With the rise of smartphones and tablets, it's easy to take for granted that everyone carries around a mini computer and knows how to use it. But it wasn't long ago when PCs were exotic items, tech savvy was hard to come by, and we in IT had to spell out in no uncertain terms how the machines worked. (Granted, we still do all that, but in some cases, the learning curve isn't quite as steep now.)
Our IT department lived out this scenario regularly, supporting numerous employees who'd been with the organization since its inception -- back when paper was the bloodline of the office and the AS400 was considered a technological marvel.
[ Also on InfoWorld: Is your pay measuring up? The 2014 tech salary guide. | Pick up a $50 American Express gift cheque if we publish your story: Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. | Get a dose of workplace shenanigans -- follow Off the Record on Twitter. ]
Though the technology evolved during these users' tenure at the company, let's just say their computer fluency didn't increase as much as their age. As frustrating as it can be for us in IT to explain the basics over and over again, for these users it must be maddening to struggle with computer knowledge and processes that are second nature to later generations. Of course, it leads to rather interesting conversations.
When this story took place, everyone used small tower PCs and flat-screen monitors. The lease on all the monitors was up, so we had to ship them back to headquarters and swap in new ones.
It was a routine operation for us in the IT department. We let everyone know what was going to happen, then started working our way from desk to desk.