After a year at sixth form college doing a business (okay secretarial) course, I left education like a bat out of hell. I was desperate to get out into the big bad business world and earn money. Friends were focusing on A-levels and college, but that wasn’t for me – I was opting for the University of Life (as us non-academics like to refer to it).
The company had recently acquired two facsimile machines (one outgoing and one incoming) and I was to ‘operate’ them. It didn’t take long to realise that this was going to be a pretty cushy number. This was pioneering stuff and, with the exception of New York, none of the other 50 regional offices around the world had a reciprocal machine – thereby significantly reducing the flow of fax traffic.
It wasn’t just the internal network that was slow. It soon became apparent that barely any businesses that they wished to communicate with were technically advanced enough to cope with this new invention. And even if they had been, let’s face it ‘faxing’ isn’t that difficult. In fact, anyone can do it. They simply didn’t need a professional of my calibre to manage and grow the department – it was over almost before it began.
LESSON: EARLY ADOPTION ISN’T ALWAYS A GOOD THING.