Looking back over my life is both exciting and HORRIFYING. Let me explain. I was 18 and graduating LPN school in a little town in Oklahoma. I thought I had life by the horns, let me tell you. I was going to quickly excel and run away in a medical career and never look back. Obviously, you all know me and understand that was not my future at all. However, if you would have told me then my future involved databases, networks, servers, and security, I would have laughed my butt off.

How did I have such a pivotal change at 18 that literally decided the rest of my life? I hated being a nurse in the real world. Other nurses weren’t following proper procedures and regulations. I saw friends get placed in bad situations due to other nurses’ negligence. I developed a keen awareness of these things called germs and how I was literally bringing these newfound friends home every day all day to my family. Long story short, I was in a dilemma about my foreseeable future.

Immediately after a long shift, I enrolled online into my first A+ and CCNA class at vo-tech. The rest is history. But what lesson did I learn and what would I tell myself looking back on the life I literally had planned since I was 10 years old? Relax, because you’re not going to be in the medical field and you’re a natural learner. Hey, life will fall into place. When I made the decision to get into IT, my family was so mad at me and I was sick all the time because I was fighting my way to the top every day.

I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for being the only woman in a room and searching and struggling for these answers and defending every idea. But, strangely, I loved the fight and the way it made me be sharper and study stronger. So, to all my family that were against me walking away from my dream and literally allowing me to buy out Walmart of all Pepto and antacids, thank you. Because you helped me to be the independent, pain-in-the-butt, stickler-for-security woman that I proudly am today.

To myself, well heck, looking back, I loved every trial. Every teary-eyed moment of rejection of ideas and every win that started to outweigh the losses. In the end, I’d just tell me, “Yeah, you’ll never do that medical stuff,” and to follow my heart instead of the dream I thought I once had.

  • Experience is alot of trial and error until you get the results that you want.

  • At 14 we had to decide what subjects we would study for the next 2 years at school for 'O' level.  There was a new one that sounded interesting.  Computer Studies.  This was in 1980.  I was doing all the sciences as well as I was going to be an Industrial Chemist.  Computers wouldn't really be all that mainstream.  Turned out I was really good at it so took it at 'A' level too (for two more years).  I still took Chemistry and Maths as I was still going to be an Industrial Chemist.  Some time during that time I changed my mind.  Computers were becoming more mainstream and it paid really really well.  After that came my degree (in Computer Science) and I joined one of the major Computer Manufacturers.  I'm now in my 21st job in IT (lots of contracting in-between) and still enjoying it.  I've also travelled all over the world and pretty much completed a fantastic bucket list.  I'm glad I too changed my career choice.

  • I enjoyed reading your story.  I grew up in a household of strong women that always encouraged me to work hard and never settle.  In high school I thought I would get into Business Administration and work my way from there, however after graduating high school and enrolling in my first business class I realized I needed a challenge.  Despite not knowing anything about computers, other than using them at school, I said, how hard could this be?  I enrolled in a local IT school, I was the only girl in the class, which never stopped me, and instead it encouraged me and sparked a profound interest.  I am glad I took a chance and tried something new.

    To my younger self, do not be afraid to drift from the given path, you never know unless you try.

  • You could, after you retire, have a second career as a teacher....both my kids had a Jr high history teacher that retired from the business world and got his cert and teaches 7th and 8th graders.   

  • And something I neglected to say in my original post, which goes beautifully to Dez​'s parting comments above:

    Image result for success is the best revenge