Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

We Swear by Our New Software

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

We Swear by Our New Software

Article excerpt

I've been doing some thinking about workplace stress. In fact, since my department here at the Post-Gazette switched over to our new computer system, I have thought of little else.

Ordinarily, I would not bother you with our tatty pile of dirty laundry. You have problems of your own. But misery loves company, and this misery may sound throbbingly familiar to you.

For years, you have been doing your job with aplomb and a certain degree of confidence. Perhaps you do it with panache or verve; perhaps you do it with quiet reliability. You can even look past your workday and anticipate a peacefully productive evening at home, assuming you don't have children.

And then one day they inform you that your work life is about to be vastly improved. (You know who "they" are. They are always in meetings and leave the office at the same time every day.) You are getting new computer software that will usher in a golden age of joyous efficiency and effortless power.

Depending on how many times you have been through this experience, you are filled with varying degrees of dread.

You endure training. You take notes. You ask questions and get answers like, "Let me check on that," "Is that something you do?" and "That's a bug we've asked the programmers to look at."

Finally, they declare you trained and you log into the new world. Congratulations! You are now an incompetent boob.

When I started at the Post-Gazette a mere decade ago, we laid out pages on sheets of paper with page grids printed on them. In '98, we went to computerized layout with a software package touted as "the Cadillac of pagination systems." Turned out it was more of an Edsel.

So here we are again, training and straining. If the last transition was going from a horse-and-buggy to a car, this is like going from a car to a spacecraft.

Houston, we have a problem.

I swear, my job actually has become more difficult and time- consuming. …

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