All about the PC Fairy
For as long as I can remember I’ve been the PC fairy to most of my family and friends. Whether it was setting up parents and in laws from scratch. Or just a tweak here and there for more tech-savvy friends. It was more likely than not to be a panic phone call that started each session off. Many of them working blind as the caller was using a different version of browser or software to me, didn’t know the basic terminology, and couldn’t really describe what had happened!
Screen displays suddenly upside down. Printers and scanners not working. They couldn’t open an attachment or were trying to recover an overwritten document. And of course the dreaded updates going haywire. None of it helped by hapless impatient clicking by the poor victims while I was telling them not to touch anything! It had its moments – not all of them happy – but we got them there in the end.
My first job …
I still remember what it was like to know absolutely nothing. The frustration, feeling stupid, and taking so long to do anything that other people could do in the blink of an eye. At the tender age of 18 and straight out of the school having never even seen a computer, I started my first ‘proper’ job. On Day 1 they told me someone had left, so I’d be taking over their job. Then they sat me at a MOP terminal of a GEORGE 3 computer with some ticker tape. I was expected to just get on with it, even though it wasn’t the job I’d been hired for. No training, no mentor, just a pile of ticker tape and some very sketchy handwritten notes.
As a civil servant working in a government establishment, there was the added complication of fairly low level security with some of the data. So at least once a week I found myself in the Head of Security’s office. Looking at my shoes and muttering abject apologies for doing something I shouldn’t – or not doing something I should – with that darned ticker tape.
They eventually decided to send me to a Computer Programming course on Day Release. No Windows in those days, this was going right back to machine code. Lots of binary stuff and loading accumulators, which was clear as mud. I never did make Programmer … and I certainly didn’t become a career Civil Servant!
In my subsequent ‘day’ jobs, I’ve had the privilege of working with some incredibly technical brains over the years. Consequently I’ve learned so much from other people’s experience. Many have been patient and graceful enough to mentor me from total ignorance to a degree of competency, putting up with a barrage of Hows, Whys and Helps along the way. With others, it just permeated through and loaded itself into memory.
For the past 23 years I’ve also been a dance teacher, running public and private classes. Initially teaching in my spare time, and for the past 6 years as my ‘day job’ (albeit mainly evenings and weekends as that is when most people have their leisure time). Although a much more physical endeavour, the similarities between the training for the two subjects are many. While my natural style is for both is friendly, informal and using plenty of humour, the content needs to structured, relevant, and within the learner’s capabilities.
Though I also enjoy teaching more experienced students to do the whizzy stuff, it‘s always an absolute delight for me to pass on a few simple tips to get a complete novice up and running, just to see their beaming smile and such a sense of achievement after maybe only 30 minutes – whether it’s on a computer as the PC Fairy or on the dancefloor as the Dancing Queen!
PS If you’d like to find out more about learning to dance, have a look at my TeachMe2Dance website. Click on the link below: