I had big dreams that I would be a writer, an illustrator, SOMETHING creative when I grew up.
Well, that didn’t happen.
I was recruited out of college onto a Y2K project to punch code with around 50 other college graduates. We were hired to ensure the fate our systems would not fail us come D-day: January 1, 2000.
Not to worry, the systems did not fail, but not in any part thanks to me. When I arrived on site, I was the first candidate on the contract with an English degree, so they removed me from the pack and sent me to a different project as a Technical Writer. I’d spend the next two years writing functional specs and navigational guides for three old guys. (Yay. I was a writer, just not the kind I envisioned).
Oh, and did I mention my SISTER recruited me? She called my dorm, told me she had an awesome opportunity at an account she was managing, and that I needed to fax her my resume right away.
My parents raised us so we could do anything.
My sister came out of the womb with superior management skills, so that translated to, “she could get anything done,” by managing the right resources. No surprise she went right from college to management in almost an instant.
To me, that literally meant I could “DO anything,” including whatever job my sister recruited me to do next, and the Y2K project was just the beginning of my life in this left brained world of technology.
So, I grabbed my floppy disk, headed to Kinko’s and sent my sister a copy of my professional work experience.
It included things like making donuts at the crack of dawn, serving soft serve cones to kids, volunteering at the Smithsonian one summer in Washington, D.C. and wearing post-Civil War clothing (hoop skirts, bonnets and all) to lure tourists into a little local museum outside of D.C. that same year.
After Kinko’s, I met my roommates for nickel draft night and never looked back again!
By the time I was hired, I realized my sister did a little finessing, and I was already a seasoned IT professional (on paper).
In reality, I’d spent one summer filling in for her as the computer lab monitor at her university (while she took a real job that year).
I was responsible for startup (back when computers required boot disks to start Windows) and shutdown of the lab PCs, making sure there was always enough ink and paper in the printers, and responding to (or researching) any technical or functional questions about the lab or its machines.
Mostly, I spent my afternoons watching soap operas on a little black and white television when the lab was slow, (which was often), and composing fancy letters to my remote college friends (taking advantage of the lab’s word processing programs and colored printers).
Before my first day of the new gig, my sister gave me a book of computer terms and acronyms, and assured me I could do the job just fine.
She was right, I did better than fine, and nearly twenty years later, I often find myself wondering how did I get here?
Then I realize, for every job she recruited me to, I learned more and more about technology, leading me to obtain the next job and the one after that until I really was a seasoned IT professional, and not just on paper!
And even though I’m an artist, a crafter, a baker and foodie through and through, I’ve spent nearly the last ten years working in the Information Technology department of a large creative company.
Go figure. I work in “Kansas,” just outside of “Oz.”
Every day, I pass through the colorful creative studios on my way to my dingy old desk in the heart of the technology suite, and think… be careful what you wish for; right place, wrong job.
All I can do is laugh at the joke life has played on me, and journey my way through the next twenty years as a right brained girl living in a left brained world.