What is your field of work/job- or one you'd like to be in?
I'm a software engineer for a tiny company in Bellevue, WA which exists to enforce a certain clause of Microsoft's antitrust settlement. Microsoft has to license documentation on all of their network protocols to anyone who wants to pay for it, and our job is to check the quality of their documentation. Mostly, we reimplement the server sides of their protocols on Linux and check for interoperability with the Windows client.
What's "alternative", unconventional or "weird" about you?
Hmmm, where to begin? I'm one of the biggest nerds you'll ever meet. Not that this is so unusual in my profession, but when you have your own T1 line, have computers that outweigh you and require special power, and study quantum field theory for fun, you stand out even among other nerds. I hang around goth clubs and science fiction conventions. I'm polyamorous and kinky. Oh yeah, I'm also a transsexual lesbian.
What kind of experiences have you had (positive/negative) as an alternative professional?
It's been pretty good for me. I look a lot more normal than I am most of the time, and my industry is not one particularly noted for normalcy. The only big thing I've had to deal with is being trans; I was still presenting as a male when I was hired, so I got to spend months agonizing about how to come out, and then when I finally did it was really quick and painless. I took a day off and went to court for my name change while management made the announcement, and when I came back the next day everything was pretty much normal. A couple of the women in the company said hello and wished me luck, but it's a small software company, so there were only a couple of women. The men all pretty much just ignored it and pretended I'd always been like this; I think they're just in denial about the whole idea that someone might not be as enamored as they are with having a penis.
Where do you live- in terms of the cultural atmosphere?
Seattle, and it's soooo much better than southeastern Connecticut and upstate New York were.