Marilyn: I’m not going to lie, I love my job. I love what I do for a living. I didn’t set out to be an Apple technician; it was all quite by accident. My first real job was in an advertising agency as a production artist back between 1995 and 2000. I would help people with their Mac issues in addition to doing my job. I was eventually told I wasn’t there to fix computers so I would sneak in before work and fix them. We worked with a Mac guy that would come in to fix the problems that were over my head. One day he asked me if I knew of anyone that was good with Macs as he was thinking of expanding and taking on an employee. I jumped at the chance. I trained with him for about 7 months before I made the jump and started with him in July of 2000.
Initially mac-fusion was just an Apple Authorized Reseller and Service Provider. We had a business-to-business focus and did AppleCare, warranty and out of warranty repairs out of a small office in Signal Hill. The first 6 years I worked here I juggled my days doing a mix of onsites and in-house hardware repairs. Eventually we expanded to hire more techs, enabling me to focus on just doing onsites. This year we opened a retail store in Seal Beach and now it’s a mix of onsites, repairs, working retail and finding the coolest Apple accessories to stock in our store. Oh, I guess I should mention that I’m also in charge of all the marketing, online advertising and social media. It’s safe to say that I’m a busy girl.
Marilyn: I didn’t start out a business owner. It’s actually not something I ever wanted to be. I’m a certified worker bee and don’t always love all the headaches that come with owning a business. I started dating Kevin (yes, my boss…not something I recommend for any single mother to do) in 2004. I like to say he married me to secure his number one tech. We are a fantastic team and I like to think we run a fun workplace.
Marilyn: There’s been so much talk on this lately. I’ve had more problems being a Mac tech than a woman tech. Sometimes you can tell they are surprised to see a woman show up but once you fix those problems they’ve been having for months, in a short amount of time they don’t care. I’ve only had two incidents that stand out. We had a husband and wife bring in their iMac and printer that they couldn’t get to print. They had spent hours and hours trying on their own and working with HP tech support. They bring it in and I reset the printing system and it prints. The guy looks at me and yells “I can’t believe it was fixed by a girl!”. It was all in good fun but his wife was mortified. So I put on his receipt “FIXED BY A GIRL”. I actually had someone on Twitter, who I was trying to help, get a bit too aggressive with me so I had to block him. It was pointed out to me by someone else that he made a disparaging tweet about me being a woman. Other than that I’ve been to many Apple training camps that were filled with hundreds of male techs and only a handful of women, with absolutely no issues. That’s not to say this behavior or attitude doesn’t exist; in my line of tech I haven’t felt it personally, though.
I would like to mention that I am active in trying to encourage young girls to take this career path. I have done numerous career day talks for middle schools to try and not only get the word out there that this is an option, but show you can be a woman and a tech. I come across so many smart techie woman on Twitter that don’t feel this is a job they could do. There’s some pre-conceived notion that you have to know everything. In our company there are different types of techs. Some know servers and networking, some know hardware; I happen to know software well. All of these things came with time and experience. You don’t start at mac-fusion and go out onsite on your first day. It’s a learning process. I wish more people understood that.
Marilyn: I actually thought I wanted to be in law enforcement. I was going on police ride-alongs and was very interested in forensics. The LA Riots scared me. I was living in Long Beach at the time, and seeing the very people that were there to protect you being attacked freaked me out. I’m not aggressive by nature so it wouldn’t have been a good fit.
We had an Apple IIe when I was young. My dad would bring home reams of print-outs (the kind that were all attached and had the little holes on the sides) with line after line of code. You would type these codes in and then a little turtle would walk across the screen. Make one typo and nothing worked. The fascination ended quickly. I actually grew up with PCs in the house. I was constantly breaking them. Still to this day I have no idea what a System.ini file is or why they always went missing ;-) I was actually mostly PC until I went to work at the advertising agency. I self-taught myself the Mac (mostly by breaking the software and then having to fix it).
Marilyn: I count my first Apple product as the one I bought myself, a glorious Beige Power Macintosh G3 Minitower running OS 8. There was nothing mini about this bad boy. I think I was around 25 years old and it was the most expensive thing I had ever purchased.
Marilyn: Since I deal with businesses primarily, I have a different view of cloud than most people. Most of my clients host their own email on a server that lives in their office. They have physical access to it. We also have a few clients that use a hosting company to host their email. Guess which ones we have more problems with? If there’s a problem with the server, or the server software, being able to access it and fix it is essential. Having to deal with a hosting company and different levels of techs can be time consuming, costly and increase downtime. I feel the same way about backups. Having a secondary or tertiary cloud backup is OK but it would never be my only backup. If I can’t touch the hard drive my backup lives on, I don’t own it. This is one of the reasons that my iPhone doesn’t back up to the cloud. If I need to restore my iPhone I want my data back on it in an hour, not twelve.
Marilyn: I’m a mom, so I’m up when I need to be and down when I can ;) I used to be a night person, but these days it’s rare if I sleep in until 7am. I’m really trying to get around 8 hours a night.
Marilyn: Since we opened the retail store this year, we are now open 7 days a week. This adds an extra set of challenges, though we just recently started taking the entire weekend off again. We have paying clients that rely on us so I don’t feel like I can ever fully disengage. Most Sundays we ride our bikes from Seal Beach down to Long Beach to go to the Aquarium of the Pacific and the movies down at the Pike in Long Beach. It’s a 8.5 mile bike ride for us there and then we take the Aqualink boat back to the Long Beach Marina and ride back to Seal. It’s always a fun day. The most challenging thing is finding a movie that can engage a 4 and 13 year old.
Marilyn: Oh boy. I just had to get VERY organized. We just went Paleo (no dairy or grains) and it takes a ton of planning. All veggies, fruits and good meats. Also Soccer practice just started again, and both boys are playing this year! Luckily, since my main job is being an onsite tech, I have a little freedom with my schedule. I just need to watch emails and be equipped to do remote support if necessary. There are days when things happen, but I’m fortunate enough to have a mom and a mother-in-law that are local and can help me if needed. Not to mention my amazing husband; he’s a fantastic dad and stepdad.
Marilyn: I have a small love for dark but really I’ll try anything. Lindt makes these round truffle balls that are amazing. They also have some chocolate bars that mix in things like chili or sea salts.
Marilyn: I actually have a dirty secret… I was in an informercial for Windows 95. I was attending Cypress Community College at the time, taking graphics classes on PCs! Microsoft featured my professor Michael Johnson due to this. They gathered our class in the lab and had our professor showing us the new features of Windows 95. I was sitting right in the front and got to ask “Where do you go to find Photoshop?”. I find this terribly ironic given that just months later I was on my way to teaching myself the Mac and on a path to my true calling. The infomercial is called “Microsoft Presents: The Start of Something New”. I’ve tried so hard to find a copy of this online. I would love to see me with my bad perm again ;)