Female Mainframe Contract Programmer….fell in love with computers.

I write mainframe software.
I’m currently in the Dallas/Fort Worth (Texas) metroplex.
I want to change my skill set over to writing PC software.
I hope then I’ll be able to buy into the family partnership and network the business.
Then I’ll be able to go HOME!

Before I got into this field, I was a temp office worker.
I was going through a rather ugly divorce at the time.
But when I would walk into a business and say, “Hi, I’m from _____.”
The most common response was “Oh, thank God, you’re HERE!”
It was good for my ego and I needed that then.

I decided to go back to school and learn things like shorthand and dictaphone.
That way I could make “big bucks”.
I had three more credit hours to fill.
I saw this course called “Introduction to Computer Programming.”
I thought, “Well, it won’t hurt me to know something about computers.” (This was
1982.)
So I took the course and fell in love.
This is what I was born to do.

The best thing about being a computer nerd is making this machinery do what you want it to do.
I love everything about it, from the time someone says, “there has to be a better way”
Clear up to the time it’s up and running and DOCUMENTED!
(Most programmers don’t like to do documentation.)

The worst thing about being a computer programmer is being on 24-hour call. In the mainframe world, you are usually responsible for a set of overnight batch processes.
If it breaks, you have to fix it. RIGHT NOW.
The batch cycle has to finish before so we can bring the on-line regions up in the
morning.
So people can enter data.
So we can do it all over again.

PC’s don’t generally have batch cycles.
And besides, they’re kinda fun to play with.
So I’m betting they’ll be fun to program.
Besides, it’s been a while since I learned anything really new.
So I’m taking classes again at the local community college.
And loving every minute of it.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to go for the “big bucks” again.
So now I’m a contractor.
But I don’t think I like it much.
Contractors aren’t always treated very well.
The place where I’m working right now doesn’t seem to trust that I’m working a 40-hour week.
I think it’s because I’ve convinced them that I’ll be more productive working four 10-hour days.
So I come in at 7am with most of the rest of the team.
But they leave at 4pm and I stay till 6pm.
They don’t see me working those last two hours every day.
So sometimes to them it feels like it isn’t happening.
And then I’m not there on Mondays, so it feels to them like I’m not working 40 hours.
It’s their problem, but it could become mine.

That’s why I’ve decided to try to get out of the contracting business.
At least the mainframe contracting business.
Now that I’ve gotten my salary up to where it’s equal to a man’s salary.
(I’m female. We get paid about 75% of what men get, on average.)
So now I’m going to try to find a job close to home.
That will let me keep my 4-day work week.
And will treat me like the professional I am.

Then maybe I’ll have the energy to follow my dream.
Instead of burning it all up in frustration every day.
Wish me luck!