BOSTON (CBS) – Everyday it seems there is new technology in the office, and that can create a challenge for mature worker to keep up.
It is imperative to stay contemporary, however. Experts say you don’t want to be known as the “Tech Dinosaur” in your office.
With virtual meetings, Skype, and Excel, the office setting has changed dramatically over the years. Melanie Russell, a veteran marketing executive at Invensys in Foxboro, remembers a simpler time. “You’d go to a meeting in a conference room and you’d come back and have a stack of pink slips, ‘While you were out so and so called.’”
Keeping connected to all these changes is essential, according to Joan Cirillo of Operation ABLE, an organization committed to helping retrain older workers. When asked the consequences of not keeping up with technology, Cirillo replied, “You’re going to have a hard time keeping your job today . . . and it’s just, you can’t fight it. You have to join them.”
Barbara Ann DeFelippo is back in the classroom at Operation Able after getting laid off from a mutual fund company after 27 years on the job. “Technology, it seems like almost everyday something changes.”
It used to be acceptable for someone to say “I’m computer illiterate,” and then find a younger worker to help them out. But that isn’t the case anyone. A worker who is not up to speed puts themselves in a potentially grave situation.
When DeFelippo was asked, “If you don’t know it, you’re out?” She replied, “You’ve got that one right.”
David Gerzof Richard of Big Fish Communications in Brookline says older workers need to make sure they’re not left behind when it comes to social media as well. “The concern there is being seen as the dinosaur, being seen as obsolete, if you will.”
Start with Twitter, said Gerzof Richard. “Twitter has become a little bit of the new water cooler,” he says. It can expand your world view and make you feel and appear more contemporary.
Gerzof Richard believes it is possible to teach and old dog new tricks. “What you are doing is showing you are connected,” he says.
Experts say to make sure you take advantage of any training your company offers because those opportunities are often overlooked.
In the meantime, if you need help, ask that younger co-worker to teach you how to do something, not to do it for you.