I'm into my sixth decade and have been in IT since before DOS. I recently (about a year and a half ago) transitioned from Office 2003 to 2007. The delay was not that I didn't want to, I just didn't have the "getus" or other access to an upgrade. Through a local non-profit, I managed to get, believe it or not, and unlimited license for Office 2007 Pro. Since I'm the IT guy for my whole family, everyone and their brother got an upgrade installed, as soon as I could get to them.
At first, it was a little frustrating to me to deal with the Ribbon. "Where'd they hide THAT?" and "Now, how do I...?" but after I recognized the logic of their structure, it quickly became second nature to me. And I have been able to help my family members who are willing to get into it and experiment, to transition to it comfortably as well. My Mother, for example, is 83, a former administrative type who used to lock up keyboard buffers on electric typewriters by getting too far ahead of them. Once she saw how the commands were grouped on the Ribbon and Tabs, she said, "Oh! That makes sense!" and I am back to struggling to keep up with her progress in Word and Excel.
In the last few weeks, I was picked up as an applications instructor at a local career college and tasked to teach Office 2010 applications. Well, not having it at home was a challenge, so I downloaded the trial version for now (the college MAY give me a license, since I'm teaching it). While there was a little more. "Where'd THAT go, now?" it wasn't long before I was up to speed and cranking right along. Of course, having textbooks to study and having to explain things to the students helps. But being in a fast-changing field means re-thinking concepts and adjusting behaviors is just part of the territory.
So, to those of you who are whining about toolbars and drop-down menus going away, I can only say that the most likely reason you are having trouble adapting to the Ribbin concept is because you don't WANT to. Change may be uncomfortable, and I'm NOT saying that change for the sake of change is always good (bad, or indeifferent), But the only constant in life IS change! Adapt. Dig your stodgy, rootbound mindset out of the mire of yesterday and accept the direction your industry is going. If it isn't all you want it to be, make small personal changes like Susan explains in this article (Thanks, Susan - my Ribbon has this modification on it now!) Or get into another industry because your mind has lost its ability to flex, change, and grow.
I still love the catch-phrase of one of the alarmists in the late nineties about the Y2K scare. He said:
"To embrace the future, let go of the past!"
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