Vault's Careers Blog

Career advice and job search strategies for the modern careerist

Lessons from Celebrity Apprentice (Weeks 3 & 4): Technology is Your Friend

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Yesterday, former Governor Rod Blagojevich was fired from the Celebrity Apprentice, and it was about time.

In addition to his strange need to talk in confusing circles while never actually getting to the point of his comments, Blagojevich was easily distracted in his efforts to prove himself amidst allegations that he tried to sell President Barack Obama’s senate seat. He also proved to be a very ineffective leader, constantly demonstrating a lack of real desire to actually lead his team, even when being named a project manager.  But probably the biggest problem facing “Blago” was his severe lack of knowledge of anything pertaining to computers and even the most limited forms of technology.

One of my biggest pet peeves is a lack of initiative when it comes to learning technology.  In a technological age, there is no reason for people not to accept the fact that in order to get ahead in this world, they need to know every new trick of the trade.  Memo: The Internet is not a fad.

Last week, Blago was given a task to type portions of text to be used in an advertorial.  The former governor was shown using one, maybe two fingers, to type each letter one painstaking stroke at a time.  After a lengthy attempt, his teammates were left wondering how he only managed to bang out only a few paragraphs with words clearly misspelled.  How can someone make it up the ladder without learning simple keyboarding skills when that is a requirement in most schools?

This week, faced up against Victoria’s Secret model Selita Ebanks*, Blago’s technological ineptitude showed no bounds, as the former governor opened up his Celebrity Apprentice laptop and promptly lifted it up and searched all around the hardware, looking for a spot that would accept a DVD with information on the new Harry Potter attraction.  Ebanks had no problem researching her team’s latest task to promote the Universal Studios feature and quickly began sketching designs and texting them to her teammates back in New York after she landed in Florida.  Blago could not master the technology and even looked lost making a cell phone call back to his teammates.  When pressed for further information, the former governor could not go into detail because his opponent was standing next to him.  Ebanks had no such issues, as whatever she couldn’t say in front of Blago, she texted or emailed to her team.  When she made her strategy evident to her opponent, Blagojevich admitted that he did not know how to text.

On the flight back home, as Ebanks worked tirelessly on her computer, she was shocked to discover her male counterpart uninterested in even touching the computer, and instead sleeping across from her until the plane landed back in New York.  Blagojevich noted his inability to learn technology and claimed it would not get in the way of his team’s success, intelligently claiming that it would instead be used as an excuse should his team lose.  And they did lose.  And Blago’s difficulty in communicating was discussed by his teammates.  And Blagojevich was fired.  Rightfully so.

Whether you are looking for a job, need to update your resume or are trying to advance in your career, pretending that technology is not a factor is a prescription for failure.  You might be able to mask your inefficiencies for a little while, but in the end, that lack of knowledge will cost you a job, a promotion and may eventually even cost you your job.  Regardless of age or finances, there are ways to get past this digital divide.  For example, the New York Public Library offers free computer classes, as do libraries throughout the country.  Free!

In addition, many parents who are struggling with the Internet, iPhone apps, Twitter updates, LinkedIn connections, Digg, Reddit, and the like, may simply have to leave their pride at the door and ask their children for some help.  Yes, just as your parents may have enlisted your help in programming the clock on the VCR (remember those?), so too could your kids share their knowledge, and have you tweeting in no time.  And it can be a bonding experience, too.

If you have money, you can pay for computer classes.  If you already have rudimentary computer skills (which I’m assuming you do, being on this blog!), try watching a YouTube video to learn from others.  If you have some time on your hands, just play around with the computer and learn through trial and error.  And if your company offers, always accept additional training.

We live in a new age.  Open up your mind to the possibilities.

*An earlier version called the contestant Selma Banks. Thanks to reader Charlesd129 for pointing out our error.

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One Response

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  1. Nice article, but the model’s name is actually Selita Ebanks, not Selma Banks…

    Charles

    April 8, 2010 at 5:54 am


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