Advice for Technophobes

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

I confess—computer technology makes me nervous. How can I overcome this silly fear? It’s a real drag.

First of all, it’s not silly. It’s serious and fairly common. In this age of advanced technology, it’s a major handicap. I know accountants with this problem, and many have told me they’ve learned to perform their necessary computer tasks by memorizing a series of fixed procedures. And while this rote method is effective in getting the job at hand done, it has a downside: If something goes wrong or if a wrong button is accidentally pressed, the user is at a loss about what to do next.

I encourage these users, in addition to learning by rote, to invest time playing on the computer. All computers have built-in games: They’re fun, easy to use and they give users a technology experience without feeling the threat of failure. I emphasize the words invest time, because it is a real investment with a real payback: computer self-sufficiency.

I also encourage experimenting. Try new functions on each application and remember this wonderful keystroke combo: Ctrl+Z, which usually takes you back one step and erases the mistake. In a short time, the threat of failure will ease and you will begin to experience the power of the computer.

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