Not long ago, I made the mistake of helping a friend out with his IT homework. Ever since, he’s been calling me up all the time. And I mean, all the time. I finally got the chance, in between all of the amazing things I do, to take a girl out for dinner, and what do you know? He’s texting me all through the date. What is it with people taking Melbourne IT courses? are all of them nuts?
I told him to back off. I did. I said, ‘Look, mate I’m taking a girl out for dinner and I’d appreciate it if you laid off the calls for just one night.’ He kicked up a big fuss saying he had an web development exam on Monday and that if I were a true friend I’d be there for him. I said, ‘I’ve been tutoring you for your IT course every night! Give me a break, alright?’
So I go to dinner with this girl and I feel my phone buzzing in my pants pocket, trying to ignore it, shifting uncomfortably in my seat. She probably thought I had problems, it’s a miracle that she even invited me back to her place that night. But there I was, about to learn a little bit more about this girl while all I could think about was web development courses in Melbourne and my mate’s imminent exam. Just as I finally pushed these intrusive thoughts out of my head, I hear this rapping on the window.
It was my bozo friend. ‘Mack!’ his shouted, muffled by the glass, ‘How do I program this command for my IT course?! Help!’
The girl was horrified. She snatched the jacket at her feet and used it to shield herself. Then she turned from him to me and said, ‘Get out.’
I was gutted. Reaching for my own clothes and heading towards the door all I could think about was the blasting I was going to give my friend as soon as I got outside. But then I heard her voice call after me. ‘Wait.’ I turned, and saw too late, her hand reaching up to slap me across the face.
After graduating from high school, I decided to study web development in Melbourne. I remember the first day of my course very clearly, the mingling excitement and apprehension that I felt, and the thrill of attending my first class. It was a few minutes into my first lecture that I discovered something was awry. I looked around the room at the people in my lecture, wondering what on earth was giving me this feeling. Then it hit me – almost everyone in my web design degree was male.
I’d never had this experience before and felt slightly out of place. I later realised how underrepresented women are in the information technology industry and instead of feeling awkward I began to feel proud. It’s true that times are changing, while there are a few girls like me in my computer programming and game design classes, I guess there used to be even less. It’s obvious that higher education institutions along with the government and not-for-profits are making an effort to promote women to join this heavily male-dominated field.
I learned to cope with being in the minority by befriending my fellow female students for a bit of solidarity, and also making male friends for a bit of balance. After that, I started to take this budding-feminism a little further by reading some femo literature and joining some women’s clubs. It was a great experience to meet like-minded people and show the world that yes, women too can study anything they want, even IT courses. Melbourne is one of the most progressive cities in the world, so what better place to start making positive change. I even sought out some scholarships and funding opportunities that were offered outside of my academy to help me along with my studies. It really did give me a warm fuzzy feeling to know that others are willing to help. Now whenever I find myself in a male-dominated workplace or endeavour, I’m full of confidence that I can do as good a job as they can and bring about some more gender equality in the world.
I’ve moved offices a bit in my time. My time hasn’t even been that long, but…well, maybe I just move around a lot. Never happy, I suppose. I need to settle down at some point, but right now I seem to be on the office grind…one office after another. I guess that means I’ve picked up a few skills here and there, photocopying included, as well as fetching coffee and fixing up paperwork for conveyancing. Melbourne was the first place I worked as a conveyancer, even though I wasn’t there for too long. Really nice people in that job, actually, which always makes things easier, particularly when you stumble into a job and just sort of have to learn a lot of things on the fly. I was okay dealing with the clients and I could do up a tie pretty well (even a bow-tie) but I felt a bit reclusive at times. Sometimes I just wanted to do my work and go home, not because I didn’t like the people there because they were really great, but more because I just…didn’t really feel up to social interaction. Whenever we’d have some kind of work social outing or we’d stay back and eat pizza, I’d die a little bit inside. Maybe I’m better now, not that I have many opportunities to show it.
So yeah, conveyancing. I didn’t imagine myself as a conveyancing solicitor when I was growing up, but you know how it is when you don’t have a solid career in mind. You tend to bounce, a bit like a ball in a pinball machine. Hopefully you just keep bouncing until you light up some things, score some points and finally end up starting again. So I’d rather be…I don’t know, Perk-Man? Just eating little pellets around a maze, avoiding the ghosts and still progressing to a higher level of the same thing. Yeah, a bit of the same thing would be nice. Still, the Melbourne conveyancing solicitor gig was nice, while it lasted.