Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

New Employee Needs Technological Help

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a new job, but I am worried that I am in over my head because of the technology. I don’t really know how to use the different programs that we have been asked to use on a daily basis. I didn’t lie about it when I took the job. Nobody asked me. I think they assumed that everybody knows how to use things like Microsoft Office and Excel. I hardly know how to use the computer. I’m not so old; it’s just that in my previous jobs I mainly worked with my hands. I wasn’t in an office, and I never learned this stuff. I need this job and need to figure out how to do these basic things before I get fired. I’m afraid to talk to my boss about it. What should I do? -- Luddite

DEAR LUDDITE: Technology has moved at such a rapid pace that it is easy to be left behind. And that’s for people who are relatively tech-savvy. For someone who hasn’t had the need to engage with technology on a daily basis, it makes sense that your job seems daunting. The good news is that there’s tons of help out there. Look in your office manual, if you have one, to see if your company offers any technical support. There’s a good chance that some basic training is offered for certain programs that your company regularly uses. Beyond that, go online and look for courses -- some free, others at a nominal charge -- that will teach you how to operate specific programs, including how to use shortcuts when possible.

I found one source that offers training across many platforms that may help you: Don’t give up. Just get the tutoring you need. Spend a few hours each night after work studying and practicing, and you will be proficient in no time!

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who was going to get married this spring. Now she has pushed it out for at least a year. It is a destination wedding. I already told her that I can’t go, but I didn’t tell her why. I can’t afford it, plus I don’t even have a passport, believe it or not. I am embarrassed that I’m so ill-prepared to be there for my friend, but now, on top of everything else, I’m nervous about traveling in the aftermath of coronavirus. Do you think I’m being too paranoid? We don’t know when the wedding will be, but probably next year. -- Attending a Wedding

DEAR ATTENDING A WEDDING: Take a deep breath and relax. You do not have to make a decision right now. But it is good for you to examine your fears and apprehensions around traveling. When we get to the point that it feels safe to venture out again, it could be wonderful for you to support your friend by attending her destination wedding. It is very easy to apply for a passport. You can get one as an American citizen even if you never take a trip overseas. In terms of budgeting, save money as you can for a travel fund. It can be little bits at a time. You may be surprised at how much you can stash away if you set your mind to it.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)