Four Technology Phases of My Worklife

I’ve been working for almost a quarter century now.  Can you believe it? Oprah’s got her 25 years and I have mine. Job by job, let me take you through how technology has changed since I started working in the late ’80s.
  1. First Nonprofit Job. Faxing is fairly new and beepers are big. The phone is our most frequently used tool. We handwrite documents and the secretary types them on a word processor. We have actually been known to cut and paste. Not CTRL+C and CTRL+V, but cutting with scissors and pasting with tape. Yep, that’s how old I am!
  2. Second Nonprofit Job. Our department has one shared computer, a Mac. Everyone does their own admin work. The CFO gets the sole Internet connection and it’s dial-up. Job applications are on paper or faxed. We conduct most of our business conversations by phone.
  3. Government Job. Everyone has their own PC. Internet research, intranet, e-mail, electronic timesheets and Outlook become a part of daily life. We don’t use our desk phones as much. Most people have cellphones; they’re the size of bricks but we love them.
  4. Current Job. Our accounting software and HRIS are originally installed on our servers but over time move to the web. Job applications evolve from paper to email to Internet. We have a Facebook page, we tweet, we hire a half-time communications person. We e-mail to arrange phone calls. Much of my own networking is done through social media and we look to the web for a wide range of solutions to everyday challenges. Our cell phones are getting smarter all the time and we try to figure out how to get them to do more of our work.

Looking back, it is truly amazing to me to reflect on how work tools and technology have changed since I started earning a paycheck.

I know we have readers who started working before me but I imagine there are more who entered the workforce long after. In fact, many of our younger readers probably began working after I started my current job!  

Millennials, can you imagine using typewriters and beepers, pen and paper? Can you imagine trying to work without a computer or access to the Internet? I bet you can’t. You might try, but I don’t think you can do it.

Just like I can’t begin to imagine what technological changes the next 25 years will bring.

photo by: feck_aRt_post

About the Author

Krista Francis

Krista Francis, PHR, is nonprofit HR Director and sometimes Acting Executive Director. She lives outside of Washington DC with her soccer-crazy hubby, two active teenagers, a neurotic cat and the best dog in the world, Rocky, aka Party like a Rockstar. In her loads of free time, she tries to keep her scooter running, tests margaritas for quality control purposes and blogs at aliveHR. You can connect with her on Twitter as @kristafrancis.


Jennifer Payne

Krista, this reminds me of one particular day my Freshman year of college. I was taking to a friend who was all excited about some new thing called “email.” He absolutely insisted that he had to help me set up with an account…back in the days when you had to actually be on one of the PCs in the computer lab to access it. Crazy to think about how much has changed…and I’m sure even crazier for those that have been in the workforce a little longer!

Krista Francis

@Chris and @Robin, thanks for the reminisces about the ‘olden days!’

@Lyn, I haven’t used FaceTime and look forward to hearing others’ responses on that.

Robin Schooling

I remember purchasing “clip art” books at the fancy-schmancy art supply store in town so that we could use scissors and paper to assemble our monthly employee newsletter and spice it up with clip art. Creating this newsletter each month took about 2 days; and by the time it ‘went to press’ the news was so old as to be mostly useless. Makes me chuckle to remember.

Lyn Hoyt

Has anyone used FaceTime yet on their iPhone 4 or iPad for interviews or conferencing? May be a dumb question with this blog-reading group. I’m amazed at FaceTime. Star Trek for HR and business. But, consultants will need to comb their hair if they work from home. Thanks for the post Krista.


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