I just took a web design survey. It took me less than four minutes, if that, thanks to the multiple choice options and easy questions. What slowed me down was the chance to speak up about women, driving long distances to work and single parenting.

There is no shortage of web design/development talent. There is, however, a shortage of companies who want to hire talent, understand the value of well-rounded skills and are flexible enough to accommodate their needs. There are three companies I can think of off-hand that I wish to chuck my work at home self-employment life for. Two of them have sent their recruiters to me four times. Each time, as much as it frustrates me, I turn them down.

I can do what I do best from here. I have the software and equipment, and am one of the most self disciplined home office workers I know. I love working off-site and am extremely fond of team projects. But, I live one and half hours (one way) from companies worth dropping my tax deductions for.

I have no interest in paying $3.00 a gallon in gas to get there. Three hours of driving every day, on a day where no major traffic tie-ups occur, is not in the cards for a parent who has kids active in school and sporting events. When I did commute to my IT jobs, I was a single mom. Dinner was at 7:30 pm and the rest of the evening was devoted to kids’ homework, house related work, and staying up until 1am teaching myself more skills, checking my Yahoo club, and freelancing in SEO on the side.

A giant company in California knocks on my door periodically. How cool would that be? Working for a cutting edge company? I’ve done that before and it was the best experience working with brilliant people everyday. But I turn them down because I’m not a twenty-something relocatable potential property. They have other offices, but they’re also in big cities that are too far away.

Who decided the best and brightest workers live in cities?

Why do Internet software companies fail to encourage telecommuting? With the technology available, this is absurd. We can remotely view and test people using websites but can’t consider hiring employees who need or want to be home-based?

More and more men are tiring of spending their adult lives driving to and from work. They’re being pressured by society, and women, to spend more time with their families and communities. Employers pay lip service to their male employees about being flexible. When a man wants to leave early, skip a day to watch his kid do something or even race home when the school nurse calls, he’s suddenly “not one of the team” anymore. His ratings drop because, sadly, he exposes his desire to be with his family.

There’s a stigma to this that requires serious change by companies interested in holding on to valuable employees, men or women.

I’ve experienced vile hatred from women who have no clue what being a single parent is like. These are women who are career driven and “sacrifice”, for them, is no time for self, let alone children. You just put your kid in a box somewhere and go to work. Period. This is why I needed to bring my son to work with me when he was in second grade, on the way to get X-rays for his broken collarbone that he got on the school playground. I was afraid I’d lose my job if I took time off to care for him.

This is what the career ladder can be like for parents. I was one of the few women on an entire floor of IT men. I needed to be there, no matter what. And, I loved the work, so I wanted to be there. I just didn’t feel a child had to suffer so I could be one of the guys.

The survey was about a career in web design. The questions were basic. They don’t shed light on sacrifices or choices made to further one’s career. There were related industries to web design that weren’t represented, other than there being the dreaded “Other” option. Accessibility design wasn’t highlighted. Or persuasive design. Or marketing for search engines.

I’m always asked for referrals for “web designers who know accessibility and SEO”.

The survey hit on age and gender. I know I’ll be in a minority. I know my average earnings for last year are far less than what I used to make working for a big Internet firm. I’ve never been able to replace that kind of income, though I work just as many crazy hours.

The survey doesn’t visit the home office of a barefooted consultant with a dog lying nearby and the sounds of birds coming from the open windows, or me as the working mom waiting for the daily cell phone ring tones of her kids, waiting to be picked up or driven somewhere next.

I’ll be there in “just a few minutes” is music to their ears and a luxury no big company looking for hot talent seems to understand about persons like me. We’re here.

You have to come to us now.

Finding The Women in Tech and Women in Search
Bill Slawski and Loren Baker Discussion with Mike McDonald

cre8pc

Kim Krause Berg’s long background in web design, SEO and usability includes software application functional and user interface testing, accessibility, information architecture and persuasive design. She shared her passion for Usability and SEO through her site and private consulting at Cre8pc for 17 years. Kim founded Cre8asiteforums in 1998. In the fall of 2012 she sold her forums to Internet Marketing Ninjas and retired from private consulting to join their Executive Management team where she continues her work in usability testing, customer experience and conversions design.

My Online Course: Web Site Usability 101

Member:

American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)

Information Architecture Institute

Usability Professionals Association (UPA)

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