TechnoMom twitter
TechnoMom Rss

The Benefits of Maturity

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Work, Writing | Posted on 09-11-2016

0

Sunset over the mountains

I’m an Old­er Woman. My 50th birth­day is fast approach­ing. No mat­ter what I do with my résumé, it is pret­ty obvi­ous that I’m not a mil­len­ni­al. That is who is tru­ly desired, it seems, by the tech star­tups that I pre­fer to work with.

Oh, the job post­ings don’t come out and say that they don’t want old peo­ple, but the key­words are there?. “Fast-paced,” “high ener­gy,” and “dynam­ic!”? They all whis­per, at least, that “we only want young peo­ple!”

This isn’t just my impres­sion, but the con­sen­sus among var­i­ous peo­ple I’ve spo­ken with. It prob­a­bly isn’t inten­tion­al, but the bias is there and the ageism is felt. So I want to address some things that seem to be missed by the “we want young peo­ple!” folks.

First, there are plen­ty of mature work­ers who can keep up with that “fast pace” you describe. We know our­selves, our bod­ies and our oth­er com­mit­ments. We have the expe­ri­ence it takes to judge whether or not we can com­mit to start­up life. I’ll be hon­est: I don’t think many young peo­ple can match that lev­el of self-knowl­edge. I know that when I first worked for a start­up, back in 1995, I didn’t have any idea how much ded­i­ca­tion it would require.

Sec­ond, old­er work­ers bring a life­time of expe­ri­ence in many dif­fer­ent areas, and that expe­ri­ence is brought to bear in our work­ing lives in ways that younger work­ers sim­ply can­not match. For instance, I don’t have the admin­is­tra­tive work I did decades ago on my résumé, as it isn’t direct­ly rel­e­vant now. How­ev­er, that expe­ri­ence shaped me and gives me the abil­i­ty to bet­ter relate to non-tech­ni­cal peo­ple as a sup­port professional.Younger peo­ple don’t have that kind of added val­ue.

The aver­age old­er work­er has been out of school and their par­ents’ homes for a long time, mean­ing that they have expe­ri­ence man­ag­ing their own finances and house­holds inde­pen­dent­ly (or with life part­ners). That gives us a cer­tain respect for the val­ue of mon­ey and time that noth­ing else does. How much of that expe­ri­ence does some­one right out of school have?

Most old­er work­ers are also post-par­ent­ing. Their kids are grown and rea­son­ably inde­pen­dent (whether out of the house or not), so they aren’t going to be jug­gling preg­nan­cies, soc­cer prac­tices, and music lessons that will impact their work lives. Grand­chil­dren? Yes, some of us have them. Being a grand­par­ent is, how­ev­er, a far less time-con­sum­ing com­mit­ment for most peo­ple than being a par­ent.

Final­ly, there’s noth­ing else that beats matu­ri­ty for giv­ing you a calm tem­pera­ment. Some peo­ple are born with them, but on aver­age, it’s eas­i­er for some­one with 30 years of pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ence to put one bad day into per­spec­tive than it is for some­one with a few months or years of work­ing under their belts. (I know there are excep­tions to this, as to every rule, but Don­ald Trump prob­a­bly isn’t apply­ing to work at your start­up.)

The next time you get a résumé or appli­ca­tion from a Baby Boomer or Gen X’er, then, please take these fac­tors into account. Con­sid­er their tech­ni­cal skills, cer­tain­ly? (and don’t assume that they’ll be out­dat­ed) ?but weigh their matu­ri­ty on the pos­i­tive side of the scale, for a change.

(Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished at Medi­um)

Morning Pages Tool

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Writing | Posted on 25-07-2012

0

I’ve recent­ly got­ten back into the dis­ci­pline of doing morn­ing pages, some­thing that’s a vital part of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. It’s a great way to clear your men­tal caches each morn­ing and pre­pare to write some­thing more mean­ing­ful. Tra­di­tion­al­ly, one writes three pages long­hand.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I have trou­ble with that. The arthri­tis in my hands caus­es ter­ri­ble cramp­ing, and I can’t read what I’ve writ­ten by the time I’m a sen­tence or two on. I get pre­oc­cu­pied by how ter­ri­ble my hand­writ­ing is and so dis­tract­ed that the whole point of the exer­cise is lost.

