The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life
. . . still studying and learning how to live

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Sunday, April 1, 2012
Personal Reflections ... Society ...

I guess that I’m getting old; my life is really “old school” now. I no longer stay up with techno-trends; I don’t have a smart phone, don’t have a kindle or i-pad, and I don’t anticipate getting one anytime soon.

I have two computers at home; one is 10 years old, the other 11. I just did a disk clean up and back up, and remembered that if I ever have to replace a bad hard drive, I’d need a 3.5 inch floppy boot disk with a Ghost program on it. I had a floppy sitting around – but of course, when I tried it, it was corrupt. Five years old, gone corrupt. Maybe I’m going the same route.

My Ghost 2003 software lets me burn new recovery disks – floppies, not CD’s. I found some other floppies, but they were all bad. So I went to the local Staples to buy some fresh ones. Guess what? They don’t sell them anymore. Well, I went on Ebay and bought a box of 10 Verbatim floppies for $12. Goodness, you could get 50 DVD’s for that. But OK, maybe Verbatim floppies will last 3 or 4 years — let’s hope. Maybe by then I’ll have a new computer.

(But to be honest . . . I really don’t know why I need one. My HP Compaq with XP and a DSL connection seems to do everything I need it to.)

Perhaps I’m becoming obsolete on my job too. In a few years, if not months, they may not need what I know how to do anymore. Some super-duper enterprise software package that does it all will come along and will make all of my reports and Access mini-data applications — yes, you guessed it — OBSOLETE. If I lost my job tomorrow, I’d be lucky to get a supermarket job at $8 per hour. My computer skills are over 10 years old.

Well, perhaps it’s not as dire as I’m making it sound. Nonetheless, I recently read an interesting article in Business Week about how jobs and careers go out of date at some point.

E.g., stenographers in the legal world. In my office, we haven’t used steno since 1998, when everyone finally got PC’s (my office is obviously 10 years behind the curve; that’s the only thing that gives me hope of holding on until I reach retirement age!!). However, management was nice enough to keep the elderly ladies that were once steno whizzes as secretaries, even though they never did really get used to using computers. That was before the big moves to slash government budgets.

Another job that became obsolete not so long ago is the railroad junction switch and signal operator. That was my first real job, back when I was 18. Every switch station that I once worked is totally gone. And another job going bye-bye is the store greeter (Wal Mart recently got rid of them, and I don’t see them at the supermarket or Home Depot anymore). Soon, mail delivery people and bank tellers will follow.

Yes, the world is changing. Can I hang on another 7 years to retirement age (assuming that my finances at that point will allow retirement)? With lots of luck perhaps; but given how fast the world is changing now, it’s a scary prospect.

It’s all going too fast, I’m getting dizzy. STOP THE WORLD – I WANT TO GET OFF! (Then again, the play with that name came out in 1963; so, I guess that I’m not the first person to feel like this. Cold consolation!)

◊   posted by Jim G @ 3:07 pm      

  1. Jim, Seems like I was thinking the same tho’ts just a few days/years ago. Just the other day I too found some Verbatim floppies sitting around behind something in my desk where I have my computer. I tho’t longingly of how I used them for so many years when I was working, would slip one in, figuratively “grab” what I needed, and get on with what I was doing. Sadly, all that is long gone. No one does anything like that any more—-or maybe they do, and I’ve lost track. (I used to do medical transcription. Now the docs all do it in their office, with a picture ID of you, to make sure they are actually treating YOU. The days of knowing you personally seem long gone.)

    Then too, I had to retire back in 1993. Again, same thing as you mention: The work I did was simply out of date; no one was going to do it any more; they could see the hand, writing on the wall; so we all retired. I sometimes feel I’m the only one in the world who still can read and write shorthand—-and I probably am. (One time years ago I mentioned something about shorthand to a woman who I knew since we went to the same school back in the 1940s; she said, Oh, I’ve long forgotten all of THAT. It was incomprehensible to me at that time. Now she’s gone and so is all the work, the way I used to do it. Was it done better then? Is it better now? Can’t say either way. I DO know there was something more personal about it. Now one calls up and one must speak and respond to a computer! Oh, no thanks, I say.)

    Yes, more and more jobs are becoming obsolete. I think of all the work I did learning this and that when it was the “latest” thing that lasted tops 10 years and is now long gone.

    But somehow I found myself thinking that much of the world is still in what I have always called the “Wow” stage. That, to me, is the stage where something new comes on the market—-specifically, new computer things. (Somehow it’s always computer things. Was it the same way when the steam locomotive came out? When automobiles came out? Etc.? Probably. So maybe the “Wow” stage is not all that new.) Everybody wants it; everybody is: ”Wow! Look what I can do”. That stage lasts till the next new thing comes out; then a new something comes out and a new “Wow” stage sets in. I went thru this same thing myself when computers early arrived on the scene. Everything was “Wow”. . . until at some point it became: Who cares? I guess I can do with the “old” computer stuff. Just as you mention; and probably a very great deal like people did when the steam engine, the automobile, electricity, etc., came out.

    One of these days I figure we will have reached the end of the “Wow” stage. People will get used to their “smart” phones, Ipads, Ipods, etc. (I tend to get confused re what is what and don’t even care any more to be “unconfused”.) At some point it will all become “old”, or if not old, then just the “regular stuff” people use. I think it’s just a matter of time. And the world will keep on going as it did back in the 1960s, as it is doing now, as it will continue to do. No need to stop the world and get off. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — April 2, 2012 @ 10:03 am

  2. Mary S. and Jim G. – You’ve both made excellent points but MY feelings tend more towards Jim’s.

    In my view we are rapidly high-teching ourselves back to the dark ages and people in general were a lot happier with a lot less.

    And what does the Bible say about the increase of knowledge preceding the end of mankind?

    Best from me to you both.

    {Bertie — thanks for checking in}

    Comment by Bertie — May 6, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

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