My Love-Hate Obsession-Addiction with Excel Spreadsheets

Once-upon-a-time I feared Excel like the Black Plague. The thought of going to a temporary agency that first time for a job, and knowing I’d have to take their skills and proficiency test (if I wanted a half-way decent paying job, that is), brought me to near seizures and full-body outbreak with hives. Sitting before the gray testing monitor, fingers splayed on the black keyboard, the timer counting down the minutes as I fearfully answered one mind-boggling question and then the next, I felt severe queasiness with the added onset of hyperventilating.

Yes, my fear of Excel was that great! It would be working with numbers—MATH!—after all. And let’s not forget that I also needed to learn to maneuver with the rest of the Microsoft Office Suite: Word, Power Point and Outlook, with a side of Visio and Pivot Tables. Yikes! I had my work cut-out for me.

But once I got the hang of Excel, however, I caught “the” fever and was hooked. There was no stopping me then. It was fun!

  • I created and recreated spreadsheets. You name it I made them
  • I color coded cells and tabs
  • I formatted, adjusting width and height, and also learned conditional formatting
  • I Locked and protected cells, rows and columns
  • I learned to hide rows and columns from outside eyes
  • I learned to add charts and graphics
  • I learned to link formulas—ever dreadful and deadly—from one tab to another, and even linking to spreadsheets foreign to me (owned by another creator).

I’d been a “secretary” once, later an “administrative assistant,” back in the day, before the family lifestyle thing happened—before the man of my dreams hooked-and-reeled me in, before the kids and cooking and housecleaning and homeschooling happened.

I’d met a man who offered me a new position in life, and I took it. And it was terrific! I no longer commuted to work; I now had room-and-board, with paid benefits. I had a good thing. But then the unexpected happened, and my happy position was interrupted. I was obligated to make another career move. I was now looking for work outside of Home. But I’d been home too long, and I needed to catch up with the many changes that’d taken place in the workforce. I’d been pampered for too many years and needed to come up to speed.

We purchased a home computer, and books and tapes on how-to. I quickly learned how to use a personal computer, and became self-educated with Microsoft Office. I gave myself over, heart and soul, to studiously learn. I studied many hours each day, in-between fulfilling my duties as Homemaker; a wife and mother.

On my very first Excel proficiency test I actually blew it out of the water. My scores were in the 94th percentile. This means I did better than 94 percent of the people that took this test. Yay! I guess I actually did my studies and knew this stuff better than I gave myself credit for. This, obviously, began my love of Excel!

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