Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Confessions of a Lapsed Techie

Once upon a time, I was a pretty techie guy. I taught computer classes for a living, and in my own use moved seamlessly between MS-DOS, Windows, Macs, Vax/VMS, and Unix. (Except I could never keep straight which way the slashes in directory paths went in MS-DOS and Unix.) I'd been an Internet user for several years before most people had ever heard of it. (And we had to walk to the Internet in the snow! Uphill! Both ways!) I was never a hardware guy or a programmer - I just had a very strong set of user skills. Not an expert, but the most expert person a lot of people knew.

But that was a long time ago. My fringe IT job gradually morphed into an HR job. (Long story.) Technology moved forward, and I wasn't able to keep up. The scope of topics about which I was genuinely knowledgeable got smaller and smaller, and is now almost gone. (I can still say that my knowledge of the 2003 versions of Outlook, Word, and Excel is pretty strong - but that was two versions ago.)

All this makes me a little sad. Having that set of skills made me a little bit special, at a time when those skills were pretty rare. Those skills got me a graduate assistanceship and the respect of my grad school classmates and even the faculty. But time moves on, and I'm just as befuddled by a lot of the new technology as folks who have little of the background I do. I have other strengths, of course - having fallen off the leading edge hardly renders me worthless.

Still, though, I do miss it.


  1. I hear you but the skills you use now are immeasurably awesome!

  2. Love this line...
    (And we had to walk to the Internet in the snow! Uphill! Both ways!)

  3. Nonsense! I remember before the Interwebs when we had to walk to the network in the snow, uphill, both ways while speaking only in binary! :-)

    Good writing.

  4. I hear ya! I retired 1 1/2 years ago and it was sad to see how quickly I could be replaced. For 23 years I was the go-to gal but now the go-to up and went another direction. I try to look at it this way; our special talents are just being utilized in a different way. We may not be special in those ways any longer, but we are definitely special!

  5. Umm... sneakernet, UNIX computers couldn't speak to each other, and the only wireless communication came through amateur radios and terminal node controllers (the network is reserved for amateur radio).

  6. I feel that way about desktop publishing/graphic design programs - learned a bunch of that stuff the last couple years of college through classes and practical experience - actually used some of it the first couple jobs out of college. Now I don't know enough to apply for web-marketing related positions because I've been so focused on accounting type databases. Sigh...


Creative Commons License
T Minus Two by Bob Pedersen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.