Can You Really Teach an Old Dog?


I suppose I consider myself one of those “old dogs,” and yes, it’s true, you CAN teach an old dog!

I’ve been in office administration since I was a “tween.” I remember coming home from school every day with purple hands from volunteering in the office. We used a mimeograph machine that used purple ink to make copies of handouts and test papers for the teachers.

I remember Typing 101 in 9th grade and being afraid to move from a manual typewriter to an IBM Selectric because it might be too fast for me.

And I’ll never forget being on the “knows little or nothing” list in 1995 when my company got computers. The advice I got from the tech about learning to use a mouse? “Play solitaire.”

Yep, I definitely qualify as an “old dog.”

The amazing thing about living for over five decades is that I’ve earned the right to carry a little attitude with me.

Like others before me, I’ve had to keep up with technology or be left behind. It’s not enough to have 30 years of seniority under my belt.  Sit still too long and one of those puppies with more energy and more curiosity will bound in and steal all my toys.

So, to keep this metaphor running a little longer, I bare my teeth and growl a little to keep the intruders away from the door, and then I get to work.

You see, learning new technologies is a never-ending process. As soon as you master one, a new one pops up to throw you off balance. My saving grace has been my unwavering desire to be a life-long learner, so I keep pushing on.

So, here are some words of wisdom I can share to help you learn new tricks:


There is absolutely no way you can learn every new technology that’s available or soon to be the next big thing. So, you need to figure out what’s most important to your career or lifestyle.

Do you need to create presentations for work or want to connect with friends through social media?

Are you launching a digital career and need to learn SEO and CRM? Or maybe you want to start with what those terms actually mean?

Step back and evaluate what you want to/need to learn about and start there.

Use Technology to Learn Technology

Do you remember what a pain it was to do research for mid-term projects before the internet was around? Dragging out the encyclopedias or spending endless hours at the library trying to find a few morsels of information that were relevant to the topic?

I think kids have it made today. What I could have done if only I had access to Google or YouTube all those years ago! I can’t go back, but I definitely can use them to learn going forward. And you can too!

Pick a topic to search on Google: What is SEO? Or watch a YouTube video: How to set up a Twitter account. And you’re on your way.

There is also an unlimited number of online resources available to teach you the ins and outs of social media, smartphone apps and starting your own business. I’ve had great success with courses like Influencers 101 <—–affiliate link) where I learned how to use Twitter in my business. I’m constantly amazed at how quickly I can go from knowing virtually nothing about a program or service to being an expert. You can do it too!

Build Relationships

One of the most surprising things I’ve learned from my writing business and my administrative job is that building and maintaining relationships is more important than keeping up with the latest technology.

It’s critical that I not neglect my clients while trying to improve my skills. I’m often shocked that my clients look at me as an expert in the digital world because I do know much more than they do. And what I don’t know, we’ll figure out together. They’re forgiving as long as I maintain my focus on customer service.

In contrast, I’ve connected with many people online and in person that ARE experts in the digital world. I’ve been amazed at how willing people share their knowledge with me to help me learn or even do the project for me. You don’t have to know how to do everything yourself; you just have to know where to go to get it done.


So, if you’re ready to step up and learn some new tricks—prioritize, use technology and build relationships.

You’ve got this! You’re Never Too Old!

So what tricks have you got up your sleeve? Have you found some ways to adapt and keep up with technology?

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8 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn in Less Than 6 Months


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