On my quest to give back more to the world, I volunteered yesterday to talk about my career path to some students from NPower’s Technology Service Corps (TSC) class. My company supports a lot of cool organizations that I am starting to learn more about. NPower’s TSC program trains “disconnected” high school graduates with IT skills and helps them get jobs. Yesterday, they took a field trip to visit our office and a few of us spoke to them about our careers in technology.
It was fun to reminisce about learning to write computer programs on the Apple IIC and to wrack my brain to remember how we actually looked for jobs before the internet. (If my memory serves me correctly, I actually went to the library, used the yellow pages, and sent resumes in envelopes with stamps. ) I gave a shout out to my friend Scott who got me started on this career that keeps me intellectually stimulated and affords me the luxuries of owning real estate in Manhattan and looking relatively stylish when I do actually leave the house.
I think I also did a super swell job of explaining how an SAP implementation works, why it can take many years, and how it is a lot of work, but can also be a lot of fun. Fun because you are solving problems that are like puzzles every day, and fun because of the team camaraderie you develop when you work a gazillion hours with people and share quite a few drinks with them along the way. And I did actually use the words “happy hour” in my speech forgetting that most of them probably aren’t 21 yet. Oh well….something to look forward to!
Beyond my trip down memory lane, what was really cool about the experience was the curiosity of the kids. They had so many questions about my jobs, how I got them, and why I liked them. They thought it was very cool that I knew that Gatorade contains some flammable ingredients which made our SAP implementation project more complicated. It’s always refreshing to see the world through the eyes of younger people who are still trying to figure it all out. I hope I gave them some new ideas about how they can use their IT skills and of course it was important to me that they meet women who thinks writing computer programs is really fun (we do exist!) I am glad I have made room in my life to reincorporate the young people and plan to continue these adventures!
Two sales guys also spoke to the kids and their presentations contained some kind of “salesy” life advice. I did jot down a couple of their words of wisdom that struck a chord with me:
“Spend less time trying to be interesting and more time being interested” – as a woman who has been on a lot of match.com dates, more people need to internalize this advice. (of course the context here was making business connections, but it applies in all situations)
“It’s not how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving” – this was from clip from one of the Rocky movies that was part of a triage of You Tube videos one of the guys showed to illustrate his advice. (It was king of corny but he was quite proud of himself.) This one stayed with me because as a “glass half full” person, the little bumps in the road (like an infection in my head that puts me out of commission for two weeks) can get me down. The next time I am feeling a little defeated by life, I will remember this clip, and the many amazing positive experiences I have been lucky enough to have in my life and I will keep moving.