Elisabeth Irgens

A Rebel Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a young rebel who lived in a rainy city of cobbled streets between seven mountains. By day she worked in factories as a fork lift truck driver — getting into all sorts of trouble with her bosses as the rebellious union rep. By night she was an activist — organizing a full stack of political activities with her friends. There were meetings and megaphones, banners and buttons, spray cans and study circles, parades and protests.

I used to drive a fork lift truck

These were the days of dial-up modems and limited online access among regular folk. To make their voices heard, they created newspapers, magazines, posters and flyers. This was how she became friends with computers, and learned how to make them do what she wanted. The rebels were trying to change the world and these were good times.

Learning layout

But something was not quite right and she got restless on those factory floors. She went back to school and started studying graphic design. Her teachers tried hard to keep her away from the computers. But she tricked them — and found new ways to do most of her designing with graphics software anyway.

Graphic design school

She worked hard and got a full-time job at a design agency months before graduating. She never attended the last course, where students learnt to design buildings for the web. But by that time, she was hammering up those houses at the agency — figuring out how along the way. There were table layouts and Adobe GoLive drag-and-drop. But that’s a different story.

Time passed and she learnt how to write HTML and CSS by hand. Designing and building websites became more fun than all the other work she did. There were always links to the Markup Validation Service in her footers and these were good times.

Design agency

But something was not quite right and she got restless within those same walls. She wanted to move on, find a place where she could work on the web all the time. But everywhere she looked, the marketing trolls were trying to steal her web magic and code powers. She had never wanted to use her skills to persuade people to buy stuff they didn’t need. And she could really not care less about working for fancy brands or any big name clients.

She figured her best bet to stay clear of those gloomy woods, was to work for herself. As an independent designer, she was granted freedom to choose what she worked on — and who she worked with. She could also attend lots of conferences and keep learning.

Freelance web designer

She had lovely clients and fun projects over the years. She stayed away from the trolls by sticking to small-scale custom cottages. Her clients were happy with her WordPress ways, and delighted to get a digital home to call their own. But what she didn’t notice, was that she was constantly the only person in the room who knew anything at all about building cottages.

This all changed the day she started working for a gang of wise wizard developers from Web Rebels. They taught her commands for the terminal and trained her in the ways of contributing on a node.js building. There were green squares for her collection of commits and these were good times.

Web Rebels

But something was still not quite right and she got restless working all alone. She wanted to collaborate with developers all the time, and find a rebel team to join. One sunny spring, she was attending the latest gathering of Web Rebels at Vulkan out east. These rebels were visualizing bomps and babbling with the merfolk and developing magic tools and enabling every one else to change the world. She knew it was time to leave the rainy city of cobbled streets between seven mountains.

Hey ho let’s go

I don’t know where this story ends. I know that I want to find a friendly team of rebels and help build something awesome. Anything from projects lasting a couple of months to a permanent position — and in almost any location — is of interest.

I don’t have a portfolio with shiny castles I have worked on before. But I have something more valuable than glossy pictures. I have 10 years experience in:

  • getting things done with limited resources
  • figuring out how to do something along the way
  • collaborating closely with people who care deeply about their personal digital homes

Any ideas where I might find this team? Ping me!

Update: someone did ping me, and in September 2015 I moved to Oslo to start working as a developer at Posten/Bring.