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I need a job but don't know anything about computers! Help!

Career Exploration The Hiring Process Job Training Success on the Job

Question: I need a good job, preferably in an office. But I’m 47 years old and don’t have any computer skills. Everybody can use the computer except me. Even my four-year-old grandson is better at it than me! My son knows a lot, but he’s busy, and doesn’t have the patience to teach me anything. The community college has classes, but they are for people who already know a lot about computers and want to add to their knowledge. Computers are so complicated, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to learn about them. I feel so stupid. I am a failure. What can I do? Answer: Believe it or not, you are not alone. If you’ve been out of school for more than about 15 years, you probably missed out on learning computers that way. To make matters worse, computers double in memory about every 18 months. And there is always the next big thing (known in techy circles as a “killer app”) coming to make everyone’s life easier -- assuming they already know about computers. It’s not your imagination; they really are getting ahead of you faster than you have any way to keep up. Many people who are good at technology are not adept at teaching it. Technology and teaching are two entirely different skills. It’s sort of like trying to teach a little kid to tie his shoes. It’s easy for you; you just do it and don’t think about it. But when you have to show someone who has very little knowledge, you have to think through each little step and how to explain it. Maybe that’s how your son feels about teaching computer skills to you. The good news is that there is help out there. Frederick County Workforce Services has basic computer classes geared toward job search. You might consider taking “Computers for Scaredy Cats.” This seminar combines fear reduction with the most basic computer skills, such as turning the computer on. The instructor herself is a recovering computer scaredy cat, and remembers what it is like to know nothing about computers. If that class goes well, you might move up to “Introduction to Computers and Windows,” which will expand your understanding of the way computers work. “Introduction to Word” will teach you what you need to write your résumé and cover letter. There are other classes, too; check out the Frederick County Business and Employment Center Seminar and Events Calendar (could we have a live link here?) for dates and times. In the meantime, know this: Technology is a field of knowledge that is highly valued in our society. But even if you don’t know a keyboard from a motherboard, you have a field of knowledge too. You are not a failure, and you are not stupid. You just don’t know much about computers. But you do know a lot about something else. And you can learn computers. We’ll look forward to seeing you in Computers for Scaredy Cats class!