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{25/03/2012}   Office life in 2000: floppy discs and fax machines

Floppy disks, fax machines, non-internet PC, paper and pens, landlines … I last worked in an office in 2000. I did a temp credit control job and these were the most used things to aid me in my work. I may not have fully embraced the modern age in terms of technology but I am glad things have progressed. I think.

If somebody needed a document straight away, I would have to fax it. I was never a big fan of fax machines though. All communication was via the telephone and any additional information would be posted. I used to write and print out lots of letters and attach statements, etc, then make sure they caught the day’s post run. This makes me feel old, but it really wasn’t that long ago.

I realise that I have never had a work email, I have never had to deal with daily bombardments of emails. Opening the post doesn’t seem as intrusive or needy, plus you could easily deny having received something in the post. If you deny receipt of an email, it can be re-sent immediately. The horror. No escape.

Distractions? Well, there was the odd sneaky phone call on the work landline and there were more mugs of tea than were strictly necessary, largely made so I could have a chat and a gossip with colleagues. We did not have the internet, or if we did I didn’t use it. I never had a work email or Facebook or Skype or search engines and I didn’t have a mobile phone (some people in the office did but as a lot of people didn’t have them still, they were expensive to use and there weren’t smartphones). If I needed to get the phone number of a debtor I would have to call directory enquiries. It somehow all worked.

If I needed to give information from my PC to someone in a different part of the building I would either have to print it out or save it onto a floppy disc and hand over the disk. I don’t recall ever wishing there were a simpler way to do things because I doubt it even occurred to me that it would be possible to improve and make easier my working day. I feel that doing that job then would have taken up more time than it would today.

However, I do get easily distracted and I have a suspicion I would get the same amount of work done today, despite it all taking less time. I would ponce about on the Internet and Facebook, I suspect I would write a few blog posts, I would keep up to date with texts, instant messenger … The thought of having to wade through irrelevant emails and receiving huge numbers of them every day (I only used to get a few letters in the post for work) horrifies me. It was only yesterday that I realised I haven’t worked in an office in the days of modern technology. That’ll look great on my CV! With my stenography job, I have only just progressed to a machine that doesn’t take a floppy disc and it was only five or six years ago that we went from cassettes to digital recording. Whatever next? I will be way out of my depth if I ever work in an office!

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