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Blog,  IT Industry

First Responders in Tech Included Women

Response to my recent writings resulted in confusion and messages of support from several first responders in tech who shifted gears, while still quietly working in their fields.

Yesterday I announced on Facebook that I shut down three of my websites forever. It felt like I had put a pet to sleep. I wanted to cry. I removed that status because, in the age of communication not communicate, the perception was that I left the building.  So firstly, I did not abandon my 21 year career in an industry that still produces 95 Women Who Influenced the SEO Industry.  I put to rest three websites, one my old brand, but I still have three more websites.

Two of the sites are where I conduct business and one is a hobby site.  I had six websites, because I busted my ass for 21 years.  Now it is three. One is this one, for my usability testing consulting business, and one is for my new venture into ecommerce selling things I make by hand and one is for horses, my hobby site.

A Memorial for Women in Tech Pioneers

I wrote, in A Career in The Midst of Change,

“I’m one of the hardest workers I’ve ever met, which has meant endless meditation and pondering my navel as to what I’m doing wrong. I went through the phases of mourning a death and the death is my own career. I didn’t even know I was sick.”

It was an emotional piece written in one sitting with little editing about feeling heartbroken over a career in an industry I helped build, only to be rejected by it. I shared how I experienced the phases of mourning a death,  and reached acceptance that companies refuse to hire remote workers, while outsourcing outside the country.

I heard from women.  “You speak for so many of us,” they wrote me. My practical husband, however, is alarmed that the perception is that I quit consulting.

I didn’t shut this site down.

I added another business to my business.

I’m weird like that.

First Responders in Tech

When I taught myself HTML, animation and SEO, it was 1995 and I was in the midst of a divorce, weaning my son off the breast and preparing to live a new life.  I refused child support and alimony.  I refused to let the courts near us, as they would have punished the father of my children and he did nothing wrong.  I was a stay at home mom for almost 3 years, so when I moved out and into a small apartment, where I would be primary parent while we co-parented the kids, I had little more than a belief that I was doing the right thing.  It was a dark time.

When I launched Cre8asiteforums in 1998, I was afraid to admit the dire straits I was in.  I was working full time as the webmaster for 13 websites, making what is considered to be a poverty level salary, while paying for daycare and when my bosses encouraged me to ask for a raise, I was laid off and told to take unemployment compensation.

I was already working that job by day and freelancing in SEO at night.  By the time I was hired for my dream job, I was far behind on my rent, and facing eviction.  At that job I was introduced to usability and software QA testing and fell in love with it.

One of my scented head wraps.
Modeling one of my lavender scented Peaceful Wrap head wraps.

Two years later, that company began to fail after being taken over by someone who changed it to something it didn’t want to be.  I was laid off.  I had just moved into a townhouse and bought a new car.

From 2001 to 2014 I consulted, sub-contracted, joined a new startup that crashed a year later, joined another company that fizzled, spoke at conferences, written articles and ebooks, teach an online usability course and conducted webinars. I re-married, raised the kids, paid for their first 2 years in college, raised cats, dogs, bought two houses and four cars, one of which was for my daughter.  I gave my country my son, who is now a US Marine.

I continued to study to keep up with the technology used to make the websites I’m hired to test.  I’m fluent in accessibility, information architecture, requirements gathering and more. I married a performance engineer and understand what he’s talking about because I was taught some of the methodology such as automation and functional testing.

I was a first responder.  One of the first to the table.

There are so many women who were already there.

I would like to thank you, from the deepest part of my soul.

I remember you.