Coming Back, Diving In, A Tale of a Return to Work

Coming Back, Diving In, A Tale of a Return to Work

Written by Jodi Loar

Member ReflectionsMembers

I’ve just spent the last 15 minutes looking for the “settings” tab on my Gmail to change my signature. I sit at my spot at Starbucks with my Green Tea and look around for a friendly face that might want to help me. Finally, after clicking every tab I can find, I locate the ‘settings’ tab. The feeling of pride is overwhelming.

My day is filled with jargon I don’t understand. Slack, Github, bleeding edge…. My co-worker tells me if I don’t understand something to ‘ping’ her. “Great!” I say….”what’s ping?”

The world is filled with Moms like me, who left the work force to have kids and are returning to a world of tech so far ahead of where it was when they left it.

“Is this what it’s like to feel old?” I think to myself. I’m only 36. Is technology passing me by because I’ve spent the past 7 years as a stay at home Mom? I distinctly remember 2 years ago buying a new laptop and telling the guy at the computer store, “I use my computer for pictures, music and email.” To be honest, I really didn’t know it could be used for much else.

So now here I am, a 2009 technology girl in a 2016 technology world. I find myself writing questions furiously as I listen to my co-workers spit out tech terms like watermelon seeds. At the end of the conversation they say, “Jodi, you got all that?” “Yes.” I say, “Except here are my five billion questions.” They laugh good-naturedly at the tech-newbie and are so patient and kind with me. It’s like when we set up my Grandfather’s second generation iPod. (which he still has because he doesn’t realize there’s anything else.) He is so proud to show it off, keeps it in a Teflon carrying case and keeps it strapped to his belt. He asked silly questions like “what if I want to skip a song” and we would all giggle and gently explain it to him. It’s so easy, Grandpa!

Now it’s my turn to be my Grandpa Marvin with his new iPod. Thinking that I knew what I was doing, but then finding out that things that others find to be so simple were beyond my grasp. I could use Facebook, iPhoto, even posted the occasional blog. But then time got away from me. My focus changed and I didn’t know that the world of technology was blowing up around me.

I work with brilliant women. I receive emails daily from women who are literally changing the world. But they all had to start somewhere. Maybe they started, sitting in their little booth, wondering how the hell to create a Google spreadsheet. But they learned. And I’m learning. So I’ll continue to sit here in my little booth at Starbucks. I’ve got my cheat sheet to my left and my green tea to my right. And people will probably stare at me when I let out the occasional “woo hoo!” when I figure out how to insert a link into an email. But I don’t even care. I’m so proud to be here, learning, one tech term at a time. And maybe, with enough practice, I can help change the world too.

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