Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

Never really got you anywhere, I know. But having tried all other options to get into the Business Analysis field, its all I can do. The “Catch 22” situation in IT has always been experience versus the lack of opportunity. I’m smart, I always tell people that, and I thrive on challenges. I’m aching to get into a role that will allow me to utilise my varied skill set.

Currently working as a Test Engineer (pauses while the oohs and ahhs from the crowd die down) in an Engineering company (where if they could find a way to append the word Engineer to the receptionist’s role, they would) and doubt that this will be the role that lands me my next golden opportunity in the field of analysis. I didn’t enter the field of IT to become a techincal expert. I hate programming, not only because its linear and requires endless hours pouring over code but also because its very very hard! Depending on the technology you choose to get involved with your career options are always tenuous. Where choice is determined by your brilliance in that field and the opportunities available around you.

I live in Perth. Choices are limited.

My impatient nature notwithstanding, I’m becoming increasingly disillusioned with an industry that offers little to please the heart, or the mind. My faith in the enabling nature of technology is yet to ease my transition into a more hands on role. I want to become part of the decision making process and use more than just my ability to test systems. If you’ve ever done a role similar to mine, in a company as disorganised as mine, you’ll know how I feel. If you have ever experienced the adrenalin rush that comes from having high ambition and then had that rush choked at the source, you’ll know how I feel.

Unlike many university going students, I didn’t choose my field of study due to a lack of direction. Nor did I study I.T. as my second or third preference. It was a decision based solely on the fact that at that time I hadn’t developed a passion or interest in anything that would see me through three to four years of academic study. And I really didn’t want to be stuck reading reams of literature. I’m not saying that the study of I.T. didn’t require reading (I just got away with skimming and summarising) but I did have a sort of penchant for computers. Also at 17 there’s only so much you know of the world you’re preparing to enter post academia.

As my degree neared completion I was sure I’d get a job as a Systems Analyst within six to eight months of graduating. Fellow practitioners read and chuckle at my naivety. But really, they give you no idea of what the industry is like at university. I’ve spent many hours toting the benefits of incorporating compulsory work based training for I.T. students and spent some time trying to organise this during my tenure as the Student Body Representative. Didn’t work out because no one was interested. Even at uni, I stuck out like a sore friggin thumb. I had a personality (shock horror), wasn’t interested in programming and most of my friends were doing Law.

Did another piece of the puzzle just click into place? Perhaps.

My current role doesn’t engross or challenge me though I get a nice financial reward at the end of each month, which I spend freely to counter the boredom. Having said that, it would be unfair for me to pin this ambivalence to my current role. Let’s not undermine the luxuries of a job that allows me to paint my nails at my desk, take extended lunch breaks, blog, msn, unlimited and unsupervised internet access, blog, wear jeans any day of the week, take as many breaks as I like, come in late, go home early, blog and basically what ever else takes my fancy. All this because they’re always struggling to get the build completed according to schedule and as the tester I have the happy job of waiting around till it gets done. After which point I spend tireless hours repeating the same exercise, such that by the end of the day all exuberance is well and truly quenched.

I enrolled in what’s called a Graduate Certificate course for Professional writing and put some serious effort in convincing them why I should get in, even though enrolments had closed in Novermber. Some of my persuasion went as follows:

I consider writing to be a newly resuscitated art in need of serial donors. In an age of electronic communication comprising instant messaging, web chats, and conference calls, writing has become a rare and sacred art. I would also like to use my experience with this course to branch into the Professional Writing field and eventually become anewspaper/print columnist.

I got in, got excited and opted out because as much as I would love to complete the course, the on campus requirement for some units made it impossible to continue without seriously compromising the quality of my experience. And I really don’t like doing things half heartedly.

To curb the rant that could become a painful read, I’ve compiled a list detailing my reasons for opting out of the industry. I’m unsure what my future direction would be but I’m hoping, praying and working constructively to find it.

So here goes.

Reasons I want to opt out of the I.T industry:

