I am at the end of my rope with all of the new software platforms my company expects me to use as part of my job. Every time I turn around, there is a new app introduced but never any training. Or, if the app itself does provide training, it takes time to watch the videos and learn—which means doing it on weekends or at night because I still have my job which takes up all of my workday.
The other problem is that some people I work with never bother to learn the new systems and continue to use the old processes. So instead of being proficient with the same amount of platforms, the number just keeps growing. My organization recently rolled out a new platform for one process only to realize it didn’t do everything they needed it to do, so they scrapped it and brought in another one. Those of us who took the time to sign up, get the lay of land, and start using it were literally punished for being good organizational citizens.
I feel like my brain is going to explode. I imagine this is true everywhere. How are people putting up with this in other organizations? I should note that I am a Millennial, so this isn’t a technophobe Boomer talking.
I can’t imagine you have any wisdom here except for “suck it up buttercup,” but at least I got to vent.
Can you help me to…
Manage the Madness?
Dear Manage the Madness,
Considering I am suffering from the same systems whiplash, and I am a “technophobe Boomer,” you are right: I don’t have much for you on this. (Just for the record, I prefer the term digital immigrant to technophobe Boomer as a label. But don’t worry, I am smiling as I mention that.)
You are right, I haven’t talked to a single person who isn’t bedeviled by the overwhelming number of new systems and technologies to master. And, at least in my case, every one of them requires email and cell phone authentication and my company’s firewall makes that an adventure in total frustration.
I brought your topic to a couple of folks to get some ideas for you—although, again, you are right, there are precious few. But here is what I have for you:
- Maybe stop being such a good organizational citizen, and let others be early adopters when possible. Why can’t you be one of the people who stick with the old system until the company gets rid of it? If your experience is one of being punished, maybe take better care of yourself and lag with the rest of the laggers.
- Escalate your frustration to your boss or the executive team. If you are lucky, your organization has a CTO or a VP of Technology who might listen if enough people beg for some relief. Or maybe your organization will provide some kind of recognition for early adopters and possibly some training during the workday so that keeping up is seen as part of the job and not extracurricular.
- Lobby the powers that be to work with vendors of new platforms to go the extra mile and build in a single sign-on so all of the platforms are more easily accessible. (You didn’t mention this as one of your issues, but it sure is one of mine!)
- If you continue to be an early adopter, provide early feedback on the system to whoever is requiring you to use it. That way you might at least get recognized for your efforts.
- I have no problem with your venting, but consider venting to someone who can do something about it—like a senior executive who can insist that everyone get on board with new systems at the same time so you don’t have to wrestle with the old and the new.
Finally, much to my chagrin, I am pretty sure this type of thing is here to stay and is just another new fact of life. As I write this, there are developers madly coding new (“improved” haha!) platforms for us to have to learn. The only silver lining I can see—and, believe me, I remind myself of it often—is that all of this constant learning is good for our brains. As a millennial, that isn’t something you are concerned about yet. But if you are lucky, you will be soon enough.
Madeleine Homan Blanchard is a master certified coach, author, speaker, and cofounder of Blanchard Coaching Services. Madeleine’s Advice for the Well Intentioned Manager is a regular Saturday feature for a very select group: well intentioned managers. Leadership is hard—and the more you care, the harder it gets. Join us here each week for insight, resources, and conversation.
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