How to handle being the office technophile
I was getting a bit impatient. The Starbucks line was backed up, and I was really looking forward to enjoying an iced chai latte after a day of hot temps. My eyes wandered to the copy of the Wall Street Journal at the marble pickup counter. I scanned the headlines and landed on, “When It Comes To Office Technology, Millennials Are Boss”. I’m a millennial, so I felt obligated to read it. The article covered story after story of older co-workers relying on millennials to help them with their mobile apps, e-signatures, social media, data transfer between devices and more.
Well, there's a name for this. It’s called the office “technophile”, and I was exactly that at my first job out of college. I was consistently asked by older staff to help change their social media profile pics, walk them through software or show them how to use their phones to send photos, messages or other content.
What I considered a simple tech task, was like working magic to them. Many watched, listened and learned (while others...not so much).
I’ve since moved on from that job, but if you're in your 20s like me, it’s hard to deny being online and using tech is pretty much second nature. So, if you’ve been deemed the technophile in residence at your job, here are some basic tips for handing your new unspoken job expectation:
Be Understanding - We all need a bit of help sometimes, so be patient when you're asked to spread your tech know-how. Plus, you never know when you'll be the one needing help (For example, when email is down and you need a walk through on how to use an old-school fax machine).
Remember Balance - Don’t let the random requests distract you from your primary duties. If you’re working on a project that requires Jedi focus, don’t be afraid to delay help by explaining, “I’m on deadline right now, but can I help you out in about 30-minutes?”
Teach A Man To Fish - We Millennials learn technology by spending time with the interface, so keep a "learn by doing" motto in mind. Walk them through learning how to do it, but let them go through the steps themselves. Don’t waste the learning opportunity just because it may be faster if you just do it for them.
Multiple Yourself - If handling basic social media questions or other tech tasks is a part of your general job duties, put together an instruction sheet people can reference. If it’s not a part of your job, make sure to manage requests appropriately and know when it is something the company IT help desk needs to handle. Otherwise, if you really love helping people learn about new tech, talk to your supervisor about possibly hosting an office-wide workshop.
*My Millennial Confessions*
- My first job required me to use Outlook for email correspondence. I had NEVER used it before and was a little overwhelmed by all it’s features. I had a major press push and event to do in the first two weeks, so I had to learn it quick! I jumped in and started clicking around (as us Millennials do), and was a master in no time!
- Technology is awesome but I believe writing stuff down is still very effective! I use whiteboards to organize projects and I have a budding collection of notebooks with work related notes. I even wrote this blog on paper first before opening my Macbook. #longlivepaper