I work as a computer repair technician at a small family run business and have been working in this field for the last year. My job title tells it like it is; I repair and build computers. Most of my work is removing viruses from computers or troubleshooting hardware issues. One of the most common misunderstandings that people have about my position is that I can fix everything. The truth is there are just some problems that cannot be solved. Am I happy with my job? You bet. I would rank my choice at a solid 8 out of 10. I am currently working on certifications that will not only give me more experience and a better understanding of my job but also more money. More money will put me at a 10.
I have always loved tinkering with the computer. I always wanted to know what made them tick and got really tired of paying high prices for repairs. I looked at it as a puzzle. As a kid puzzles were my favorite thing to do so why not get a job solving puzzles all day. The challenge for me was finding a way to solve those puzzles. I tried on my own, and I did okay, but I only got so far. A close friend suggested that I try taking a few courses to better understand what I was doing. It was the best decision I ever made. After I finished school I have continued to learn new things every day on the job. Some are hard, some are easy, but I enjoy every minute of it.
My current position started out as an internship. I actually found my internship by accident. I had a computer problem and needed a part. I walked into the store, asked for my part and got to talking to the technician on duty and mentioned that I needed an internship. He told me I needed to speak to the owner. I came back later that week, when I knew he would be in. I walked in and introduced myself and simply asked him if I could work for him for free. He looked at me rather strangely for a second and said, “When you can start?”
I started a month later after the school approved the internship. The lead technician was honest with me after a few months of being on the job. He mentioned that he didn’t think I would make it being older and female and that the other young man, doing a similar internship would do better. Boy did I prove them wrong! The young man that worked with me even fit the look of a computer geek; but, I am still there and he is long gone.
The thing that makes my job unique to me is that I am a female in a male dominated field. I had a customer recently ask to speak to the technician on duty. When I walked out, he looked at me and said, “You’re a girl!”, I had to laugh and told him I was the last time I checked. I learned the hard way that being a female in this field has made it harder for me to find a position, but it has not stopped me and I would not change a thing.
The one thing I learned from school and took with me into the workplace was simply the ability to learn. Every day at work is a learning experience. No two work days are ever the same. No two problems are the same and I need to learn how to correct those problems. That is what gets me out of bed in the morning, because I never know what is waiting for me when I get there. There are always days that are harder than others. Yet nothing makes you feel better then when it is time to leave for the day and you have completely cleared your bench, and are ready for a new set of challenges the next day. I always walk out of work with a smile on days like that.
Do not get me wrong, there are days when I just want to pull my hair out. Those are the days when nothing goes right and every problem solved is another problem uncovered. There are days that no matter how hard I worked, it looks as if nothing is finished.
Starting out with my internship I was paid a sad minimum wage. I guess it was better than working for free. I have since then received a few raises based on my performance. Getting certifications will help improve my pay as time goes on. It’s definitively worth it to apply for scholarships for college to help out with the expenses, and to avoid debt after you leave school. Working for a small family owned business does have its draw backs as far as pay goes, but working in a family atmosphere is where I feel the most comfortable. I feel that I have learned more than I would have at a big company. After working with this company I can see myself owning and running my own computer repair business in the next five years.
Getting an internship, and getting hired as a technician, worked in my favor. I had proof of my knowledge in my portfolio. Without school it would have been harder. It is a definitely a, “show me what you can do”, field. My advice is, go for it!
This true career story, as well as an Interview With an Addiction therapist, has been developed by LatPro, who will organize the 2012 Diversity Jobs Fair for bilingual professionals in a few cities throughout the country.