The power of using computers and technology in your 60s

Have you reached an age where the kids, and certainly the grandkids, are convinced that being over 50 or 60 puts you in a ‘no go’ zone? Clearly the learning curve for the more senior generations can be demanding, perhaps you can relate this.

I was a contractor in a construction-related industry where I put off using a computer back in the now distant 2001-2003 periods along with many of my peers of similar ages simply because “it was all too hard”.

Well, nothing speaks louder than money in business, particularly when I saw myself losing lots of it. By now my competitors had bitten the bullet and dived in. My orders were dropping initially slowly, I was prepared to wear the small losses but back in around 2002, international software companies jumped into Australia as ‘ripe pickings’ for my industry and started offering very competitive pricing to principle companies to which I was contracting.

It was early stages and companies were balking at paying $40,000 – $60,000 and having to train and charge their contractors upwards of $5000 for ‘keys’ to use the software. In the early days the software related to the countries that developed them, namely the USA and the UK, so hurdles were there for everyone. For example, the US models measure in feet, inches and pounds – that in itself was an enormous problem and some of the importers of some overseas software companies either stopped importing or went out of business.

Australia is a small market and the major US and UK companies would not see Australia as a viable market place to produce an Australian version, at least in the short term. Everything stalled for a while because back in the early 2000s it was all too expensive and still “all too hard”.

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It was the new younger generations that ignited the use of computer design and graphics and could see a way of making life difficult for us old ‘geezers’.

Clearly the oldies had two choices, either get out of an industry that most of us had been in for many years…or embrace the modern era and the technology.

Most of us embraced the technology and also dived in, that was back in 2004.

To be honest it was probably my stubborn determination rather than my natural computer skills that kept me going. The learning curve was enormous and frustrating the one salvation was that the principle companies that themselves had embraced the software, spending several thousands of dollars did not pass key costs on to their contractors with the condition that we would attend lessons at our cost. That was fair.

It took a full six months to gain a level of confidence but in truth 12 months before I could present to a client with a chance of getting an order!

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Looking back now at the many months of anxiety and stress that I was putting myself under, I can say that every minute and the long hours have been worth it. I am now semi-retired running a great over-50 travel and event business, all thanks to being put into a position 10 years ago that I had to make a decision: grow or get left behind.

In fact on a number of occasions I have been asked to train young men and women on the systems that I was so ‘scared’ of 10 years ago, what a hoot that has been!

My advice to any senior men and women that are hesitating to learn computer skills: don’t delay. As Nike says just do it, even basic skills will open up a new and fantastic world to you.


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Tell us below, did you have an easy or hard time getting used to technology?