Office is just not something they bothered to learn much about, whereas I spent several years doing administrative work and had to learn to use those applications at a high level.
Really. Then I change my answer. Email them a link to a 5 minute Excel tutorial. That's about as long as it takes to learn how to make a list of names. You don't need to know much about the program to be able to make a simple chart. A Word table would work, too.

babybeansmom

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Posted: 8/22/2012 5:50:44 PM
Can you maybe take time to do it during a team meeting to show them?

I'm not great at excel but can do a basic spreadsheet (and if I can't I know who to ask for help). It's one thing I need to really learn better this year.

I'm lucky that all the teachers in my house at school are great with technology!

WillowJane
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Posted: 8/22/2012 6:07:59 PM
Sounds like a good excuse to cater in lunch during an in-service day.



nanett
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Posted: 8/22/2012 6:11:33 PM
I'm in the same position. I'm the big techie one out of the four teachers in my pod. They don't really 'do' technology and mostly don't try. And truthfully, when they do, it's frustrating to me because it's quicker if I just do it rather than teach them and I've learned they will not remember what we did next time anyway.

On the plus side...they 'pay' me in starbucks, chocolate, wine and lunches on teacher planning days.

Overall, I like doing the techie stuff, they are appreciative, and I get a treat every so often. Not a terrible deal...

momof1child
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Posted: 8/22/2012 6:18:23 PM

I evolved with technology starting with my first Beta VCR ,
Atari & Tandy computer - I dug in & taught myself plain & simple.

Please don't lump all us "old fogeys" together.


I learned 'fortran' and 'cobalt' in Grade 13. Thank goodness that the University of Waterloo was 1/2 hour away so our school had a quick turn-over time of 2-3 days, rather than a week+ for other schools further away.

At least for me, when the hydro shuts down, I still have a typewritter that can be used in an emergency (old-style, no power cord) and realise that I can live without all the techy stuff.

littlewing916
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Posted: 8/22/2012 6:20:12 PM
Amen sistah!!! I'm the one that always gets stuck with the computer projects.
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Posted: 8/22/2012 6:26:02 PM
Can I add "lack any common sense whatsoever" to your list?

Our controller clicked on the link in a spam email earlier this week. Then her computer went south on her. She comes to me saying it won't connect to the network and it was only after I messed with it for about 15 minutes that she said "I just clicked on the link in that ADP email telling me to install the software". I wanted to punch someone. Seriously. Then my irritated self misdialed the phone number to our outside tech company and I dialed 911 instead. I ddin't realize that they would register the call (it just barely rang when I realized what I had done) and the cops show up at the office. I apologized to the cop and told him I knew not to hang up if they answered but not if it just rang.

I'm with ya....let's line'em up and give 'em textbooks for dummies!



Donna in GA
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Posted: 8/22/2012 6:28:51 PM
In my state we have to pass a computer skills test as part of our teacher certification. Do you not have that in your state?

MergeLeft
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Posted: 8/22/2012 6:40:08 PM
Donna, I did not have to pass a computer test when I was certified in this state five years ago. I'm thinking it's even less likely than they did when they were certified twenty or thirty years ago (certifications here are renewed automatically if you have completed the required number of PD hours, a certain number of which are required to be technology hours, but no requirements as to what kind of technology those hours are in).

I don't know - to me, in this day and age, a basic familiarity with word processing and spreadsheet programs is a necessary life skill. Do they technically need it for their jobs? No, I guess not as long as they have me to do it for them. But on the other hand, yes. I don't think it's that they're trying to wiggle out of doing the work - in other areas, they're happy to shoulder their fair share of of whatever needs to be done. But these two women in particular just seem to be freaked out by the idea of learning something new on the computer.

I didn't grow up with technology either, FWIW. I'm 39. I never had or touched a computer until I was in college. And the computer classes I had in college were DOS-based - once Windows came on the scene I had to become completely self-taught. It's just not that hard. You open the program, you type stuff in the little boxes. The formatting is similar enough to Word tables that it shouldn't be that hard to figure out, KWIM?



readsomething
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Posted: 8/22/2012 7:27:43 PM
About 10 years ago, we had a guy in our department who was nearing retirement age. WOULD NOT use the Internet. Refused. We ALL needed to use the Internet as a resource, probably 10-20 times a shift, per person. He would not.

One day I went to my boss and said, X is refusing. Mind if I teach him?