If I try to use a word proces­sor, I end up writ­ing too much. Blog­ging is no good, because I write too much and I wor­ry about for­get­ting to mark the entries pri­vate.

750 Words is a won­der­ful alter­na­tive. It pro­vides noth­ing but a blank screen and a notice when you hit 750 words (three pages at 250 words each equals 750 words). It’s a free ser­vice! And it will send you reminder mes­sages.

I’m tick­led pink!

If I Could Be a Magazine Editor

Posted by Cyn | Posted in NaBloPoMo, Writing | Posted on 09-03-2012

1

Plinky asked, “If you could be an edi­tor for any mag­a­zine, which would you choose?”

News­stand

Oh, that’s a dif­fi­cult ques­tion. There are mag­a­zines like Wired, that have enor­mous dis­tri­b­u­tion with­in a cer­tain demo­graph­ic and cov­er fas­ci­nat­ing sub­jects. Then there are lifestyle mag­a­zines that have the poten­tial to be very influ­en­tial among women, such as Real Sim­ple (the only one I per­son­al­ly ever read). I’m afraid I’d be bored pret­ty quick­ly with their con­straints, though. More seri­ous­ly, there are mag­a­zines like Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can (and Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can Mind) or Skep­tic. That would be chal­leng­ing. Do you think Nation­al Geo­graph­ic edi­tors get to trav­el much? I haven’t even touched the online mags, like Salon, yet. They count, right? Then there are all the lit­tle niche pub­li­ca­tions, like the mag­a­zines for var­i­ous sorts of col­lec­tors, or needle­work­ers, or cross­word enthu­si­asts and so on. Is there a mag­a­zine about mag­a­zines, oth­er than Writer’s Digest?

I keep com­ing back to the breadth of mate­r­i­al Wired cov­ers. Tech­nol­o­gy, books, music, sex — that sounds pret­ty good to me. If I got to play with the lat­est tech toys, it would be even bet­ter!

Powered by Plinky

Whether…

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Art, Blogging, NaBloPoMo, Relationships, Writing | Posted on 01-03-2012

3

Such a word that is, indica­tive of choic­es big and small. I’ve faced more change than choice in the past 30 days or so, thanks to a major rela­tion­ship change.1 But there have been choic­es, and there will be yet more choic­es in the future — choic­es that I will be mak­ing alone, for the first time in many years.

Choice, reflect­ed in that word, is the NaBloPo­Mo theme for March. And I’m mak­ing a change, by mak­ing a choice to return to blog­ging.

I’ve been jour­nal­ing pri­vate­ly these past weeks as a spir­i­tu­al prac­tice and have found it reward­ing. I’m not quite doing writer’s pages à la Julia Cameron, but per­haps I’ll return to that dis­ci­pline at some point. To be hon­est, my spir­i­tu­al life has suf­fered great­ly in the past six years, and my writ­ing has suf­fered along with it (as well as my music, needle­work, and every­thing else).

So, per­haps I’ll write about choic­es this month. Or about changes. Or about any­thing else that strikes my fan­cy. I’m just mak­ing a com­mit­ment to post­ing a bit each day, for now.


1 One not yet reflect­ed every­where on my web sites, because it takes a lot of time to track down all men­tions of a 14-year part­ner­ship

Writing Bug

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading, Writing | Posted on 15-08-2008

5

I’m more and more tempt­ed to write some fic­tion again. It’s been years since I did that. I’m good with char­ac­ters and envi­ron­ment, but not so good with plot. I don’t like to write about neg­a­tive things, or nasty peo­ple, which is rather prob­lem­at­ic when you need to have con­flict.

I know part of it is read­ing books and think­ing, “Damn, I could do bet­ter than that.” But to be real­is­tic, any­body who has fin­ished a book is doing bet­ter than I actu­al­ly have done.