  • Its soulless.
  • Loyalty and job security do not and can not exist due to the nature of the industry and the wonderful element of outsourcing.
  • Getting any kind of job satisfaction will entail selling my soul to the company (not this particular company).
  • There’s no such thing as a work life balance, no matter what they say in the glossy advertised positions.
  • You’re supposed to just know things. Its assumed that you know the environment, the infrastructure, the technology. You just must have it covered. Asking questions is a pesky little problem you need to get over.
  • The male to female ratio is disgusting and isn’t about to change very soon, irrespective of the efforts being made globally to get more women into IT. Even if they do get more women in, they’ll still be very IT minded and thus, of no use to me.
  • Making it to the “almost genius” level for the daily word jumble awards me the “almost genius” status at work.
  • Guys in IT still use exclamations such as “Yo!” and “exactomondo dudette” to sound cool.
  • Having a conversation with a male (due mostly to the lack of women around) means you’re absolutely and completely hot for him. His geekiness is the geeky you’ve been waiting for thus far.
  • Being friendly means you’re absolutely and completely hot for the receiver of your kind and friendly nature. Believe me it leads to some irksome situations.
  • Having a grasp on basic english principles gives you a standing as an intellectual.
  • You have to suffer not only geeky but seedy jokes. All the time.
  • You have to laugh at idiotic and unfunny I.T. jokes. Its worse when you make a funny joke and no one gets it cause its too “intellectual” (read, not about IT or First Person Shooter games)
  • You feel stupid because your thinking style isn’t linear and you spend more time making a document look readable by correcting its grammar and expression than in actually testing the program fucntionality.
  • When you write test cases for new iterations (versions) of software, you start to write a narrative rather than instructional chunks of text.example:Having skillfully manouvered the three car pile up on Kajang, you arrive late and wiping off the after effects of a muggy Malaysian morning, you start your pc. While the motherboard chugs and churns, you get out your notepad and pencil to note down details of the accident while they’re still fresh in your mind.

    As the operating system loads, you log in and launch TA*.

    After taking a longer than normal time, the server returns this error:

    Server process details could not be retrieved. Please contact your network administrator [OK]

    You click OK and radio your Supervisor to inform him of the three car pile up on the Kajang Expressway.

    He advises you to radio the trafficon agent on site to alert the emergency services, if they haven’t already been alerted.

    Having delayed it long enough, you pick up the phone to dial the extension etched in unwillingly in your memory.

    Versus:

    Step 1.Stop the System Controller.Launch TA.

    Expected Result

    Control Station does not launch.

    Error message appares:- Server process details could not be retrieved. Please contact your network administrator [OK]

  • Despite the fact that 7 out of every ten employees at your office have headphones on while working, you’re the only person jiving and humming in her seat.
  • People walk past you and are amused for no apparent reason.
  • Though you appreciate that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side and all the glimmers isn’t gold and a rolling stone gathers no moss, you can’t help but be inspired and enthused by the people you meet through your recent connections with the Department of Permier and Cabinet and ache to know how you can morph into the clog that churns the wheel of change.
  • Your inability to abbreviate means sees you spending more than the average required time per correspondence.
  • Wearing a leather cuff on a the occassional black outfit, lends itself to comparisons between you and Trinity (the female lead in The Matrix trilogies). The seriously humorous point to note is, I wear a hijab.
  • You get more joy out of coordinating the colours of your daily outfit rather than meeting any deadlines.
  • The consistent awe your title inspires serves only as a reminder of your hollow career.
  • You get invited to detailed and lengthy software configuration meetings in a bid to make you feel included rather than due to its impact on your work.
  • The brilliance of your peers fails to inspire you (I have in the past and am currently working with some seriously technically gifted people).
  • You suddenly find yourself pining for an active lifestyle.
  • You find yourself coordinating your extra curricular activities at work.
  • You’re the only one whose happy and excited about your life.
  • You spend most of your day blogging, be it reading others or writing yours.

Related links: Geekbot

*proprietary software. not allowed to name names.

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20 thoughts on “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

  1. hey maryam. you used to come on my blog. well just wanted to say that im back so please come back. i have no blog buddies.

    i was a CIS major freshman yr at uni. It was minus soul and so I changed to finance. haha.

    how sad. now i want to be an adventurer/filmmaker. thats seriously what i tell people. dont know how i will do it with the new tyke but will do it.

    hows perth?

    when i worked with nerds on programming projects in uni i would never give them eye contact therefore they couldnt think that i wanted them. dont know if it worked. they probably just told themselves that im so in love with them – i avert my gaze.

    its not just nerdy ones… boys are dumb…. when they grow up…

  2. Najia, you probably won’t believe this but I was thinking about your blog and how i havent visited it in a while and that i should do so today. I also thought you wouldn’t come back to blogging once you had the baby. Is that trippy?

    Welcome and see, i got a wordpress blog so as you can leave a comment ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you for visiting, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! ON your little baby. I’m going over to your site to see if you’ve got pics and info up.

    Re: its not just nerdy onesโ€ฆ boys are dumbโ€ฆ. when they grow upโ€ฆ

    Do you mean to say, they’re dumb even when they grow up, or not so dumb once they’ve grown?

    I can’t answer your question, “hows perth” in a succinct manner without generalising. So i’ll say, Perth is pretty and the people are dull ๐Ÿ™‚ Come and visit! No one ever comes here… God only knows what made us ๐Ÿ™‚

    Keep visiting, i got no female readers (well if i do, they don’t post :|)

  3. Hey M,
    I agree totally with what you said, I would rather be at home tinkering away on an idea that my mind has recently concocted, than sit here and do the most futile things here at work. Though I know for all my MAD concoction I need a stable income coming in!
    Though it takes direction and a need to use that money for a true purpose. Find that goal, work towards that and when your there, all your woes will be a distant dream.
    Jazz

  4. that was a seriously funny post. you belong in the british version of the office (the show).

