Right after Rob started, RightNow had a social in town for their current batch of trainees. Since most of the trainees were from far-flung places, they were there solo, but Rob was quietly authorized to bring me. It was a little intimidating until I started chatting with people and understood why "culture" had been so heavily emphasized in his brief interview process. These were geeks, yes, but they were PERSONABLE geeks. We joked with his trainer, who appreciated that I understood and laughed at a He-Man reference.
"By the power of Gray Skull, you've got to be kidding me!"
I found out that the pool table had been reserved for this shin-dig and lamented that I'd left my cue at home, but promptly began wheedling games out of others. As I fumbled my way back into remembering what I was doing (did I ever tell you I worked at a pool hall in college? I used to be pretty good!), I had a few conversations with the handful of females there.
Being able to say that I am the managing editor for a locally based online magazine was unexpectedly gratifying for me. I'm not sure if these women were expecting someone slightly less technical/geeky (dare I say smart?) than them, or if they expected me to say, "Oh, I'm just a mother," as if that were a less important use of my time than working for someone else. Their countenances visibly changed as I was able to discuss some facets that overlap on our jobs with knowledge and insight. On one hand, I was quite proud of what I do and proud of the fact that I have a grasp of current business and technology trends, and on the other, I was very aware of that pride and how differently I may have felt if my current occupation HAD been stay-at-home-mom.
I'd still know about cloud computing and how to manage a customer support interface, but would they know that or would they have written me off as someone with whom they had little in common? And more importantly, would I have cared? I've been thinking about these things a lot since then: about my self-important pride, about what's important to me in life vs. in social situations, about how complex and nuanced my desires are about working in or outside of the home, and about parenting losing status as a meaningful "job" in our society in general.
While that evening was a giddy rush of feeling relevant, ultimately, the most important thing about me is not what I do, but Whose I am.