I Chew Bread for People's Ducks

Do you ever find yourself in the difficult situation of explaining what you do to people who aren't in the industry?  Long ago, I discovered that if I actually got into specifics when asked "So, what do you do for a living?", that more often than not resulted in the same sequence of events.  I'd get the nodding head, then the glassy eyes, then the eyes quickly unglassing (is that a word?) scanning the room for the first available exit, then the "Oh! Look at the time!" getaway.  By that point I could be sure I wouldn't be receiving another invitation to their party.

As a defense mechanism, I started responding to the question with a completely random group of words, such as "I chew bread for people's ducks."  For some reason, it was more understandable to my audience that the real answer.

So you have to ask yourself, why would ANYONE pick a career that is social suicide?  Willingly?

Here's my feeble attempt at an answer:

- As a kid, I could never, ever get enough of puzzles and problem solving. (This was LONG before the Internet but during the time of indoor plumbing and electricity).  I loved the rush you got in figuring out a complex problem.  I knew that whatever I did in life, I would need to have lots of puzzles and problems to solve.

- I found out that I could get the same rush when I was able to help someone else solve a problem, or do things more efficiently, or accomplish more than they could before I helped.  I could also get the same rush vicariously, helping others, help others.  (Hey! I'm a blogger not an English major).

- The next stage had the same level of EUREKAbility that our ancient ancestors might have felt when they discovered a lever or the wheel... using a tool, one could do much more than without the tool.  In my case, this "tool" came in the form of a Commodore PET...  I could control a machine with a few commands!  As a kid raised watching the race to the moon, having an actual computer in the room, under my command was an epiphanal moment.  Then I discovered that the supply of "new" computers never stopped.  Every day brought new, more powerful devices and software.

- And lastly, I discovered that I am constantly in search of the "What's next?"  My wife would say I'm addicted to change.  I know I would not do well in a static, unchanging environment. I cheered when Bobby Kennedy said "There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"

So the short answer to the question as to why I chose IT as a career? Given the way I am wired, I have no choice.  Even if it means I don't get invited to your party.

Note: This posting was entered into Computerworld's Blogging Idol Contest )


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