Working for The Man
According to the counter that I put up on my PinkEssence.com profile so long ago, I'm very close to completing two-years of full-time life as Kathy. To be honest, I stopped counting those days quite some time ago. You see, life has mostly settled back into routine (admittedly that routine is a little different from before, but still) with thoughts of transition and all that it encompasses have been pushed into the background to make room for more important things, like family and my job. In a few months, I've been told I am getting promoted and then hired on as an employee of the state (as opposed to the contracted slag position I currently hold), which I am excited about.. sort of.
The topic of my job came up a few nights ago, while talking with my friend Amanda about Life, the Universe, and Everything (something not uncommon between us). She's recently decided she wants to start a new job where instead of being that same old guy, she instead wants to work as herself. As we discussed her motivations and what possible options lay before her... thoughts of my own career path of course came up.
For those of you who are just joining the story, I currently work as the senior software engineer for the state of Massachusetts. It's taken me a good fifteen years of grunt work and crap contracts to finally get into a position that I actually enjoy, but I am finally here. This is the first job where not only do I get to work as a woman but where I was hired as myself (I worked as Kathy for a short time at my previous job as well, but it was short-lived). I make a decent enough wage (enough to cover my bills at least) and its not like I don't enjoy what I do.. because I do. But...
When people used to ask me what I wanted out of life, my answer tended to revolve around computers and staring at screens for long periods of time and for offensive amounts of money. But lately, I've noticed that my answers have shifted. Getting to socialize with co-workers who actually know and like me as Kathy has opened my eyes to a new reality. One that doesn't involve me holding residence in Cubicle Land (see Dilbert). I see myself wandering from place to place, meeting new people and having adventures along the way (I joke about starting a MYSTERY INC kind of thing, which my own ideas kind of reminds me of). Something that would allow me to travel from place to place, and capture it all on film would be pretty sweet... and unrealistic, I know. But a girl can dream!
It's not that I don't enjoy the art of creating something from nothing (which is exactly what I get to do right now.. create a tool where previously there was a void), because that's not it at all. It's the part about sitting alone in a box, being anti-social. Back when I was still trying to hide the fact that I am transsexual, I found it easier to just not be around people. That way, nothing "leaked out" and I never had to watch what I said, or did. Add to that, writing complex programs takes a significant amount of time and effort.
All kinds of little technical problems come up along the way.. lots of stuff to work through, which ended up being perfect to keep my mind from wandering. Perfect for keeping me from thinking too hard about how much I hated the life I felt trapped in, or about how unfair it was that others could do what I could only dream of. But see, now that everything is out in the open and I am actually living life on my terms, that need to keep my mind busy has gone away. And with it, that drive I once had to sit in a chair for hours and hours, staring at back-lit glass rather than human faces. At present, I still do much of what I've always done.. but now it's become more difficult to push through the very same problems I once lived for. I'd rather wander between the desks, chatting it up with all the people around me. I'd rather.. live, than hide away in a box. I'd rather be all I can be..