I’ve had the luxury of working for companies that like old school software products. Like Microsoft Word 2000. It was only a couple years ago that my former firm bumped up to Word 2003. I have never used Word 2007 in my life.
For an employment test.
I had an appointment today to meet with a recruiter in Charlotte about some contract legal word processing work. She asked me to block out about four hours to do the paperwork and testing. I got there at 9:45 a.m. and began filling out the paperwork (which was required by the agency since I was getting paid for my time today). At 10 a.m. I was almost done, and they led 5-6 of us into a computer lab to begin the test. I finished my paperwork at 10:10 a.m. and began my test.
The test consisted of several items: transcription of a 3-minute deposition; creating an Excel chart, creating a Powerpoint flow chart, and then formatting some stuff in Word, including an automated Table of Contents, creating/applying styles, and automated outline numbering. Pretty basic stuff for me.
In Word 2000/2003.
Not Word 2007.
I stared in horror at the Word 2007 interface. Where did everything go? All my lovely toolbars and functions that for the past 15+ years have been in the exact same place every working day of my life.
I had to do columns. Where is my columns function? Oh, there it is. click!. Uh….why isn’t it converting my text into three lovely columns? click again. Where are my damn columns?
We’ll move on. Automated Table of Contents. Where are my field codes? Where. are. my. field – oh, there they are. click! Wait – that’s not what it’s supposed to look like. click click click! That’s still not right. grumble grumble. Moving on again!
Let’s do the transcription. I loaded everything up and hit the pedal – and no sound came out. Dangit! Why isn’t the audio playing? click! There it is. Wait, rewind – I missed that. Wait – it’s not rewinding! REWIND! REWIND!
I’m telling you, it was a comedy of errors during this test. I got the transcription done easily enough once the pedal worked properly, and went back into Powerpoint to create the flowchart. Wait – where’s my “Draw” toolbar that normally sits at the bottom of the screen? WHAT DID BILL GATES DO??? THERE WAS NO NEED TO MESS UP ALL THE PROGRAMS!!!
Alas, at 12:20 p.m. I was mostly done. The only thing left was those damn columns, which I still couldn’t get to split into three proper columns. The recruiter came in the room and I signaled for her. She came over and I showed her that my screen shows that there are columns, and the settings show there are columns, but the text isn’t splitting into columns. She had no answer for me, saying she doesn’t use advanced functions in Word. Advanced functions? Columns? Really? She walked away and I decided to give it one more shot. Sure enough, there’s a function in Word called “Column break” which I have NEVER NEEDED TO USE IN MY LIFE. It exists in Word 2000 too, but I’ve never needed to use it because my columns always break perfectly. So I discovered something new today. A super-crazy advanced function called “Column break.” Who knew?
So I did my column breaks, ran spell check, looked through my test papers one more time to make sure I did everything, and saved my document. It was 12:25 p.m. I looked around the room, and of the three women whose screens I could see, I was not only the only one finished, but the only one who would most likely finish until at least 1 p.m.
I picked up my stuff and headed out to the lobby, where I met the recruiter. Her eyes opened in shock, “You’re done already?” She looked at the clock in surprise.
“I am,” I replied. “It was hard though – I’ve never worked in Word 2007 before. I probably could have finished it faster if I was familiar with Word 2007.”
She gaped at me. “And you did everything?” she asked. “The transcription too?”
“Yes. I did that first.”
“Wow. Okay! Well, go ahead and sign out here. We’ll contact you at the end of the month when the work is about to begin. And look for a check for today’s time in the mail sometime in the next week or so.”
It helps that I have a solid word processing background. It also helps that I love software and even if it’s a program I don’t know well, I can figure it out pretty quickly. I can use Word 2000/2003 in my sleep, so adjusting to Word 2007 didn’t take too much time.
But I don’t see ANY additional functionality that warranted these changes in the software program. The program worked fine just the way it was. Making the toolbar/menu changes it made didn’t make it any easier or more efficient. It’s just as well we did the test in Word 2007 today. If we hadn’t, I would have only gotten paid for two hours instead of two and a half!
So that was my day today. I came home, had some lunch, hopped onto my part-time online job for about 45 minutes, and waited for the kids to get home. They are currently out back jumping on the trampoline and having a grand old time, and I’m here telling you my story.
Next up: Meatloaf for dinner. Yum!