An over 50 embracing technology
Many over 50’s readers would have grown up with the presumption that you would finish school, either study or go into a job where you would stay for the next 50 years.
In today’s society, particularly with the rapid changes in technology, employment is transient and you need be adaptable, resilient and prepared for many changes during your working career.
I myself have gone through a number of circuitous changes since I first left school in the early 80’s. By thinking positively and embracing change as it comes along you can not only survive, but enjoy the change.
Leaving school, I joined one of the major banks. Even as recently as the 80’s it was considered a “suitable job” for a young lady until she got married, had children and settled down to “blissful domesticity”.
When I was a teller, we used to lock ourselves into wooden booths, with chutes out the back for the cheques and credits, and a slot in which the staff could slip new passbooks to be opened. These days passbooks are held only by little old ladies who don’t trust” those plastic cards”
The proof machine operator then came along and ran all these vouchers through a machine, which separated all the cheques into the various banks, which were then posted to the other banks for clearance. Yes I do mean snail mail.
A clerk on the other end then went through the ledger and checked there were enough funds in the account to ‘clear’ the local cheques.
Like most industries, automated banking has rendered most of these processes as redundant as a newspaper journalist, which was the next chapter in my working career.
During my period of “blissful domesticity” while the children were small I took the opportunity to study journalism remotely – something I could not have done before the internet age.
This led to the position which defined me for the better part of 20 years, working firstly as a journalist and then as newspaper editor for a large country news organisation.
I became known locally as “the paper lady”. I doubt any of my children would remember a time when I did anything other than work in newspapers. They became proficient at drawing lines on pages to plan the next edition if they wanted me out of the office to get them to their many extra curricular activities.
I was one of those old editors with ‘ink in their veins’ who relished the smell and feel of a fresh edition of the paper, which was ‘put to bed’ the night before.
“Cut and paste” literally meant cutting and pasting the tipex-covered copy (which had been typed on a manual typewriter) onto the pages, which were driven out to the train to be taken to the printery for typesetting and printing.
For over 20 years, I covered the highs and lows of rural communities. I was the advocate and support for those unable to speak for themselves. The conduit for the minutae of daily rural life, the reporter of good news, bad news and the downright entertaining.
Eventually that ink well also died out- going the way of the old lino-type operators and hot metal presses, courtesy of the very technology which is bringing you this blog.
Which fortunately coincided with another round of self-evaluation.
Time to slow down
At first you don’t realise that you are going a little faster, doing a little more, until you have the opportunity to stop, restock and re-evaluate as I did.
Why I was working 40, then 50 and soon 60 hours a week? Is it what I wanted to do? I went to work and came home too exhausted to do anything. Not gardening, not showing my dogs, not sewing or quilting or any of the things I enjoy doing but simply didn’t have the time to do.
Decathecting myself from a position which had identified me for half my life was not easy. However despite the obstacles, a change needed to be made.
First step was to update my resume and submit it to a couple of potential employers. Just to get the feelers out, so that over the next 12 months or so, I may be able to make a serious career change.
In one of those rare moments when everything just seems to come together, within three days I was offered a position at my old bank. The fine details, such as lack of company car and phone sorted themselves out quickly.
Ironically, five years on I found myself in a similar position. Long hours, automation and job stress meant a change needed to be made once again.
Resumes were again sent out and a part time job quickly materialised.
Leaving me time to return to my two passions, travel and writing. I had been playing with our travel blog for about a year, and decided two months ago to put my journalistic and marketing skills and experience to use to “see where it could go”
Keeping pace with modern technology
The last couple of months have been a steep learning curve, as I catch up with the technology of social media and web publishing that I had left behind when I left the media industry.
But the same old editorial principles of content, promotion and circulation are the same, just on a different platform. So thank you to my many followers on numerous platforms who have encouraged me with incremental success in my blog over just two months.
I may have been going round in circles for my working life, but you have to have confidence in yourself to go with the constant changes of modern life.