Talking blue skies

In his monthly “Talking Blue Skies” column, management consultant Des Budd answers your work-related problems

Q: I am a qualified social worker and my job is assessing service users and purchasing care. But my manager says I have to use a new computer system in order to do it. But I am scared of computers. Should I stay or go?

A: Back in the 1980s, I used an Alan Sugar Amstrad computer to write letters informing people they were fired. So I feel well placed to answer your query. Sadly, without being ageist, it is a common problem among staff of a certain age.

It’s time to recognise that the magic box on your desk is an essential tool for the modern social worker. Surfing the super highway can be fabulous fun and if you want to become a successful care enabler you need to stop shuffling paper and start catching some serious waves.

If I was commissioned to work with your team I would take you all out somewhere nice perhaps a local luxury hotel. First we would set ground rules that would give me the opportunity to start working the room. Next we would do an ice breakermy name is my favourite computer error message isWe would have a challenging agenda looking at the workings of the system. All this would be interspersed with video clips from Tron the movie – one of my all time favourites – or a Bill Gates motivational CD.

At the end of the day you would be a qualified systems analyst who could write programs in many computer languages. So a social care database may still cause you a few problems but at least you’d know where the “on” button is and how to look busy.

This article is published in the 30 July 2009 edition of Community Care magazine under the headline Talking Blue Skies

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