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I'm a web designer, been with my company since 1999. It's a good place and I get to do a bit of everything from graphic design and UI to front and back end work. Recently we've grown and become much more corporate-feeling, and changed our entire software infrastructure. For example:

  1. We used to use Dropbox to share files, now we have to use Sharepoint. Sharepoint's often down or files I upload disappear. It's so much harder for me to use than Dropbox.
  2. I was using the CS5 suite of Adobe software, and they upgraded me to the latest, and I lost a lot of features. I'm much much slower and can't work at the speed of thought, if that makes sense.
  3. They also took away my Mac and gave me a Windows machine. I just can't work as well on it, it's so hard for me to navigate files or do basic tasks. This is especially bad for webdev stuff, Command Prompt isn't nearly as good as the Terminal was for running local web servers and other command line work.
  4. They switched us from Gmail to Outlook. I can't figure out the UI, and it keeps changing anyway. It's so hard for me to do basic things like just sending an email. The UI's really hard on my eyes too. I used to know all the keyboard shortcuts and now I don't.

We had trainings on the switch, but they just didn't stick. I got books and spend time at work trying to learn to use these new pieces of software, but they just aren't as good. I used to be able to work so well and now I can barely get anything done. All the younger employees aren't having problems - I feel like I'm being pushed out for my age. Do I just have to leave and find another place using the tools I can do well with?

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  • what are you trying to achieve? What does your manager say? Dec 20 '19 at 3:16
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    I can see an interview at a new position going well... "Please sir, can I use some 10 year old software instead of the current version..." They're not pushing you out, you're just giving up. Either work with what you're given, or ask for special dispensation from your manager to get a Mac back because you're a designer (Macs work perfectly well with Outlook and Sharepoint). In either case, you need to force yourself to work with new software.
    – PeteCon
    Dec 20 '19 at 3:38
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    The problem is that you're having to learn 4 or 5 new things at the same time. It will take time to adapt. Also, if your eyes are having issues. Get your eyes checked out and ask for a bigger screen (preferably two bigger screens). Dec 20 '19 at 4:04
  • Changes like these can be counter-productive and, to some extent, certainly challenging. However, it is harder and harder to find companies that do not enter into adapting to some specific suite or set of tools typically used. TL;DR: unless you know of an existing alternative company that is not likely to enter a change maelstrom, changing may not get rid of such kind of problems. Give it time, install Windows and Outlook same anything you can at home and practice in your free time.
    – Kiddo
    Dec 20 '19 at 5:15
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    "It's so hard for me to do basic things like just sending an email." Is it possible that this is hyperbole based on how frustrated you have been feeling? Or is this a legitimate problem? If the latter, you might be on to something that it is time to look for a new position.
    – Lumberjack
    Dec 20 '19 at 14:49
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The question as written feels like a localized rant instead of a question with a generalized answer, but here goes:

TL;DR - Most of this is normal in the industry: adapt to it, or quit, are essentially your primary options. A few of the points you raised are legitimate concerns (accessibility, and lost productivity), but would need to be approached in a constructive manner to be taken seriously. Both have solutions, if you're willing to find them.

This is not a question of age, but, for the most part, of your apparent unwillingness to adapt to normal changes in your work environment.

Point-by-point response:

Recently we've grown and become much more corporate-feeling, and changed our entire software infrastructure.

Normal in any company, but may signify a change in corporate culture resulting in it no longer being a fit for you.

We used to use Dropbox to share files, now we have to use Sharepoint. Sharepoint's often down or files I upload disappear.

This is one of a few problems:

  • Learning curve: You may need to actually take the time to learn to use the software properly
  • Actual account/SharePoint instance issue: If you're positive it's not something you're doing wrong, this is a legitimate issue to raise with your SharePoint support team, or local helpdesk.

Either way, SharePoint is used by millions of people on a daily basis, and this is not a standard behavior of the software.

It's so much harder for me to use than Dropbox.

Your company as a whole has changed software strategy. This is normal corporate behavior, and not within your control. It's on you to adapt, not on your employer to adapt to you.

I was using the CS5 suite of Adobe software, and they upgraded me to the latest, and I lost a lot of features. I'm much much slower and can't work at the speed of thought, if that makes sense. They also took away my Mac and gave me a Windows machine. I just can't work as well on it, it's so hard for me to navigate files or do basic tasks. This is especially bad for webdev stuff, Command Prompt isn't nearly as good as the Terminal was for running local web servers and other command line work.

