My topic was about how I brought GirlDevelopIt to Philadelphia with a brief background on my struggles as a non-technical person starting a technology company and not knowing how to communicate with developers. I was going to write a personal recap of the event but I’m not sure I can do it justice with what’s already out there on TechnicallyPHL and Flying Kite. Go ahead and give them a look. You’ll notice I nabbed the coveted “Best Overall” presentation which I’m still excited about. So much so I volunteered to speak at the next one!
My talk is titled “Learning How To Code With GirlDevelopIt”:
I have to give my brilliant friend (and GirlDevelopIt teacher) Pam Selle a shout-out on her “Go the f&*k home” presentation before signing off. She talked about how to be more efficient at work, why supervisors should set an example for their employees and creating a life/work balance. Her hilarious speech was my favorite and the video is embedded in her blog post.
I went to a friend’s birthday get-together tonight and a couple of people asked about my occupation. I vary my description depending on whom I’m speaking with. This particular person didn’t seem like a techie so after a brief pause, I quickly explained that I’m the Product Marketing Manager at an ad network. He nodded, then proceeded to switch the subject. I was initially put off by it and it wasn’t until I walked home that I realized why which led to this blog post.
When I was running 123LinkIt, I had my pitch down cold. I would almost always receive follow-on questions that would lead to discussions about advertising, technology, entrepreneurship, or another subject in the space. I loved being self-employed and describing what I did. I felt like I had a purpose and it showed.
Most of the way things have shifted since the acquisition was expected. However, actually experiencing it first-hand is another matter. What it boils down to is I feel like an average, ordinary Jane. I get up early, go to work, make dinner or go out with friends, go to sleep and get up to do it all over again tomorrow. I’m accustomed to hearing people complain about their work woes and I would secretly pat myself on the back for not being in the same situation. I may have been broke and always hustling, but I felt special and unique as an entrepreneur. The shoe is now on the other foot and I’m not quite sure how to perceive it. It has been seven weeks since I started my new gig and I’m wondering why I haven’t fallen into a routine yet.
It’s not like I have it bad. I’m working on some exciting initiatives and I have autonomy on certain things. My boss and my coworkers are great and our office environment is extremely laid back. I go to work in jeans every day. Facing the tribulations I used to hear people complain about is what adds to the “average Jane” feeling. I have a long commute, I sit ALL DAY (this is the hardest thing for me as I tend to become restless easily), I hit a mental block in the early afternoon and so on. Before I know it the week has flown by, it’s the weekend and it goes by in a blur.
To add to it, I used to associate myself with my Company. We were essentially one “person.” I can’t help feeling lost and stripped of a part of my identity (is this what separation anxiety feels like?). I just went to register for the Women In Tech Summit that I’m helping to organize and I lingered at the “Company” portion. Do I input 123LinkIt? NetLine?
All in all, this transition has not been as smooth as I initially imagined. I’m left uncertain of how to label myself and I don’t like it. I pause when people ask me what I do because I don’t want to sound like another employee and I miss explaining that I work for myself. I can’t help but wonder if I can still call myself an entrepreneur even though I have a 9 to 5. If it’s simply a matter of patience and getting accustomed to my new role or if it’s a mindset I need to change within myself.
How have others handled this type of career transition? If anyone has ideas or feedback, I would love to hear it.