• My Reboot: Ageism, Career and Gender

    by  • 2016/02/10 • General, Technology, Television, Work • 0 Comments

    This post is about me. I usually talk about media and technology in this blog but at this point, I felt that it was useful for my readers to set to talk a little about me and what I am doing at this stage of my life.

    I am now 51. Despite my background and significant accomplishments, the task of finding work in my field (media and technology) has became harder when I reached 40 and it has became increasingly difficult since then.

    Ageism is a concept that is practice abundantly in the technology sector. In my early career, I was seen as a “whiz kid” and I had no trouble finding work. I was given responsibilities way beyond my level of expertise and earned very good money. With time, it has became increasingly difficult and lately, I barely get any consideration for any job. Without talking to me or looking at my significant accomplishments, they assume that no one at 51 can be up to date on technology.

    So, I reached a point three years ago where I was unable to find work any more. Regardless on what I did before, what I built, how many people are rich today because of my work, I still needed to earn an income to eat and pay my rent.

    Transgender

    I am a transgender person. I was born male but always felt like a woman. This has been a long road for me since there was very few information available before the Internet and it was a topic seldom talked about in the 60s and 70s. Today off course, the topic is more mainstream and resources have became a lot more accessible.

    I have been married with a wonderful woman for over twenty years and she always knew about my gender issues and always been very supportive. For those who don’t know, gender identity and sexual preferences for a partner are separate issues. I have always felt like a woman but always been attracted to woman as well.

    Anyway, I don’t want to make a detailed story on that in this post, but to make a long story short, we moved back from San Francisco to Montréal in the summer of 2009 and began my journey toward sexual reassignment surgery, hormone replacement therapy etc. My transition was done by the summer of 2013, my transition was completed and I was living full time as Stéphanie Maude Savard (For those who did not figured it yet, my old name was Stéphane Savard. I still have my Facebook and LinkedIn account so that people who knew me can still find me but I barely used those any more). My name and sex was legally changed at that point and most of the people I know was aware of the change.

    Based on others testimonies, I was expecting the worst. Stories of rejection by friends and families were plentiful. To my relief, this has not been the case for me. I just received love and support from my family, my friends and even from business acquittance.

    Now, is the fact that I am a transgender woman makes it harder for me to find work in my domain? Maybe but I don’t feel it. Is it harder because I am a woman. Possible as well. But overall, I still feel that age is the biggest factor.

    Work

    Having to still pay my bills despite not finding work in media and technologies, I had to find a solution. I considered various obtion but I wanted to find something that still allow me time to develop new projects and to code some software.

    In other words, I didn’t want to do an intellectual job that would prevent me from moving out of that job in time.

    I always like driving and road trips. So I decided to work as a over the road truck driver. Driving a big 18 wheeler semi truck with a 53 foot trailer across Canada and US allows me to plan and work on the next phase of my career. While driving long distances, I have plenty of time to think, I can talk with my mobile phone to my friends and even conduct some businesses. All things that I wouldn’t be able to do with an office job!

    In fact, I just started another blog to share that part of my life. I called it Interstate Living and you can find it by following the link.

    Some people may believe the stereotypes that see the trucking industry as a place with lots of prejudices against woman, lesbians and transgender. That may be possible but I did not experience any of that there. I had no trouble finding a regular job despite that and my age was not an issue either.

    Rebooting

    My transition is basically done now (my voice still sound very masculine and it is an issue mostly on the phone… I have some work to do on that front!). I have a regular income which allow me to pay some debts and to generate some resources for upcoming projects.

    There is some aspect that I love about living on the road. My truck is quite comfortable. It allows me to see places in north america that I would have never seen otherwise. I can sit down anywhere, work on my project with portable computer while been connected on the Internet. I can park in a scenic spot and it becomes a nice office with a new view everyday!

    I have started coding on my new startup idea. I can take my time implementing it myself. I don’t have to worry about “burn rate” of my resources. This is not exactly how I was planning things but it is not so bad! I am happy and optimistic about the future!

    PS: I am planning to step up the frequency of this blog and as usual, I will be at NAB in Las Vegas this year! See you there!

    Stéphanie Maude Savard

    About

    Maude Stéphanie is the new editor-in-chief of the savardfaire.tv blog.

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