Workplace Rights

Weekly (10/4/10)

Topic of the Week  Toy Story--Adapting to New Technology at Work

DO allow tech to change you.
DO participate.
DO acknowledge you'll surrender some privacy.
DON'T stop other people from embracing it.

I admit it, I'm a technology freak and I've got drawers full of useless high tech gadgets to prove it. But today's constantly changing technology landscape leaves even me gasping for air at times. Which reminds me of a trip to the New Jersey shore. On the Seaside Heights boardwalk last summer there was a booth where you could shoot paintballs at a current villain of our society. A few years ago it was Osama bin Laden, followed by Saddam Hussain. Today's villain? Geeks!

I knew that there was a backlash against technology, but who knew that it included shooting paintballs at a symbolic nerd with a huge head? Sure it's fun to make fun of geeks, but let's face it, they often hold our destiny in their sweaty little hands. That's why I've included three Do's and one Don't for keeping abreast of today's latest technology. For more, check out "The Boss's Survival Guide" by Rosner and Halcrow (McGraw Hill, 2010).

DO allow tech to change you. For every audiophile who can't live without their vinyl records, there are many more of us who love our iPods chock full of thousands of MP3 songs. Chances are, there are also similar places where new technology has changed you and how you do business. I'm not saying that you should throw out the baby, or your vinyl records, with the bathwater, but you should open yourself up to being changed by technology.

DO participate. Okay, I've been a reluctant participant with Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. I'm on all three, but my time and effort has been limited. Okay, almost non-existent. But I've met friends who found jobs, valuable information and made great connections on these services. It's important to have one foot in the latest technology, especially if you're older, with today's ever-present social networking technology.

DO acknowledge you'll surrender some privacy. There is a recent trend of many younger people removing online pictures of them partying, in recognition that many employers are now searching the Internet for information about potential hires. I know that it's possible to limit the information available about you on the Net, but I guess I'm old school in thinking that it's even better to not put incriminating information out there for even a few people to see. Think before you post.

DON'T stop other people from embracing it. The worst is when employers limit the use of technology by employees. I'm not talking about online shopping during work hours. IM, Twitter, even the PC, there is a long list of technologies that organizations initially resisted when employees wanted to use them on company time. Leaders need to understand that much of this technology will help your employees to be more networked, engaged and productive. So it's important to have an open mind when a new technology hits your organization.

Yes, it was a bit ironic that those paint-ballers were using technology to attack technology. Just be careful to not make the same mistake where you work.

About The Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

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