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Tracy’s Thoughts: Agents of Change

July 24, 2014

tracyI’ve always disliked that title. Or worse, “change agents.”  But you have to admit, they have a real ring to them: cutting edge, driver of newness, destroyer of… okay, getting carried away.

I first heard the term in the 1980s or 1990s at a seminar the company put on to teach all to be change agents. Drive the company to new heights and purge the non-believers. Maybe a bit much, but the name has this dynamic to it. Venturing into the bright new future and carrying the torch of progress!

I could never really figure out what they were wanting from us (I might have been a poor candidate).  All of the classes, hiding cheese books, and such were more and more of the same: things all around us were changing and we must keep up! The old phrase, “A keen perception of the obvious,” comes to mind. I recently saw another seminar (thankfully not from my company) that was touting the benefits of accepting change. There must be buckets of money in selling this stuff.

My father was a printer as far back as I can remember. He and his father printed some of the first Seafair programs, so I am told. Sometime in the late 1950s he traveled back east to see a new printing method that involved photography rather than type setting. Changed everything.

My first company job in insurance was in an underwriting department with World War II era double-pedestal wooden desks. Marvelous things. A few years after that we got cubicles and phones that did not have 5 buttons. Our claims sheets became printouts from this huge air-conditioned room in the basement with row after row of tape machines processing and storing information. Sometime in the late 1970s a monitor was slapped on my desk one morning and much of our stuff was showing up there and not on paper. It was called a “dumb monitor,” the only computer term I ever really liked. I invested in a company that made monitors at that time, my first venture into the stock market. The company stock went up like a rocket and blew up the same way. A bit later a new high tech company was coming along named Microsoft, but I was not going to be stupid twice…

A PC was mailed to me in 1989, I think. IBM XT. We unpacked it, stared at it, and tried to sort out what to do with it. That was resolved pretty quickly when my annual budget was mailed to me on a big old floppy disk on Lotus 123. Had to learn both to work on the budget; home office was not much help. About a year after that, we all had PCs and were linked to Home Office in one form or another. Everything was done on them. I now have a laptop computer that probably has the computing power to operate a moderate-sized country’s accounting system. I have also been issued something called a tablet that is like a computer but smaller and more annoying.

Continuing on this downhill trend, I made a mistake and bought a cell phone. My life is tied to the thing. The flip phone gave way to a Blackberry then an Android (there is probably some fellow making millions thinking up nonsense names that become commonly accepted) and now an iPhone. Bought it this year and find it has been replaced already by a newer, sleeker model.  You can’t even play golf and be away from the office. It gets emails so I have to deal with those everywhere I am. People don’t call, they email or now text. That is confusing, by the way: text is words, so everything is text, isn’t it?

I am not going to talk about the difference between my first car and the one I have now.

So what changes are they talking about that I am having trouble adapting to?

Our new series, Tracy’s Thoughts, is a once or twice-monthly smorgasbord of thoughts from our Subscriber Services Manager, Tracy Skinner. Topics will range from vending at conventions to the importance of insurance, and beyond! We hope you enjoy Tracy’s thoughts and stop by for more!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 24, 2014 11:12 am

    Very entertaining, Tracy! I’m pretty sure most people can relate to all the changes you’ve written! We are all tied to our mobile phones (that “thing”) 24/7! But let the wave of change continue…it will get better, I hope.

    • July 24, 2014 11:14 am

      Thank you, Maria! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      -Tracy

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