After he read my post about inspiring women in I.T., the Snook said to me, “You know, you forgot one.” “Which one?” “Your MOM, you ding dong!”
Oh good grief. I’m so sorry, Mom! He’s totally, 100% right. I may not have known any card-carrying IBM computer programmers when I was growing up, but Mom was the reason we always had a computer in the house. I remember the first actual computer we got – an Atari 800XL that plugged into the television – and waiting for Mom to patiently type in hundreds of lines from a BASIC program in a computer magazine to create an animated picture. When we finally got a computer with a hard drive, Mom was the one who taught me the importance of parking the heads. Mom was the one who worked her way up from the factory floor at an RV manufacturer into a proper engineer and then into the I.T. department. Mom is the reason I can drop phrases like “AS400” and “green screens”. Mom got me a summer job in college doing the website for the RV company, which put me on the path to the career I have now. Mom knows way more about tech support and hardware than I do, and sometimes she and Rodd geek out in a way that’s even over my head.
It’s ridiculous that I could forget how influential she was. Where I am strident and political about women in I.T., Mom just quietly made herself a career doing stuff she enjoyed and took care of her family as best she could. And while YouTube videos and initiatives and mentoring programs are great, nothing beats having a supportive parent who encourages kids to pursue their interests. So thanks to my wonderful clever Mom for showing me the way! (And those of you with kids – you should do the same for yours!)