Thursday, January 8, 2009

Look - She's a Dinosaur!

There are those moments in life when we just feel inadequate and worse still, irrelevant. And there are times when we feel like dinosaurs in the land of sleek gazelles.

January 9th marks the two-year anniversary of the end of my employment with the local newspaper. Although this unemployment has been good in terms of dealing with my health issues, there are other considerations that are not so positive. My paycheck would certainly not change our lifestyle but in light of the declining value of our retirement funds it could balance some shortfalls.

The Farmer and I would in no way blame anyone for the "losses". The losses are on paper only and we're old enough to have weathered some tough times and some very deep and scary recesssions. I suppose if you live long enough you reach a point where you're unflappable. We've never created dreams for our future that couldn't be amended, scaled down, revised or even tossed out the window if need be. I think we could be happy in a log cabin. With running water, of course.

My mind lately has been contemplating returning to work at least part-time. The Farmer is working incredibly hard and my job keeping the home fires burning feels a bit inadequate. I feel the need to make some concrete contributions to our fast approaching future. I was proud to be the partner who carried our family health insurance for many years.

But there's a problem. I'm a dinosaur.

See this typewriter?


It's something I bought at a thrift store and almost the same model that my father bought for me as a graduation gift. It was the latest model in a time when an electric typewriter was unheard of outside of an office setting. Copy machines were cutting edge technology, only afforded by the largest corporations. Carbon paper was the tool of the masses.

In my work life in the printing and publishing industry, advances were made in small spurts and finally in great leaps and bounds. At the time I received the typewriter, personal computers were the stuff of science fiction.

What does this all mean? It means that when I peruse the job offerings at the local hospital and community college I realize that technology has slipped through my fingers. I'm familiar enough with Microsoft Word to write a letter, but nothing more. Excel? Not a clue. Power point? Hmmmm, nope. They're asking for "documented proof of proficiency."

To tell the truth I'm not in any mood to be learning these things. Poke me with a fork..... I'm done.

So what's a girl to do? I'll just keep searching for a doctor who wants a "people person" to work in the office and interact with patients..... some old dinosaur physician who never got the memo about Microsoft Excel. Yeah, that's my plan.


Heidi said...

At least you have a plan! *wink* Its 3 degree's out this morning. We are all going to the farm and the baby has long underwear on! LOL :)

Susan said...

After staying home to raise children until the youngest was a junior in h.s., I went to the local tech school to spruce up on computers. Ended up getting an associate degree in medical terminology and worked in two different medical clinics for docs. Absolutely loved it, but the classes, computer, etc. brought on an ulcer. I learned to control myself and had many happy years working in a medical setting. I wish you good luck. Working for docs is wonderful. Hopefully you can get trained on job to make appts., etc., and it will surely come easily to you. Susan

chocolatechic said...

I have a friend who is dealing with this.

She was a SAHM, and home schooled her kiddos for 17 years.

Then her man left her.

She had no skills.

Thirkellgirl said...

Honestly, you could learn Excel and Powerpoint. Really. It's not that hard. If you can use Turbo Tax you can become competent in Excel and Ppoint. Go for it, Suzanne! Don't go gently into the dark night of technology incompetence!

Jenni said...

I think if you could figure out how to do such a nice blog, you could surely figure out Excel and Power Point. Of course I don't know how to use those programs either, but the kids learn how in their freshman year of high school here. My three oldest have said it's very easy. There's really nothing to Word. I'm sure you could do anything you wanted to at all!

Me, I'm the SAHM of 18 years who never went to college. Things are going well with dh's job, but we have no savings for the kids' college, retirement, or anything else. Now that I'm no longer homeschooling, I'm considering what I could do to help with our finances. It's depressing to read that everyone requires a college education, even if the job is something for which I feel I already have the skills. Not that I'm opposed to going to college, but I'm not sure if that's my best option at this point.

