There’s an elephant in the room. It’s something we’re talking about, but not really getting to the heart of. The elephant is our relationship with technology.
Very often, I speak with someone who says, “I’m a great manager and I’m good with people, but I absolutely am not comfortable with technology. I can do anything, but things related to technology.” I hear this feedback from all ages of job seekers, from 21 to 71.
The problem is this. We live in an age where almost everything in our lives is driven by technology. In today’s job market, we are expected to not only know about our particular subject area of expertise. We’re expected to be able to use e-mail, a cell phone, a fax machine, and more. Most people no longer have an assistant to help with tasks related to technology. This is a luxury that is quickly going away.
Some c-level executives are now booking their own travel, crunching their own numbers, and occasionally getting into the details of their company websites. It’s not enough to be good with people, or to be a good leader. Don’t get me wrong. Those things are great, but our roles have expanded.
The good news is that technology used in day-to-day business is often fairly straightforward. If we don’t know how to do something, a quick search on Google or YouTube will often give us all of the information we need. And, if it doesn’t, a friend or coworker can usually help.
I suspect that sometimes when we say, “I can do anything but technology,” what we really mean is, “I’m not a computer programmer. I can’t create technology.” Most employers aren’t looking for us to create new technology – especially if that’s not our role.
But, when we start with the stance that we aren’t comfortable with technology, it can turn our future employer off. And frankly, it should. It says that technology intimidates us. It says that we aren’t willing to learn something new.
Employers are looking to save money. They need employees who can do more than one thing. At the end of the day, what they really expect is for us to be able to manage our own business world. They expect us to be able to function fairly independently throughout the day with tasks such as managing our calendars, setting up conference calls, and creating business presentations.
When we’re interviewing for jobs, we should avoid sharing that we aren’t comfortable with technology. We should adopt a new attitude. The technology we’re expected to know isn’t typically that complex. If we don’t know something, we’ll figure it out. And, our boss doesn’t expect us to be perfect. They know we don’t know everything, but they expect us to try. When we communicate that we can’t do things related to technology, what we’re really communicating is that we’re not prepared to try. Instead, let’s make friends with technology, and leverage it to highlight things we’re great at, like working with people.
Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com.