One thing that’s real­ly get­ting to me is the num­ber of anti-fat state­ments that get thrown in to so many sto­ries. They have noth­ing to do with the sto­ry – they just hap­pen because of the authors’ prej­u­dice. Describ­ing a minor char­ac­ter as fat is a cheap short­cut, because most read­ers will assume the per­son is lazy, slop­py, and not ter­ri­bly intel­li­gent (or a hyper­fo­cused geek with no social skills if he is smart).

I know that start­ing out with a “mes­sage” is a crap­py way to write fic­tion, though. Mes­sages are bet­ter expressed in essays, not sto­ries.

Still, I have this itch. Bah.

School Happy

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College, Education, Geekery, Writing | Posted on 18-05-2008

0

I final­ly got the grades from the first tech­ni­cal writ­ing assign­ment I turned in last week, and the peer reviews I did on two of my class­mates’ rough drafts. I got full points for all of them!

I was wor­ried about one of the peer reviews, because the per­son chose to do a set of instruc­tions for start­ing to cross-stitch. I know too much about that top­ic to eval­u­ate it well from a beginner’s point of view, and that was the intend­ed audi­ence. I actu­al­ly approached the pro­fes­sor with some ques­tions, and won­dered if I should swap reviews with some­one new to stitch­ing. Hap­pi­ly, the pro­fes­sor said I pro­vid­ed a bal­anced review that reflect­ed my expe­ri­ences as a for­mer begin­ner and cur­rent­ly expe­ri­enced stitch­er, and that I was respect­ful through­out. I was try­ing very, very hard to avoid any hint of con­de­scen­sion, and it appears that it worked!

My top­ic was “Cre­at­ing Your First Pod­cast,” and that received full points, too. It had to be done with a Flesch–Kincaid Grade Lev­el less than 8th grade, which was not easy. I got it down to 7th grade, and couldn’t go any low­er. The pro­fes­sor said that was due to the tech­ni­cal terms I had to use, and was per­fect­ly accept­able.

Weekend and School Update

Posted by Cyn | Posted in College, Education, Writing | Posted on 20-04-2008

2

The girl and Sam both had busy week­ends. Katie went out Fri­day and Sat­ur­day, play­ing D&D with friends first, then going to a par­ty with her sweet­ie dur­ing my and Sam’s date Sat­ur­day night. Sam had a com­put­er to deliv­er Sat­ur­day morn­ing, then ran around pick­ing up some things. He went out again yes­ter­day, to the library for me and to the gro­cery store and the farmer’s mar­ket and I’m not even sure where else. Then he did an inter­vew for his pod­cast last night.

This is the last week of my class­es for the semes­ter, so I did a paper for one class and cre­at­ed my slides for a group project pre­sen­ta­tion in the oth­er, then had a cou­ple of quizzes. Mon­day night we do our pre­sen­ta­tion online, and see the oth­er groups’ pre­sen­ta­tions. That class doesn’t have a final, but I do have to take the final for the man­age­ment class, then I’m done.

Next week I start a class every­body is appar­ent­ly sup­posed to take around the begin­ning of their stud­ies, since one of the assign­ments involves cre­at­ing a “plan of study.” DeVry seems to have a lot of these “because we said so” class­es, which is annoy­ing. I’m also tak­ing my first tech­ni­cal writ­ing course at DeVry, though. It will involve more group projects, a bane of my exis­tence.

It’s one thing to work togeth­er in a busi­ness set­ting, where people’s jobs depend on their per­for­mance. It’s quite anoth­er to be yoked with peo­ple who just can’t be arsed to pull their weight and appar­ent­ly think Bs are high grades. I’m absolute­ly appalled by the num­ber of peo­ple in the 400-lev­el class­es I had this semes­ter who can­not cre­ate a coher­ent para­graph, much less write a paper.