The guy and I went into a co-worker's office. We literally started with me saying, "This is called a mouse. It kind of looks like a mouse, with a long tail (the cable). It plugs into this box down under the desk, called a CPU."

He was freaked out. I told him to breathe. I taught him how to start up the computer, log on, and get into the network. I made him take notes in HIS handwriting, so he'd understand them better.

I taught him how to use a browser. "This is a Web address, then you hit ENTER."

Then I showed him how to call up the email program. He practiced the difference between clicking and DOUBLE-CLICKING.

Two days later, he said, "Why, this isn't hard AT ALL!" (He was from Georgia, haha.)

The next day, he was emailing me. He was SO EXCITED to tell me that he had gone to the store THAT NIGHT to buy himself a computer! For home! He wanted to email his grandson -- Little Earl.

I keep meaning to look him up on Facebook. I'm sure he's on it.

Long story short -- the women you work with aren't learning it because they can get away with not learning it. For the next little while, when something is due in Excel, tell them your wrist is broken. "I can't type up the list, but I can show you how to do it." Ignore the dirty looks.

I'm mean enough to sit on my hands and not turn in the list. I will make someone else's problem MY problem only so far. After that, it's on THEM.


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tinaev
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Posted: 8/22/2012 8:54:28 PM
I've told the story before and I'm sure I'll tell it again. When I started working at my current job my two superiors were so computer illiterate that when I told them to "right click" something they had no idea what that meant. I had to explain how there are two buttons on a mouse, etc. Sadly, the one that was the worst off was only 30 at the time. This was six years ago. There's just no excuse... I am driven insane by the lack of basic technology skills in the building on a daily basis.

Doe-Doe
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Posted: 8/22/2012 9:03:40 PM
It sounds like they just don't want to take the time to learn. They will just keep letting you do their work for them.


Joann

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Posted: 8/22/2012 10:08:56 PM
simple it is outside their comfort zone; if they "don't know how" then someone else will do it. hey, even I am that way about some of the things DH wants to "add on" to my computer. I claim to be a "Luddite" but that only is for some things.

I validate your vent, I'm 52 (next week) and I have no trouble with any of those tasks. My mom is in her 70s and can do of that as well. So it's not really an "age issue" it's an "I don't want to because I don't have to."


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Posted: 8/22/2012 10:19:25 PM
There is lots of techie stuff I am comfortable with. But I will admit I've not needed to use excell. So I am fairly clueless there although I think I could figure it out.

When I needed a spreadsheet for names, like your co-workers, my solution was to dig through my old emails to find one that had been sent to me. Saved it so I could find it. Deleted the names and entered the ones I needed. No need to create a new spreadsheet. Maybe you could strongly suggest they do the same so they can take their turn at doing that task?


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Posted: 8/22/2012 10:25:44 PM
Is there a task you dread that you can hand off to them?
"I'll take care of the class lists this week and you can prepare and make 30 copies of this worksheet. If you want to trade next week, let me know." You are a team. Find something to give to them that takes about the same amount of time it takes you to do their task.




Suzy

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Posted: 8/22/2012 10:25:49 PM
Age has nothing to do with it, just last week I had to teach my 27 year old co-worker how to edit, use, & SAVE a very, very basic Excel spreadsheet.

I also had to explain to her what "astute" meant, so there is that to consider.



Georgiapea
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Posted: 8/22/2012 10:35:37 PM
It's amazing how really basic knowledge is not addressed during hiring. I once worked for a company who hired a woman for date input who did not know how to type. She entered strings of words using 2 fingers.

I-95
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Posted: 8/23/2012 2:25:39 AM
I can type faster than a screaming banshee with only two fingers

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Posted: 8/23/2012 6:11:17 AM
It's not age. It's an interest (or a fear) of learning new things. I just sent my ipad on vacation with my 75 year old father. We downloaded a phone app and bought him 100 minutes. He called us for 'free' on the ipad rather than his cell while he was in Canada. He'd call us just to show off to his friends.

He also uses a digital camera, a scanner, email, etc. I think that's pretty good for someone who doesn't really need this kind of technology to farm. I think his accountant even has him entering his farm records. He just loves to learn!

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pea'rific teacher Union President

PeaNut 164,125
August 2004
Posts: 23,833
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Loc: Western NY

Posted: 8/23/2012 6:20:53 AM
Hey Merge....how's it going being back at work with that administrator that put her hands on you?? I hope it's better than you thought it would be....



