“So Tell Me About Yourself, Rain”

[Dutch Lock Down Day Three Hundred Seventy Two]

Within my CV you may have noticed that I have an undergrad in Dance and a Master’s in IT which is very much who I am.

I was a professional dancer in the United States and if you’re a professional dancer in the United States, you need to have one or two or three OTHER jobs in order to pay the rent and bills and survive, which is sad, but neither here nor there.

I taught myself to code, HTML, CSS, and javascript and would barter for services I needed to perform – rehearsal spaces, performance venues, lighting services – I build you a website, you give me what I need.

It never occurred to me to do that for actual money.

Instead I was a receptionist, a waitress, a data entry specialist, a temp and while that’s great for some people, I was miserable.

I was working as a receptionist at a tech company when 9/11 happened and we watched live as the plane flew into the second building and my brain helpfully asked, “What if you were a receptionist at the top of that building right this second?”

I quit my job immediately, went back to school and grabbed a Master of IT.

My first tech job was Windows thin client support and I was in heaven.

I got to dance AND code.

I got my cake and ate it, too.

My plan with dance was to get a BFA, dance professionally, get an MFA, join Academics, tra la la.

During my MFA dance program, my assistantship was the webmaster for the University.

I loved my assistantship. And hated dance.

Soon after, I joined Red Hat and here’s how I got to DevRel.

Six years ago I gave birth to my first child. In the Netherlands, when you have a child, you can choose to work part time and I wanted to be part time for a bit while he was especially young. As my job at the time was a dedicated support person for very well paying customers who could call me directly Monday through Friday, nine to five, going part time and keeping that job was not an option.

I asked myself what I truly enjoyed and my brain immediately offered, “CODE!”

Simultaneously, I started speaking at tech conferences.

And I LOVED IT.

So about fifty percent of the time I’d code in python and ansible and the other half of the time I’d travel around speaking at tech conferences and getting feedback about the TripleO installer.

I had my cake. And ate it, too.

My boss in engineering pointed out that what I was actually doing was DevRel and helped me move over to Red Hat’s Open Source Program Office where I took over the RDO OpenStack Project.

Three years ago, I gave birth to twins.

I don’t know if you know, but kids are expensive.

Suddenly, money got very tight for a family of five living in the Netherlands paying extensive student loans from the United States.

I asked for a raise because I was making €50,000 and got one, but fifteen percent is not enough.

Eventually, I joined Equinix Metal who paid me based on experience rather than location.

Sadly, I’ve been laid off, so I’m looking for the next adventure within DevRel, preferably within open source, and definitely remote – that compensates based on experience rather than location.

I’d like to be able to afford cake.

So that I can eat it, too.