I won't tell you how old I am because what I am about to write will likely out me anyway...
I was born in Kingston, Jamaica ... yes, the island in the Caribbean Sea not Jamaica, New York. I am an only child of aging parents. I had no real ambitions other than maybe an ophthalmologist or a forensic psychologist .. none of those panned out. I thought briefly about law, but history (while interesting) gets old after a while. I did try to get into law school, but my grades sucked and I ended up in a Computer Studies program instead where I earned the equivalent of an associate degree.
I learned how to code in Assembly, BASIC, Pascal, and COBOL and landed a job soon after I finished school. That job had me taking over a payroll program running on an old IBM System 36. I remember when the client's machine died and I had to run the payroll for them and get the files out to them where they were located ... about a 3 hour drive from the city.
I guess I impressed my boss cos he put me on some other projects that were mostly SQL (Informix SQL). That scored me enough experience to take me through another 5 or 6 years and landed me in a database administrator position. That, in time, lead me to an Oracle house where I got handed a complex system, written with Oracle as a backend but managing a telecom wholesale billing system (basically, telecom companies charge each other for the interconnection services they provide to each other).
I got bored with that ... did some more database administration and dabbled in some linux system administration and some adhoc coding in an obscure language that I don't even remember now.
Round about then, I "met" my now husband playing World of Warcraft. After 3 years, and tons of visits to him here in the States, we got married. And that effectively put a halt to my IT career.
While I waited for work authorization here in the US, I volunteered at the local army hospital through the Red Cross, tried out tax preparation (so I could learn how to do our taxes), found a job I really liked with another telecom company and was getting ready to start moving up when my husband got transferred to Texas.
That floored me. Was I going to be forever job hunting? A friend said I could probably get a remote job so I went a-looking and applied to one that looked interesting. They couldn't use my aging coding skills but they could use me as an electronic librarian. They gave me the title of "Editor in chief" but I did very little editing.
By this time, my husband had been transferred yet again to Washington state and that company decided to lay me off. I floundered again ... got into a Bachelor's degree program studying Intercultural Communication which in turn lead me to facilitative mediation in the local community. That was fun, until they decided I wasn't good enough to be certified ... looking back, I'm not entirely sure there wasn't some unconscious bias in that decision. It was probably my very first brush with what racism looks like today. You never really know and you're always wondering. It's insidious.
Meanwhile, my husband gets sent to Germany and I tag along cos ... I mean, it's Germany! Right then, I figured I was going to try and do a Social Work degree cos ... I like puzzles and people and their issues are like puzzles. And I seemed to be rather a good listener and innately capable of asking the kind of questions that help people solve their own issues.
Well ... that master's degree put the nail in my anxiety coffin. I had always suffered some low-key anxiety. The tells were there all along:
- easily irritated
- quick to anger
- flustered and panicked under immense pressure
- constantly plagued with stress-related illnesses
I had managed it for decades on my own because ... well probably because the pressure never got to be overwhelming. That master's degree, completed over two years in Germany - all of it at night because the University of Southern California is a good 12 hours behind German time - laid enough stress on me that when we travelled back to the states at the end of his "tour", I was effectively hobbled by anxiety and experiencing random, fairly regular panic attacks.
My husband requested Missouri because it's the home of his MOS (or job designation) and he liked being here. And so here we are. He decided that it was time for him to get out the military and so we bought a house and are settling down.
What have I been doing?
Aside from this one, here are a few other sites out there where you can find me: