The Life and Times of a Technophobe

As many of you may be aware, I’m certainly not a technical goddess as much as I may try. So I wrote this article for work, showing to the other technophobes of the world that it is okay to not always get it right! Feel free to laugh, share, and comment your thoughts if you struggle with the same issues!

It’s always a nerve-wracking experience when you walk into a new job, especially when stepping into the jaws of an office full of women who will instantly judge you as a person just by what you’re wearing on your first day, and then proceed to tell everyone else who hasn’t met you yet about their perceptions of the ‘newbie’. Admittedly, not every office falls into this category (thankfully), but first impressions are the main concern  for someone who’s about to start a new career with a job title they can’t even define!

The first few hours and days in your new environment, you begin to understand how Bambi felt when tentatively stepping onto ice for the first time; you’re being dragged in so many different directions trying to keep up with the flow of the office and end up face-planting the 20-year-old, rarely-hoovered carpet. Perfect. But between attempting to memorise where every piece of stationery is carefully hidden and explaining to your boss for the fifth time, “I’m okay, I don’t need another plaster, the bleeding has stopped now,” you’ve yet to warn anyone your biggest phobia – technology.

You’re like the man in the Skittles advert who touches things and objects magically disappear when it comes to anything remotely technical. It’s the kiss of death – if you come into contact with electrical equipment and it doesn’t break, shut down or catch fire, it’s been a good day! However, explaining this fear to a colleague (or god forbid, someone in HR) sends shivers down your spine, especially after applying for an admin job and subtly misleading your employers on your CV saying you’re ‘competent in Microsoft Office.’ Surely it’s not lying, just bending the truth ever so slightly?

And it certainly isn’t helped being constantly surrounded by machines almost the same size as you, and hundreds of thousands of black cables knotted together that would even give someone from MENSA a headache to unravel, knowing that if you tugged or tripped on just one of these death traps, the whole building could be sent into an unwelcomed blackout for hours to come. It’s as if these robot-like automatrons are baiting you into making a mistake.

But you carry on attempting to understand the complexities of an Excel spreadsheet, and refuse to cave in to technical difficulties until you’ve exhausted all other possible options, including hitting the computer with the hammer you snuck into your desk drawer from your partner’s toolbox. Although, it gets to the point where you have no choice but to ring up someone from I.T support to help you find some important client documents you accidentally deleted from your boss’ file two days ago and haven’t yet been able to retrieve.

A few weeks pass, and you’re starting to settle into the normal 9-5 routine for the first time in years, so you decide to brave the printer and change the paper. But you got a little cocky, didn’t you? You inadvertently lean on one too many buttons and suddenly English isn’t the Canon’s first language anymore… It’s in German. Another trek with your head held down to Tech Support – you’re on a first name basis with almost all of the team, despite only calling for them in emergencies, and you’ve been there less than a month. That’s got to be a new record in the building.

However, you’re forgetting the bigger picture. Yes, you may not be the most technically-gifted person like the guys in the Apple Store, and you still might not fully grasp the concept of Microsoft Office despite numerous tutorials from almost every member of staff in the office, but you’re still here. The women who instantly judged you in those critical first seconds have now become drinking partners out of working hours, and the injuries sustained at work have dropped to just about an acceptable level for an overly-clumsy human being. But you’ve done it, you still have a job, despite setting the fire alarm off instead of turning the light switch off, forcing everyone in the building to frantically save their latest work and peg it outside knowing a practice drill wasn’t announced in the last newsletter.

These colleagues have taken you under their wing and haven’t kicked you out yet; you must be doing SOMETHING right…




The adventurous tales of Miss Martin

Becky with others in the scheme

Becky with others in the YFC scheme

Five weeks ago, Becky left our cosy office in Southampton to throw herself into a year-long project, teaching kids dance and perform as part of the Youth for Christ (YFC) scheme. Despite it being a completely new challenge, she’s settling in brilliantly.

Week 1 was a training week and meeting the other volunteers on the programme, but the real fun began in the second week up in Birmingham; being thrown in at the deep end, Becky had to contend with a temporary host home as well as the hefty timetable.

Luckily, her temporary move was made much easier by the woman she was staying with. She had been part of Stance (the street crew) for two years and calmed any nerves of the scheme and moving away.

Most days are spent learning choreography and creating workshop routines to teach later in the week or the year, and the evenings consist of the youth work. The kids are lovely (most are from the church, but there are some that are new) but nerves kicked in before the first Friday.

Normally, around 150 13-16 year olds turn up every week but Becky coped very well, proving she’s definitely in the right place. The church (Zion Christian Centre) has about 500 members so it can be chaos, but it’s worth every minute of it.

Now all settled into her proper host home for the next year, the lady she’s staying with goes to the church and knows the ins and outs (which is quite handy!) To make the deal even sweeter, the house is only a 30 minute walk away, so Becky’s getting plenty of exercise at the moment!

Fort Rocky

Fort Rocky – the training camp

Fort Rocky (a group specialising in youth weekends away) invited the street crew to Litchfield on 19th September and put them all through their paces. Becky and her team not only looked after the children, but the youth leaders too who would normally look after the young people. The most nerve-wrecking part of the trip was being asked to host a session and telling them her experiences with God. But after explaining her reasons for joining YFC and Stance to the young people, the response was incredible. Even one of the young leaders thanked her for her story.

Last Saturday was an early start for Becky, taking part in her first mission for Stance, and toured Reigate – near Gatwick – with Nomad (YFC’s other touring crew), a cage football team. Organising 50 children between the ages of 5 and 11 which was a challenge for her but she came through the other side.

Becky 2

Becky practicing the choreography

Teaching a dance workshop for 45 minutes and watching the kids improve must be one of the most rewarding parts of her gap year so far, and it is just a sign of things to come.

Even though all of us in the office are missing her, we’re proud of our girl. Keep it up Becky, and keep donating to get her to her £1500 target!