Melissa W. Wittner


Letting Go of the Parking Meter

“Making no decision is a decision. Take control and make sure your decisions are the best for YOU!” Melissa Wittner

Growing up as a young woman in the late 70’s in a small, backward coal town was probably more confining than one would imagine.  We had grown up on TV shows like Bewitched, Happy Days and All in the Family where women were still portrayed in subservient roles.   Even divorced women such as Mary Tyler Moore and I Love Lucy had story plots where the female lead was insecure, looking for a man, or the laughing stock of every episode.  At the same time, I grew up in a household where I had two older sisters who were part of the feminist movement.  They both pursued serious careers, albeit female oriented (nursing and teaching), but were professionals in their discipline.  It is within this very confusing context that I found myself not having a clue about what I wanted to do with my life upon high school graduation.

My chapter is a story about the journey that I took as I discovered what was important to me in terms of my career.   Upon reading this journey you will see someone who struggled personally, pushed against dated family values, found themselves on the brink of homelessness to eventually become the Vice President of an IT company and the owner of a successful software development company.  You will see how society can influence a young woman, adding to her insecurities about what she can accomplish.  You will get a glimmer of what was considered “acceptable” professions for a woman in the late 70’s.  You will see people pushing and guiding from places and experiences that you do not expect.    At the end of the story, my hope is that just one young woman reads this and decides “I can make it as an Information Technology professional and no one can stop me!”