Technology for rejoining the workforce

There’s nothing anecdotal about the term “silver tsunami.” According to Wikipedia, it is “a metaphor used to describe population aging.” One oft-reported effect is how people are delaying retirement or coming out of retirement to rejoin the workforce.

For the latter rejoiners, what do you do when you were previously in a field/career that didn’t require learning or using digital world tools such as a computer? I bet the ink ribbon of your Smith Corona in the attic is bone dry. And even if you can ask your friend to order a replacement ribbon, that job application process requires an electronic version of your resume.

Don’t sweat it! Easy for me to say? Well, I’ve been asked questions from people matching the above two paragraphs and my answer seemed to have alleviated the anxiety so bear with me.

In Westlake and Bay Village, whatever your socioeconomic status is, we enjoy wonderful resources such as the Westlake Porter Public Library and the Bay Village branch library where they have computers you can use and classes you can take.

The digital world, aka the internet, has changed everything. Some things also can appear confusing but with a palatable explanation, in this case through use of analogies; things can be seen as an evolution of a familiar product that offers the same functionality. For example Microsoft Word software can be thought of as just an evolution of what you know and used in the distant past – a Smith Corona typewriter!

Yes, I did say typewriter, although the actual lingo is “word processor.” But don’t kid yourself – the functionality provided by the Word software on the computer is to type documents a la Smith Corona with the added benefit of not having to use white-out.

Rotary phones evolved into push phones, then to cordless phones that gave you untethered mobility within the confines of your abode, and then came cell phones that gave you mobility outside your home. Of course, the benefit of someone being able to reach you outside your house is debatable but with smartphones, they upped the communication function tenfold by utilizing the internet … but you can still make a phone call. Like the evolution of communication devices, Word software is an evolved typewriter.

Sitting in front of a computer at Porter Library, you will recognize the keyboard that is eerily similar to the ones on the electronic Smith Coronas. Hint: the carriage return and advance key on the computer’s keyboard is labeled “Enter” instead of “Return.” Whether Return or Enter, they do the same thing: advance a line and start typing again on the left side of the paper. Manual Smith Coronas did that with the bar sticking out that you push the carriage that held your paper from left-to-right.

The first time you log into a library computer with your cardholder credentials, you may be intimidated by all the colorful things appearing on the screen that is Windows. Fear not and focus: You are looking for that evolved typewriter icon which represents the Word software!

Tak Sato

Strategist and technologist with over 25 years of experience. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder for the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 9:24 AM, 06.19.2018