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Technology and the Common Man


I have heard all my life how technology will make our lives better, easier, and give us more free time. Well, maybe so, but those outcomes haven’t always turned out that way for me.

Anyone else feel similarly?

No doubt, technology has made many things easier (trying to be fair here), but think about this: if you wanted to enter a note into a file, you wrote it out and placed it in the file.

No fuss, no muss. Occasionally, the file needed to be purged of excess and outdated info, but that was OK. It beat getting an error message and having to ask your IT person to fix the problem. Nothing ever went wrong with paper.

So, you may ask, why am I starting my column with complaints about tech? Because I have an error message on my computer, and I cannot figure it out. Drives me crazy.

Over the past three years, many things have driven each of us crazy. The list is long and multi-faceted. Yet, in spite of the complaints each of us can bring up, we were able to resolve them. That’s the good news.

We’re smart, resilient individuals (you have to be in the lumber industry). While things may slow us down, they don’t beat us.

We’ve discovered workarounds, hired people who can figure out anything (though we don’t know what they’re really doing, pounding away on their expensive laptop keyboards), and innovated.

We’ve spent untold amounts of money, keeping up with the latest and greatest equipment and software—all in the elusive search for more free time and a less complicated business environment.

Instead, we’ve been rewarded with inflation and have had to make decisions on issues that, to tell the truth, we knew literally nothing about.

Yet here we are. We’ve survived, and maybe that’s the secret.

I would also say age plays a role. My grandchildren, beginning in preschool, could run technology rings around me.

I would mumble thank you when I had to ask a techie question. With two masters’ degrees and decades of maturity, did I admit my shortcomings?

Yes, you bet I did—desperate times demanded desperate measures. It was, and is, much cheaper than getting your company’s IT people involved.

Now that my grandchildren are in high school, I no longer feel inadequate asking them about tech issues. I have learned from them and in the process, my ego is no longer bruised.

Guess it goes to prove that taking a deep breath and trying to figure out how to not only survive but thrive are worthy endeavors.

Keep on striving. It beats the alternatives.

Jim Carr is the President and CEO of Blue Book Services Inc.