I’ve spent most of my life working in the tech industry. That didn’t happen on purpose. I mean, I set out to major in Global Studies and pursue a career in international law. Then there was my theater / communications phase. And music. And then I ended up with so many credit hours in so many things that I could have finished my degree in either history or English. I literally flipped a coin. It came up history. I said “screw that” and finished in English. Because fate can suck it.
The college I attended didn’t have minors, but they DID have “emphases,” so my degree in English literature and composition is augmented by emphases in history, poli-sci, linguistics, theater, and communications. Truly, that simply demonstrates indecisiveness, not studiousness.
I took my newly minted English degree, moved to the SF Bay Area (I followed a boy – but that’s another story) and marched my hard-working Midwestern ass into several magazine offices in San Francisco and proudly showed them my credentials expecting to be hired forthwith. I mean, I knew the word “forthwith.”
When they’d stopped laughing they pointed at the exit.
So, I talked to temp agencies. It turns out that my dysfunctional parenting was of FAR greater value than any amount of book learning. See, dad was a super logical management consultant and technophile. We’d had gadgetry and computers as soon as they were available. Mom was a total art flake. They had NEVER understood how to talk to one-another. It remains a complete mystery to me that there are just two of us – my sister and me. I mean, either they should have constantly been having sex as their only means of communication, or should have NEVER had sex or gotten together at all. The fact that there are two of us? Weird.
But I had forever been the bridge between them. “Nonononono – Mom. MOM. What dad is SAYING is….” And “Okay. Okayokayokay. But dad. DAD. DAAAAD. What Mom MEANS is…” That was my life. And it turned out that in Silicon Valley, that ability to speak both Geek and normal human was INVALUABLE. I became what they called a Technical Liaison. I went in and solved communication problems and helped train people to talk to one-another. It was amazing. Every stupid trick I learned just to survive in my home was worth MONEY in the real world. And all I had to do was exactly what I had done every day for my entire life.
It felt like cheating.
I worked for companies like Apple and Oracle and HP and Raychem and got really good at what I do. And I worked almost exclusively with supergeeks of various kinds. I already knew and loved them – my cousin and uncle and dad were those people. My friends were those people. All I did was expand my geeky horizons. All of my time was spent with gamers and geeks and engineers and scientists and programmers. That became my whole world.
So here I was in an interview at a science company, and the people interviewing me? Two women. Two fabulous, geeky, nerdy WOMEN. It was as if the heavens had opened and light shone down on me.
Near the end of the interview, the manager who headed a group of programmers said “Oh. One more question. Are you okay talking to developers?”
For a moment I honestly did not understand the question. “You mean….socially? In a game setting? Professionally?”
She laughed. “Oh good. We’ll be fine then. It’s just sometimes we have to shield the programmers from the…you know. Regular people. And vice versa.”
I was horrified. “Please. Please DON’T. Those are my PEOPLE.”
And I meant that.
My first day there, I was getting tea at the tea and coffee kiosk. A guy saw my phone. “Is that….is that Agent Carter on y0ur phone background?!”
I looked at him. Smiled. “Yes. Yes it is.”
“I love her ALL the much.”
He smiled, hopefully. “And…Jessica Jones?”
“JJ is my favorite. Daredevil?”
I made a new friend. Because of my Agent Carter phone background. My first day on the job. It was SO GOOD to be working with proper nerds again.
Day two? I met a gamergirl. Tabletop, PC, AND console.
Life was looking up. And again, I felt like I was cheating.