If you didn’t live through the seventies (not saying I did), you can only imagine the awe and amazement people felt when the microwave oven was born. One step down from the introduction of anything Microsoft. It changed the game completely.
Fast forward to today. Microwave ovens are accepted in the kitchen alongside spoons and floor cleaners; they are a part of everyday life. Something new takes its place to amaze us every day, so much so that it can become overwhelming. Some technologies are here to stay (phones without cords) and some are fads likely to evolve into something better (answering machines, for example, evolving into voicemail). Incorporating every new invention into daily life is impossible. Don’t even try it. Instead, commit to incorporating only the microwaves: those concepts that are so widely accepted that, literally, everyone has them.
Get past the intimidation. New tools and technologies happen only to make life either easier or more interesting. When faced with a new, seemingly complicated, software, hardware or box on the counter, look first for its value in one of these two categories: will it make my life easier? Or more interesting? If the answer to both questions is no, send the box back, unopened, for a full refund. If the answer is yes, then use that yes as a motivator to find out how, exactly, this thing is going to help.
Many companies use, as an example, Microsoft Outlook for email and calendar management. Having memorized Outlook for Dummies, I can tell you it is a powerful and complex tool. Rather than attempt to master its every idiosyncrasy, start by learning how to do something that makes your life easier (or more interesting). Learn to add contacts, or how to search for a lost email message.
Taking one step at a time into technology turns something frightening into a manageable and valuable endeavor. No one needs to know about the popcorn button on the microwave until they are ready to use it; once you need it, learning a new function or adapting to a new technology is worthwhile and, therefore, possible.
Some microwave-like developments people expect others in a work setting to be familiar with now include: cell phones, texting, email, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google internet searching. No one should invest in an i-anything unless they have a real use for it, but keeping up with technology generally will make your career path – and your daily life – easier and, quite possibly, more interesting.