These are both potentially legitimate concerns, because they have actual business impact. You can certainly raise these issues to your manager, but they need to be raised constructively. Most importantly, you need to be prepared for the answer to be we don't care, get used to our new deployment strategy. In that case, you may want to prepare constructive things that you could request (additional training, for example), and perhaps, an outline of the direct productivity impact, as measured by your workplace standard metrics ("this will take me X hours longer until I've learned this software").

The hardware issue may be easier to 'win' than the software one: older software is a security and maintenance issue (particularly if it's EOL), as well as a support issue.

They switched us from Gmail to Outlook. I can't figure out the UI, and it keeps changing anyway. It's so hard for me to do basic things like just sending an email.

Raising this as an issue is unlikely to reflect well on you: e-mail clients are not specialized software. Any reasonably competent manager would likely dismiss the argument that "Outlook is too hard to use, I want Gmail".

The UI's really hard on my eyes too.

Check into available accessibility changes that can be made in Windows/Outlook. This isn't normally a reason not to use the software (because solutions do exist for most issues), but is a legitimate and common concern.

I used to know all the keyboard shortcuts and now I don't.

So learn the new ones.

I got books and spend time at work trying to learn to use these new pieces of software

Get better books. Take auxiliary training courses. Do whatever you need to do.

but they just aren't as good.

Personal opinion - of no use when attempting to challenge a company-wide strategy.

I used to be able to work so well and now I can barely get anything done. All the younger employees aren't having problems - I feel like I'm being pushed out for my age.

This likely has absolutely nothing to do with age, and everything to do with personal change resistance on your part: changes in corporate software strategy are normal, and there are much easier ways to force someone out of a company, than to make every other employee learn a new program.

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We used to use Dropbox to share files, now we have to use Sharepoint. Sharepoint's often down or files I upload disappear. It's so much harder for me to use than Dropbox.

You are just going to have to live with this one. I don't have a fix for you on this.

I was using the CS5 suite of Adobe software, and they upgraded me to the latest, and I lost a lot of features. I'm much much slower and can't work at the speed of thought, if that makes sense.

Learning new tech sucks, but it also ensures that you remain employable over the long term. The company is paying you to keep up with software, so take advantage. Yes, it is easier to use the old version for now, but life will be miserable in 5 years when it is all you know and you need to find a new job for whatever reason.

They also took away my Mac and gave me a Windows machine. I just can't work as well on it, it's so hard for me to navigate files or do basic tasks. This is especially bad for webdev stuff, Command Prompt isn't nearly as good as the Terminal was for running local web servers and other command line work.

Go get Git Bash. It is what us Windows developers use for web development work. Powershell has a place as well. Command Prompt by itself is totally inadequate.

They switched us from Gmail to Outlook. I can't figure out the UI, and it keeps changing anyway. It's so hard for me to do basic things like just sending an email. The UI's really hard on my eyes too. I used to know all the keyboard shortcuts and now I don't.

Use the basic email client called Mail instead (comes installed on Windows already). My company uses Outlook, but I do not bother with it either. Or use the online web client if you have Office365. It is much more similar to GMail.

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  • +1 for the suggestions. git bash and Outlook's web interface. Windows 10 now has a way to run Linux inside it. All that Mac terminal stuff is plain old UNIX, and so is Linux. And, keep in mind that Adobe has a vested interest in helping people like you learn the latest versions of their tools. Look for transition training.
    – O. Jones
    Dec 22 '19 at 13:27
  • Gotta throw this in: the Outlook desktop software is a primary attack vector for ransomware cybercreeps. I sure hope your Infosec krewe has a clue what they're doing.
    – O. Jones
    Dec 22 '19 at 13:30
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Do I just have to leave and find another place using the tools I can do well with?

You can, but how would you explain this to a prospective employer? Who will want to hire someone who is leaving their current company because they changed the software and you cannot ( or will not ) learn to use the new software?

You were not born knowing how to use your company's old software, at some point you learned how to use them. Learn how to use the new software instead of trying to run away from it.

I feel like I'm being pushed out for my age

If you are being pushed out, it would be for your stubbornness or unwillingness to adapt.

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  1. Don't blame tools for your inability to use them. Files don't just disappear from SharePoint. It's a well established software that nobody else in your company seems to have issues with.

  2. Photoshop CS5 is 10 year old software. It has substantially less features than Photoshop CC 2020. I don't know where you are getting this from.

  3. Yeah, switching platforms can be a challenge, but not so much that you can't do your work.

  4. Outlook user for years, the UI doesn't change with any sort of regularity. There's nothing complicated about the UI, either. I'd like to know more about how it is "hard on your eyes" when it's a basic WPF UI.

It sounds to me like you just aren't willing to keep up with the changes. You're just inventing bad things about the new tools at this point. You aren't being forced out for your age, you are being forced out for your unwillingness to adapt.

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