Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

It’s 2011. Learn To Use Routine Technology

Two pages of instructions for
this new concept.

I found this article and some similar ones, in a 1934 issue of Ladies Home Companion. (Enlarge the page to read the text if you can’t do so. It’s interesting!) Thermostats on gas and electric ranges were still relatively new and many cooks resisted using them.

When my mother moved to Georgia in the 1930s, her mother-in-law (my grandmother, who I don’t remember but who, by all accounts, I would not have liked) had a two-burner propane gas range with a small oven.  It was used for storing pans because she was convinced it wasn’t good for cooking, certainly not baking. Not when she could much more easily adjust the amount of coal in the tray under the coal oven.

What technology at work still requires you to call for help every few minutes?

For many people there is a tendency to resist learning anything that requires very much mental effort (I’m that way!) And, there is often resistance to trying to learn a process that is taught in a manner that is more confusing and demeaning than it is helpful. But, if there is equipment, technology or processes at work that all employees are expected to use regularly, commit to learning to do that part of your job effectively and efficiently. 

It makes anyone sound ignorant, old, lazy and/or ridiculous, to hear them say, “I can barely turn on a computer, so I don’t check my email very often.” “Liiiiiiiisssssaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Can you load the paper in the copier?” Or, “Could you help me right away??? I have to open a file in email and I’m afraid I’ll delete everything if I start messing with buttons or keys or whatever you call them.”

It’s 2011 and we’ve all gotten used to adjusting the thermostat on ovens (even the ones I consider to be completely counter-intuitive.) We no longer stand and stare with wonder as the microwave heats a cup of water. Most of us can use at least 50% of the capabilities of our phones.  We’ve acquired a lot of technological saavy. We should be past expecting someone to bail us out every time we need to unjam a piece of paper, save a photo, use email, or any other routine aspect of our work. (This advice does not necessarily extend to setting the clock on your electronic equipment at home.)

June 26th, 2011 Posted by | Life and Work, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers, Training, Technology, Blogs, A/V etc. | 3 comments


  1. Great use of the old article. I found a newspaper clipping about microwaves, from 1970, that gave a whole bunch of warnings about them. I’m surprised anyone ever got up the courage to buy one! Also, regarding use of technology,we had such abuse of the services of admin people to start computers, download files, etc. etc. that for awhile all requests had to go through the supervisor. We said what you said, learn to use the tools of your job. Thanks and I enjoy your website.

    Comment by Mr.B. | June 29, 2011

  2. I like the manager I work for but I get tired of jumping up a dozen times a day to help her with her computer. She has used a computer longer than I have but she still can’t do even the basics and she won’t try to learn. She once waited to copy and paste into a letter until I came back from being sick and could do it for her!! The worst part is that I offered to teach her and she said she’d rather just yell for me. There is nothing I can do about it, but it’s a bit much sometimes!

    Comment by Wallingford | July 3, 2011

  3. If I can learn to use a computer anyone can. I even teach some of the newer employees!

    Comment by wiseacre | July 5, 2011

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