I had the required “write a research paper” class over 20 years ago, at anoth­er school. Either the stan­dards have fall­en hor­ri­bly, or Mer­cer had high­er stan­dards than I real­ized. (I won’t even both­er com­par­ing Agnes Scott’s stan­dards to DeVry. It’s too painful.) Of course, if either of those schools had reme­di­al cours­es of any sort, I was unaware of them. Those “teach you what you should have learned in mid­dle school” class­es are a fact of life in all the Uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem schools and DeVry. I know that there were some when I took class­es at Geor­gia Perime­ter so many years ago, but they seem to be more and more impor­tant now. I hon­est­ly don’t think they belong in any insti­tu­tion of “high­er learn­ing.” If you can’t read, write, and do basic math before you get to col­lege, you have no busi­ness being there, because you do not have the essen­tial tools required for suc­cess. I sup­pose that makes me an elit­ist.

It’s going to be odd going back to 100 and 200 lev­el cours­es next week. By the time most stu­dents do get to the 400-lev­el cours­es, the true dregs have dropped out or risen out of that sta­tus. Thread­ed dis­cus­sions are such a huge part of online class­es that you get far more expo­sure to your class­mates writ­ing than in a face-to-face class, and you quick­ly find out who can’t or won’t write and who has no clue about how to dis­cuss issues with­out degen­er­at­ing into total non­sense. That part of this semes­ter hasn’t been as bad as oth­ers, at least. I did still run into nut­cas­es insist­ing that this coun­try was found­ed as a “Chris­t­ian nation,” but that’s pret­ty much to be expect­ed any­more.

Review: Writing to Change the World by Mary Pipher

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading, Writing | Posted on 15-04-2008

0

Writing to Change the World
I haven’t actu­al­ly fin­ished Mary Pipher’s Writ­ing to Change the World yet, so it’s prob­a­bly weird for me to be doing a review. It’s a real­ly meaty lit­tle book, though, and I haven’t fin­ished it because I keep going back to re-read sec­tions or copy some of the quotes scat­tered through the text.

The focus of the book is on per­sua­sive writ­ing. I like the fact that Pipher acknowl­edges the pow­er of sto­ries and fic­tion to inspire change.

I’ve got to return it to the library (it’s way late, because I didn’t want to let go of it), but I’m def­i­nite­ly going to find a copy of my own soon. As I real­ly don’t buy that many books, pre­fer­ring to read them from the library, buy­ing a copy after I read the library’s copy is pret­ty high praise.

I’ve admired Pipher for years, since read­ing Reviv­ing Ophe­lia and The Shel­ter of Each Oth­er, but some­thing I learned today rais­es her even high­er in my esteem. Last year, she returned an award she received from the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion to protest the APA’s con­tin­u­ing sup­port of tor­ture by the U.S. gov­ern­ment. The arti­cle includes her let­ter to the APA, and I encour­age you to read it.

Boo Sickness! Recipe, Word Geeking, Reviews

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading, Writing | Posted on 15-02-2008

4

This not-flu or what­ev­er is exceed­ing­ly tire­some. I should think it would be enough to live with the day to day stuff, let alone put up with this. Then again, nobody has ever claimed in my hear­ing that the world is fair.

MélusineI haven’t suc­ceed­ed in hold­ing any thoughts in my head long, so you’re in for ran­dom­ness again this entry.

I have no idea why the main arti­cle was linked from ZDNet, but doesn’t this ched­dar and apple sand­wich seem yum­my? I won­der how it would be with ham? I used to have a real­ly good recipe for a sausage and apples dish, but I know I haven’t cooked it in the last decade. Maybe I could dig it out of my ancient recipe box? There are few ways to go wrong with cooked apples, as far as I can tell.

What do you want to read or hear?

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Blogging, Needlework, RPGs, Writing | Posted on 13-02-2008

3

I record­ed some more pieces, but need to wait for Sam to “pro­duce” them (clean them up and add appro­pri­ate music). One of them isn’t some­thing I would have cho­sen myself, but Todd, who cre­at­ed Live Read­ings, asked to hear oth­ers read it. It turned out bet­ter than I thought it would. And it was fun to do some­thing that I wouldn’t have cho­sen.

So it’s request time! What would you like me to record, or write about?