Some people only dream of angels, I have held one in my arms.





MergeLeft
Typical Liberal

PeaNut 221,236
August 2005
Posts: 21,421
Layouts: 67
Loc: Houston

Posted: 8/23/2012 7:15:37 AM
If only we could trade tasks! I am one of a team of specialists - the only thing our planning has in common is these lists of students (color groups for when they come to specialists). I'm the music teacher; they are the art teacher and primary science teacher. (I know, don't get me started on a science teacher who struggles so much with computer skills, but at the primary level they're not using the computer much in science. The intermediate science teacher is much more tech-savvy.)

RE: why does a teacher need Excel skills? Maybe other districts aren't as data-driven as ours, but our classroom teachers live and die by spreadsheets full of student data. They're in a world of hurt if they can't navigate or create a simple spreadsheet. I can honestly say that the data itself and the need to be able to quickly manipulate it has driven some older teachers into retirement earlier than they might otherwise have gone. Others have adapted and embraced the new tech. I agree that it's not a matter of age, but of being willing to make the effort to learn something new.

Christine, regarding what happened with the administrator last year - it's going very well. Much better than I had hoped. We've had to interact with each other several times and she has been very positive, professional and supportive (and I've done my best to be the same). I think at this point I'm going to chalk it all up to extreme end of year stress and move on.

Thank you for thinking of me.



tomocus
PeaNut

PeaNut 360,185
February 2008
Posts: 189
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Posted: 8/23/2012 7:55:57 AM
Age has nothing to do with it. I am 64 and worked computer circles around all but 2 people in our department of 30. There standard saying was "take it to (insert my name here), she can 'pretty it up' for you". "pretty it up" is how they referred to my skills and knowledge on the computer.

BTW I am 64 now and I retired from there 4 years ago.

It is simply called "being lazy" and "pushing your work off on someone else".

As long as they can get away with it, they will.

TerriG
Pealasti-Girl

PeaNut 28,363
January 2002
Posts: 7,815
Layouts: 31
Loc: Walkin' in Memphis

Posted: 8/23/2012 8:09:05 AM
Here's a thought: Being in a school setting, are your computers Apple? Microsoft Office just became big on Macs in the past few years when they've eliminated AppleWorks. The school where I work issues MacBooks to the teachers, but Office has only been installed on them the past couple of years so they're having to learn it. Not an excuse for your co-workers not to learn it, just a possibility.....




I'm STILL a princess - right down to my glass sneakers and enchanted sweatpants!


"A memory is a photograph taken by the heart." - Daisy Sour Cream


ksuheather
low-information individual

PeaNut 190,373
February 2005
Posts: 8,196
Layouts: 0
Loc: wherever the army sends us

Posted: 8/23/2012 8:26:42 AM
That stinks and there is not reason for them not to be able to do a simple excel list of names. Heck I am not super comfortable with excel but I manage. When I get stuck I ask my DH, lives and breathes excel and powerpoint at work. Oh, and I'm 35 and my high school had apple 2e until my senior year when we had slow as sin DOS machines. My university used macs and we had to pass a computer class and each school I worked at required us to take a computer class.

As for those who claim they didn't grow up with technology that is baloney. A car is technology and I'd bed most have learned to drive one. An automatic washing machine is technology and I'm sure they can operate it. It's a pet peeve of mine techonology =/= computers and gadgets. Computers and gadgets are technology but only one part.



A veteran is someone who, at one
point in his life, wrote a blank check
made payable to 'The United States of
America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'


Mariah2
I live for the applause applause applause...

PeaNut 526,154
October 2011
Posts: 7,786
Layouts: 0
Loc: Illinois

Posted: 8/23/2012 8:28:03 AM
Ah! Frustrating!!


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tfsinga
PeaNut

PeaNut 563,258
August 2012
Posts: 258
Layouts: 3

Posted: 8/23/2012 8:46:25 AM
I can't tell you how many times I hear our administrative person (I'm within earshot of her desk) tell someone, "I don't know" regading basic computer tasks of her job. We also have a 72 year old that won't retire, but constantly calls someone over to his desk to 'do this' or 'do that' on his computer, but yet, he's constantly learning about the wine business (he grows grapes for wine making). So it's not about the inability to learn something new, it's all about not bothering to figure it out because someone else will do it for you.
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