CatHerder said...

thats funny isnt it. When I was in highschool, and got a little award for typing 110 wpm, i thought i was SO COOL! my teens type and text faster than I ever could. I worked for a family member who was a doctor (since deceased)..we did everything on computers...i have worked in other offices since, and to be quite honest, once you learn the system, it is EASY, and i am no computer nerd. I think self confidence plays a big part in it. Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

You might be surprised to find that some people value 'dinosaurs'. People skills and customer service are a thing of the past, and you can't teach that to the younger generation, so if you've got 'em, flaunt 'em. They're valuable.

Also, the 'work ethic' of the 'dinosaurs' is highly valuable. Showing up on time, doing the right thing because it's the right thing to do, going the extra mile, COMING TO WORK, self-motivation, etc. You can't get that in the younger models.

I can guarantee that there are lots of employers looking for someone like you.

Don't let the requirements on the listing scare you. Getting a foot in the door is the hardest part. Most are willing to train if they have the right person.

So, to use a dinosaur term, "You Go Girl!"


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Exactly my story. I have thought of going to adult ed to gain a few of these lacking skills, but like you I don't really feel like it.

May the local doctor's office find in you just the person needed!

StitchinByTheLake said...

I know exactly what you mean Suzanne. Our retirement funds have dropped by over 1/3 this year thanks to the Dow. I keep thinking I should go back to work at least part time and even though I can do Excel and Power Point, my teaching license expired 12/31 and to renew it would be a rediculous chore. Which I refuse to do. Now working in a quilt shop, that would be ok. :) blessings, marlene

Paula Bauer said...

Like any competent person, you can pick up the necessary skills in no time flat. As someone pointed out, a friendly person with a good work ethic is becoming a rare gem.

My sister works for a company that offers packages to facilitate Human Resources departments in large firms. Her feedback from companies? The 'NextGen' crop are pampered primadona's that come into a company expecting fast-track management and are unwilling to put their time in and work their way up. Companies are over a barrel with their puffed up demands because they need to replace the retirees.

I'm sure there are employers who would welcome a 'dinosaur' that was bright, articulate, and personable, with an "I can do" attitude. Don't sell yourself short!

Karen said...

Yep ... know exactly where you're coming from on that score..

I've been thinking of taking a course on Power Point and Excel.

My typing skills are not that fast. At school I was streamed into the Academic stream. I never took typing or shorthand. I can sort of touch type .... hovever ..

the senyances can someylmes lppk a bot finny :-)

Buddha's Place said...

I think dinasours are rare...because I am in the same boat as you. I worked construction my entire life. I can't hardly clean my house now let alone run a shovel.

Trish said...

Perhaps you should write for a columnist...somehow 'online'. I am not a computer savy person but I am telling have such wit! Why don't you write a sample column and mail it in to some hot shot would be GREAT!

Cindy L said...

You and I are so often on the same wavelength. I had to stop writing my weekly newspaper column (which was syndicated regionally) when the whole chain was purchased by another company that required writers to sign a horrifically limiting contract. (It demanded I sell my soul and rights to ALL of my work and ideas to the Devil.) That was two years ago, and while the income I lost wasn't much, it was enough to make a difference to both my pocketbook and my self-worth. I have been toying with going back to work, too. With print media drying up everywhere -- and the Internet changing how we do EVERYTHING -- I have to really rethink my skills and reinvent myself for the job market if I am to return to it. I'll be cheering you on!

P.S. Being a romantic with a nostalgic heart, I LOVE the typewriter in your photo!

Anonymous said...

Oops, I forgot to add that I agree with others who commented on your amazing skills as a blogger, writer, and photographer. If you can put together this wonderful blog, I am sure you can promote that expertise and talent and parlay it into something else. Web design!

Marilyn said...

If he has associates in Oregon let me know!

Mary Rex said...

My previous career as a technical illustrator was *stolen* by computers...and so is obsolete. I used to work for engineers doing maps, cross sections and other drawings by hand. I luvved it. I never had to type. I am now a secretary. I learned Word, Excel & Access a little at a time on temp jobs, and you can really get by with just a few skills there. Sometimes they will even help you develop the needed skills. Your blog is really great. I think you need to give yourself way more credit. Good Luck!!

lifeinredshoes said...

I find it disturbing that Life Experience isn't a job qualification. My heavens woman, you could run a corporation on that alone!

Anonymous said...

