Have you ever considered technology as a viable career or hobby, but think that you are not necessarily cut out of that cloth? I never thought of myself as someone who would EVER want to work in Technology, but here I am. Things change, people change. Careers twist and turn. Life happens.
I don’t fit “in the box”. I don’t think anyone should have to fit into a box. I’m a mid-life, female, mom; parent of a special needs kid, touchy feely, metro hippie extrovert. This doesn’t exactly sound like the stereotypical geeky guy who eats a lot of frozen pizza… Not that there is anything wrong with geeky guys. They do, however, dominate the tech industry in the U.S. (Payscale.com, 2013)
I was going to do something else for a career, but I realized I get too emotionally attached. I needed to work with something that doesn’t get sick or die… Technology? Perfect!!!! As a matter of fact, the U.S. needs a lot more technology folk. CONSIDER IT!
If you’re like me and find yourself feeling outside of the box in the tech world, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. It’s okay if you have multiple goals. You can work toward all of your other goals too. Not all techies do (or should) stay up until all hours playing video games. It could be a side gig at first. Entry level roles could be: a Project Coordinator, work at a help desk, or production support. Take a class on some technology that interests you and build on that. It could be online, or at a community college. Volunteer for a project at your current job that has a technical angle to it and you can build on that. Shore up every mildly related skill that you can muster that could be used toward this and put that on your resume.
2. Believe in yourself, no one else owes you anything. The qualifications for being outside the box are tenacity, tenacity, tenacity. Understand that you are going to be here in an uncomfortable place because you are learning new stuff (for possibly a long while), and your neurons around this aren’t all built out yet and that’s okay. Other people might not know how to handle the new leaf you’re turning, but press on anyway. At the very least, recognize what is happening and go easy on yourself. If you feel like you need to mitigate the awkwardness, (feelings? … blasphemy!) ask one of those people out for coffee. You can’t control the outcome beyond this gesture. Just know what you can and can’t control. People in your family, friends, at work or even techies themselves may not support you initially. They may think you are weird for trying something outside your normal comfort zone. Just know that you are not alone and you can do it. You may also think the techies are weird just the same.
3. Make the assumption that you can do it, because you can. There is no other assumption. Period. Be yourself. Wear your leather pants, or pleather, or parachute pants or whatever. Who cares, you are not an ‘in the box’ techie. You are or will be a techie ‘outside of the box’ and that’s cooler than you may realize.
Keeping these things in mind has helped me get where I am today. Just remember, you are not alone. There are more of us out here.