    “If you have ever experienced the adrenalin rush that comes from having high ambition and then had that rush choked at the source, youโ€™ll know how I feel.”

    Been there. Yeah, it sucks. You know what I did? I held out (months upon months of humiliating ‘hey, so u dont have a job?’ and loans and borrowing to get to do what I love to do). However, I did get the requisite education first.

    Maybe you should consider a career in government. Or come to the United States. Get into a GOOD MBA in America. Or a good law school.

    Or you could just master Halo 2 and go on living the way you are.

    I have heard of all women’s team of video game players who go to international competitions.

  5. Hey Maryam

    So this is the IT post you were talking about! Well, I am a Business Analyst at IBM Canada where I have started very recently.I have only graduated recently and not even finished my Honors courses. The reason I got into BA is same as you. I never liked programming and did not really liked the idea of doing it. What I did through my university years was to take all my electives in Business Admin, Managment, etc Also, i was always doing a number of various IT projects while getting hands-on real world expeirence.

    Its true, the deveopment process is quite boring and geeky. Its more for people who are willing to spend hours and hours on finding answers to given questions with a set rule of asumptions and resources!!! I never found that really really creative or challenging!! I mean, how cool is it for 30 people to do the same assignment which gives the same output!!

    So if you are looking for work as a Business Analyst, firstly there are a number of variations for thie job title. Some are totally for ppl with Business packground and some are for ppl with IT background. However, all of them involve knowledge of both dimensions to some extend………..So you have to exhibit those traits through your mix of education and experience. You can always put your school courses or some other projetcs as experience where you exhibit the requirments of a certain BA job posting.

    And the best thing to get into these roles is to NETWORK!! Networrk in your company, community, etc and try to see if you find a position that losely fitts into you. i am sure after even 6 months of experience you will be more closer to get into something you may like as you will gain expereince of the tools and processes used by BAs!!

  6. I think I’m glad I’ve opted out of IT… but you know what..sometimes I ACTUALLY MISS not having to think.

    Non linear thinking can be very very painful.

    HEY, I’m a girl, don’t undermine my value just because we have face 2 face conversations. I READ your blogs. :oP“““““““ .

    Thats all i have to say.

    Najia – Perth is a place where you dig a comfortable You shaped groove and lie in it.

  7. Abrar: Finally found it hey? ๐Ÿ™‚

    First things first. I’m very envious of your role at IBM. I remember applying for the grad program and then nearly crying when I found out i didnt get in. It was so perfect for me but obviously not meant to be. IBM then started cutting mass numbers from their headquarters and thus my disappointment turned into relief ๐Ÿ™‚

    You only just started working there. How cool. I’m going to have to add you to my msn… There are like a million questions I’d like to ask.

    The fact that you were able to acquire the academic knowledge needed to fill your role is proof positive that the courses in Canada are more carefully crafted. The practical experience would most definitely have helped. Its very very hard to get into a junior BA role here, first coz there arent many and then for every one role, there are maybe 80 applicants?

    A lot of job creation comes from the industry’s demands and in Perth we’re pretty happy just managing s/w and really not that interested in hiring bright eyed and inexperienced fools such as myself ๐Ÿ™‚

    re: networking
    tried and didnt get as far as i wanted to but there’s something in the pipeline… will keep you posted on any developments

    Thank you for responding, i’ll be chatting to you soon.

    I_Know_Who_You_Are: Don’t be hatin’, thanks for dropping by and reading my blurbs on life. go the female support ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. i know this is incredibly late..but i love this post. Being in IT, and having opted out and in, many times over..i find myself yet again, sitting in a cubicle wondering how ended up in this modern day jail cell:p

    it aint so bad…an income is nice once in a while, and to get paid to blog, think, and organize your extra curricular activities? awesome stuff:)

    anywayz, just wanted to tell you i really relate to everything you wrote, i have an equally inane job with a very important sounding title, & spend just as much time BS-ing…and reflecting on when, oh when will i be able to completely divorce myself from this *insert expletive* field:)

    and i am a woman too interrupting this harem of men you got here:) *hugggssss*

    let us know what you end up doing:)

  9. Hehehe, oh my Harem of Men. We can safely quash that myth!

    I’m still in IT, and if I end up finding my magical position I will most certainly make a post about it. I’ll even let everyone know when I leave here (inshallah, soon).

    Thank you for this, very good to hear from a fellow sufferer ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Salaamat,
    Sorry I can’t seem to leave this topic…but i was cracking up yesterday when I used the word “serendipitous” and my co-worker looked up at me like i am from Mars.

    yes, i do share a certain kinship with Martians, but that’s besides the point.

  11. Pingback: Something To Be » Kicking and Screaming

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