If you can type a letter in Word, you know the basics. PowerPoint and Excel aren't tough. You could learn the basics in a day or two. Trust me. Don't let the technology discourage you.

LDF said...

You know, I struggled with the "documented proof" thing when I started looking for work a couple of years ago. I had just finished my BA (the dream that waited till I had growed up kids and was a granny), & had mastered enough up to date technology to make it thru my studies at the head of the pack, but was self taught. Therefore lacked the pretty little pieces of paper to "prove" proficiency in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, etc. Dadgummit! How d'ya think I graduated with the great grades I earned??

Fortunately, I did find a great office and employers who were more interested in my experiences as a community program coordinator with seniors - even tho that experience was several decades in the past - than my computer proficiency. There are dinosaurs out there! LOL!

Good luck with your search.

Anonymous said...

I haven't worked in going on 7 years. I'm sure I am way out of touch with the latest software in the office world.

Just another dinosaur.

willzmom said...

I too am a dino-and I am in the middle of completing an associates degree program. In many cases I am one of the oldest students in my classes. The world is changing and I started really thinking about the future when my friend lost her husband suddenly with 2 children still at home and no "marketable skills". You are one smart cookie and I know you'll be fine.

Joanna said...

Just my two cents, but I don't think you should do the Excel and PowerPoint classes. Especially in a Dr office setting, databases are the main thing and it depends on the software they use such as Access. Database entry is no big deal. Always stretch the truth on an application, "because I have been away from an office setting for two years, likely need to brush up on MicroSoft Office Pro." Employers are not supposed to discriminate against the dinosaurs for the gazelles.

Besides needing my income, I have to keep my job for my employer-paid health ins and then we pay $600 per month for Mike's ins through my workplace.

Also, we turned our house into a duplex, and have tenant which really doesn't cost us anything extra because we're all under the same roof. We did some remodeling that initially cost us but now we have been collecting $800 per month, includes everything, for two years.

Just try to get your foot in the door, take whatever position, then later try to be promoted/transfer to a better position within the organization.

Anonymous said...

I just happened upon your blog.
We have a chihuahua that could be Pancho's long lost brother!! Or at least his distant cousin.
I went through your archives until a found the full view of the boys and think it was in Aug. or Sept.
Our Wilson has the light nose like Pancho and the light chest and white toes. Wilson has hazel eyes.
He is our 1st chihuahua. We have always had medium sized dogs (beagle, corgi). It has been fun.
We didn't realize that they were such couch potatoes!!
Enjoyed your boys--Jennifer

Marilyn Crain said...

You're a writer! And photographer!
Freelance. You'll love it.

And dinosaurs certainly have their place in this world. I truly think that without the middle age (and later) the business world could not function.

You can do whatever you choose to pursue.

But, if you don't write and publish your pictures, it will be a shame. What a waste of wonderful talent.

Yaya said...

So, what does it all mean? I'll bet it just means you love to write. So, what's a girl to do? Write a book. Get that transcript out there. If the first one says no, send it to the next. Good luck in whatever you do.

jan said...

You know, I think that computer programs these days are much easier to learn than the ones that I used in the 90's. Except for Access, the Microsoft products are pretty intuitive. I know that if you had and hour of instruction, you would be able to use them. 8 or 10 hours and you would be proficient! I didn't use a computer until I was in the work world for about 20 years, so I still remember carbon paper - and trying to correct mistakes in triplicate!


Like most others have commented I think there is a job out there for you and an organisation which will value what you bring to the table, I just wish you make that connection quickly.Its amazing how in this day and age how quickly your knowledge and skills become obsolete and the only way forward is to upgrade upgrade upgrade, I don't know excel or powerpoint because I don't use it but I'm sure if you have to you will.I'm going to start on powerpoint right away, why don't you.

Willow Witch said...

As a person who run's a doctor's office for a living, I will tell you the first thing I look for is someone whom will fit with the team. Then I look at their life experiences that tell me if they have been able to adapt to change in their job history, everyone can learn what we do here. Most of my employee's had never worked in the medical field before... So go for anything, a positive attitude will get you farther than knowing excel.