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Point and Click! Getting Over Technophobia

by Lanett Bennett

It's most definitely a different world then when I was growing up. I started out with a DOS screen in the trendy colors of green and black. I remember the installation of Windows 3.1 like it was yesterday! We all know that today any position you hold from the CEO to the receptionist you are going to have to use the computer. The new generation coming up is using computers just to do homework when all we used was paper and a pencil (how antiquated!).

When we look back at how quickly computers have overtaken our world as well as our workplace it is no wonder that a great many people are afraid of computers and aren't "power users." I say this because I encounter (on a daily basis) individuals who have lovely personalities, great longevity/experience and horrible computer scores. Trust me as I've heard from our clients, it behooves each and every one of us to learn how to be comfortable with computers. You don't have be an expert, but by turning it on, pushing as many buttons as possible, you'll be surprised what you can learn. Here's a few other tips to remember when exploring your computer.

It behooves us to be comfortable with computers, but you don't have to be an expert.

One of the first tips I can give to this end is if the computer doesn't ask "Are you Sure?" then go ahead and push the button. This is the first tip I gave my mother who just opened her first email account last year. Your computer can do so many useful things, but you will never figure them out unless you play with it. Create a sample letter and push every single button on your toolbar. If it does something really terrible…Click Undo (trust me - this is every tech guru's secret weapon, and it's usually in the "Edit" menu)! If something that cannot be undone the computer will almost always ask you "Are you sure?" and if you aren't, just say no and don't hit that button again. Try every feature on the drop down menus and use the Help tool frequently for anything you don't understand. This is probably the quickest way to learn a program and to learn the features of what it can do.

My second golden nugget is to go to your local community college or adult learning center. If you are afraid to experiment on your own or would like to become an expert, you can usually attend a basic computer course at one of these venues for a low price. They cater their hours to people who are working currently and can be a great resource if your job duties requires a specific computer program. Check out the local listings and schedules and see what they can offer you.

Research, Research, Research! This little advice tidbit is for those who are in a specific line of work. The Internet is a great resource for research from everything from hunting for that perfect dress or the perfect job. You should research any new or current software that might be used in your field. If you are in the administrative field, you can never go wrong with your normal word processing, spreadsheet, or email programs.

If you are in a specialized industry there are normally cutting edge, industry specific programs that you should learn. Industries like graphic arts, engineering, staffing and others all have specialized programs that make you more marketable when you are familiar with them. If you go to these websites you can see if they have "webinars" (presentations done over the Internet), training, tips or if you can download a sample to at least learn how this tip functions.

The biggest goal overall is to overcome your fears, ask your kids for help, and most importantly…just point and click!

Lanett Bennett was a Staffing Manager with Headway Corporate Resources in Virginia Beach, Virginia.