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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Changes

Tuesday afternoons I work at the Clubhouse. My usual duties involve taking reservations for events and answering questions of residents and potential buyers. For some reason, my duties have expanded and I usually have to type lists for events and adding names to our website. I do enjoy this extra work, but it means that I can no longer sit at the desk and read.

Today I had to type a list of over 200 names and then alphabetize the list. When I saw this list, all I could think was, "How did we ever manage before Excel?" It made me realize all the changes that have taken place in offices in the past 50 years.

It would have taken me hours to alphabetize that list, then I would have had to use my math skills to make sure each column was the correct size and everything was centered. Of course, if I made a typo, I would have had to erase or later use white-out, or type the whole thing over. To make matters worse, 50 years ago all this would have been done on a manual typewriter with maybe two or three carbon copies.
Most offices didn't have Xerox machines.

Telephones have also changed. Years ago, the phone would ring very loudly, not the chimes some phones have. If we were very busy and calls came in, we had to stop what we were doing and answer the phone, there was no voice mail. And, of course, executives never answered their own phone, the secretary had to answer and screen the calls.

Life is so much easier now. On my last job, I had to send about 100 invitations to a golf outing. I just typed the letter once, and had a list of the names and addresses and used mail merge. Everything was printed out perfectly. When I started working, if I had to send 100 invitations, each had to be typed individually.

I know that talking about how things were makes me look old, it doesn't seem like 50 years ago that I started working. I really appreciate the progress that has been made. To paraphrase the old commercial, "We've come a long way baby".

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