Confessions of a non-techie in a techie world!

Posted on Mon 27 July 2015
Written by Flexi-Grant

In the comedy series The IT Crowd there is a wonderful scene where the IT geeks give their boss, Jen, a box and tell her that it IS the internet and that she must treat it with great care. Of course she believes them and much to their amusement proudly displays it at her next staff talk.  They also tell her that if you type Google into Google search you will break the internet. Now I know this is a joke but being in confession mode I have to say that, like looking under your bed at night, I would be reluctant to do this just in case…..

Well, while I’d like to think that I’m not quite as daft or gullible as Jen, I do feel out of my depth sometimes working in an IT company without any real idea of what my colleagues are talking about most of the time. I’m not anti-technology or completely computer illiterate but sometimes I feel as if I’m swimming in the deep end and my water wings are barely holding me up. And sometimes I’m afraid to ask too many questions in case the full depth of my ignorance is appallingly laid clear. When people mention ‘Cloud’ I want to look at the sky and wonder where exactly that is, I’m still not sure if MB is bigger than GB or the other way around and the last time someone asked me if my Ethernet cable was attached I had no idea what they were talking about. And, what exactly is a dongle?

OK as the Office Manager I don’t really need to know a lot of this stuff (or maybe I should and no-one likes to say?) but the point is I would like to be more knowledgeable. When colleagues talk about what they are up to I am hoping they can’t see the barely veiled look of panic on my face as I realise that I am unable to spot any words I actually recognise in their conversation. Luckily for me I work with really nice people and not once has anyone sneered, laughed (well maybe a smile or two) or become frustrated with my lack of technical know-how. Well not to my face anyway. Even the time I managed to delete my entire Documents folder. And then when I did it again 2 days later. (Confession – still not entirely sure how I did it so I live in fear of unwittingly doing it again).  To a man, and one woman, they are all willing to help and explain things when I need it (or when I am brave enough to admit I didn’t understand what they were saying the first 3 times). I am more grateful for this than they can know.

Fluent is a great place to work if you don’t want to get stuck in the same job, doing the same thing every day. And we are constantly encouraged to move outside of our comfort zones. Our marketing executive has discovered a zeal and enthusiasm for web design, our developers have been asked to become experts in usability (I’m pretty sure I now know what that means), and our trained testers have found themselves leading implementation projects. Even though I am technically challenged, for a while I found myself putting news stories on our website using basic HTML (I even think I know what that stands for but I’m not quite brave enough to commit it to paper!). And yes, I needed a lot of help at first but it was a welcome change from my normal duties and very satisfying when the stories were uploaded (right term?) to the website and I could say ‘I did that’. I even came to appreciate why people might choose to code for a living. Almost.

There is so much more I can do and learn. Our pride and joy is our grant management system, Flexi-Grant®, and I really should know much more about how it works and how to use it. It will take time but I am determined to get there. As for the technical ‘jargon’, I’m pretty sure I will never be completely fluent (if you will excuse the pun) in that, but, I have my ‘I completely know what you are talking about’ look pretty much perfected by now.

Oh and the one sure and certain piece of knowledge I have gained from 5 years in an IT environment: 9 times out of 10 turning it off and on again actually works.

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