I was given several tasks at work today that would have taken me hours in the “good old days.” With today’s technology, however, an assistant at work scanned documents to me in minutes. Years ago, I would have had to stand at the copier, scan each document separately, save it, name it, and pray the documents correctly arrived in my email.
What did we know back then?
After using an electric typewriter for years, I was assigned to work on an IBM mag card word processor. It was the fastest machine I’d ever worked with at the time, and I could type a dozen pages, insert the magnetic cards into the reader (don’t drop them! they had to be inserted in order!) and wow, my document displayed like a player piano.
After that, we went to IBM Selectric and Executive typewriters (variable spacing!) and then the first computer with MS/DOS. Black and white screen, of course, but we didn’t know any better. Our attorneys didn’t have to wait long for their documents, but then we had all the copying/messengering/in-person filing with the court. When we were short on time before the court closed, we would call and ask for a motorcycle messenger (they were in high demand!) and just cross our fingers until we received a confirmation call from the attorney/messenger service that our documents made it to the court on time. I never wanted to be the one to call an attorney to tell him the messenger got stuck in traffic and the documents were late. That didn’t go over too well. 🙁
As the years progressed, new technology helped legal assistants and lawyers get their work done faster. Now, I can sit at my desk, print a PDF document with an electronic signature, upload it to the court’s filing service, and file a document. Theoretically, we can file a document until midnight on the day it’s due. I can do all this without ever getting up from my chair. Log on to UPS, print out a mailing label, shove a copy in an envelope, and drop it in the mailbox on the way out of the office.
My secretary’s spread (another word for “butt”) has certainly expanded over the years due to not having to get up, pace in the office lobby while waiting for the motorcycle messenger, and/or drive to the post office or the court house to ensure timely filing and delivery. Is all the new technology for the best? What do you think?