In the many years when I worked in offices I coped with all sorts of changes in methods and tools. My first ever semi-mechanical calculator was a kind of complicated abacus which worked on a 3D type of mechanism. It was amazing how fast you could get at doing complex sums. There was a noise of whirring and clunking as the quotations for life assurance premiums were churned out and checked. Later on, in another office it was adding machines for the majority operating to the background noise of one of the first ever electronic book-keeping machines. This was used by the elite only. After that I grew acquainted with typewriters, firstly manual then electric, then almost mini-word processors. In time I became one of the higher echelons who used dictating machines for others to type.
A career break followed (four children reason enough?) and by the time I returned it was to the start of the computer age. And of course programmes became more and more complex and versatile; with the advent of email, the internet and now social networking sites my skills continued to improve. Adaptability, that is the key, thought I – quite proud of myself in actual fact. In the ministry I got used to doing my own mail and roughing up templates and doing my own printing – Compliments slips, memos, headed letters…….. no problem.
So why is it that after four years of being retired it suddenly became a big job to turn out templates in Word for the self-same compliments slips and memos? Oh yes – I have to admit it, I had lost the originals. What should have been a half hour job took most of yesterday morning. A new edition of Microsoft Word didn’t help – all the buttons had disappeared. And the online wizard sections of Microsoft were beyond me. Eventually, the text and fonts were all worked out. Then I got everything in the wrong position on the A4 paper. But ignominy of all …… I had to get Him Behind the Wheel to guillotine the final copies.
Ah well…. at least there is a nice new supply of stationery for those times when an email just won’t do. And as for tweets – don’t even go there.