Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Tale of TWO First Jobs

My first and second jobs were so different (from each other) that they're both worth mentioning in this post. When I was 16, I had an epiphany that I was not independent. That I relied on my parents & their income. Huh. Go fig. You're SIXTEEN doofus, of course you're not independent!

My semi-traditonal Indian parents were like, "Huh? After school job? Why? What do you need to buy that's more expensive than your education?"

I begged and pleaded and threw a fit and they finally relented. And I started working at Bean & Bagel. Note to everyone: when the "hiring manager" Dino called me and told me they'd accepted my application, I cried tears of joy as if I'd just won the Pulitzer. The same tears I cried when I got my first "real" job offer on the West Coast. Yes, I like drama.

I worked for about 2 months at that Bean & Bagel and after many weekends of sore feet, a total distaste for coffee and way too many orders of "blueberry bagels with lox" early in the morning I QUIT.

My stint that prompted me to study really really hard and swear never to work in food-service again. I was going to study hard and show them all. I was going to be rich and never have to pour coffee again. I was going a corporate-youknowwhat.

This lead to my next job.

I did IT Tech support at the Engineering company my mom works for Jervis B. Webb the summer before college. I spent my summer in the basement with the other IT folks supporting all the employees of the company's tech issues. I upgraded Windows and Office and taught people to use Outlook calender sharing and debugged hung machines.

I swore and cursed at Microsoft and demanded WHAT kind of company would make such unstable software and hadn't anyone tested this before they shipped it?

Who wanted to be a part of corporate American anyway? I told my parents I wanted NOTHING to do with computers and I was going to be a starving writer and not "conform to their Indian ways".

But then I realized I liked white chocolate mochas and pretty shoes and vacations and shopping with Forever 21 with my girlfriends. I needed money to do all those things. So, corporate America it was...for a little while anyway. I was NOT going to sell out to the man!

So I went to college, studied Computer Science, graduated college, married a techie, and moved to Seattle and eventually started working at Microsoft.

And not just Microsoft.


That's right. And last year when Vista shipped, it was one of the proudest days of my life. And seeing the sales numbers (60 milion copies licenses people---that is a LOT of Vista!)

And right now doing time-sharing between being an author and being a Windows engineer, I am so lucky to not have one, but TWO, jobs that I absolutely adore.

The lesson learned? You really can have it both ways.

Ah, life :)
Dona Sarkar-Mishra
HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI -- January 2008 from Harlequin's Kimani Tru


Heather Davis said...

I can just picture you rolling your eyes when someone asked for the blueberry/lox special. Eww! Glad you're doing what you love, Dona!


stephhale said...

That was a great post, Dona. I bet your parents are SO relieved! :)

Unknown said...

Like a typical Mother, I would say..."I told you...."!! Jokes apart , we are really really proud to see you in this position now, where you could fulfill your life- long dream...Good luck Dona!


Anonymous said...

I gave your cell phone and home phone number to everyone I know who bought Windows Vista and asked them to call after midnight if they have problems with the software!! Just kidding......... This is your Kabul uncle saying HI from tropical paradise Singapore.

Dona Sarkar-Mishra said...

Heather...just imagine, fish with berry cream cheese. Gross! I think that's when my aversion to eating anything from below sea-level began!

Steph: thank you! I think they actually believed I'd become a vagabond hippie for a while there =)

Mama: I can't believe it all worked out...makes those long hours writing code and finding bugs at the Media Union worth it!

Kabul-kaku: I get that already from my local friends =) Hope Singapore is good and Indira is fab.

twoputt said...

Just remember to keep some of that advice handy when your cousins become teenagers. I'm counting on you!

From your uncle who gives the Microsoft calendar teams something to imitate ;-)

Illusionary said...

you really rock girl! I feel so proud to be your sis :) Lali

Rupa said...

Keep working at the blissful balance in your life; wearing the "meticulous techie" hat during the day and the "eloquent writer" hat at night. You make us all so proud..GO GIRL!!! Rupamashi

Anonymous said...

That was fantastic- Software as a career brought you to the beautiful NW and writing as a career made you a *published* buzzgirl- I can't imagine what you would be doing today if you decided to stick with the Bagle industry :)

Jokes apart, this is fantastic. I'd need 48 hours in my day to do as much as you do in one day.

Dona Sarkar-Mishra said...

Thanks guys! I really appreciate all your support over the years =)

Anonymous said...

Looks like you have lots of free time !!! Just kidding .. Thank the UofM senior student who convinced you to study Computer Science. We are all proud of you.