Today I addressed a room full of people about my work – and it was nothing to do with writing!
I was at a school in Ballsbridge giving a talk on my IT career to fifth-year students as part of the Ada Lovelace Initiative which is a grassroots movement to encourage more women to get involved in STEM – an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics. In my case the class was mixed, so the students were thankfully spared any attempt at an Emmeline Pankhurst style monologue exhorting women to head for the barricades – which is fine, since I have limited time for her anyway.
As well as talking about my background – my arts degree and conversion course in IT and my developing skillset in software development – I told them not to feel beholden to any job or company and not to feel obligated to mould themselves into some bull-manure model that corporate interests are supposed to want. I told them that the economic climate is particularly cruel to their generation – far crueller than it was to mine – and falsely devalues them. I told them that no job is worth your sanity and that there is no shame in walking away. That they must never relinquish their self-worth. I was thinking of one woman in particular, one bright light that went out too soon.
And as I said those words, I imagine I felt the room change. I hope it gave some confidence to the students listening to me. It was a pleasure and a joy to speak to them.