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Archive for the ‘Profiling’ Category

Today I happened to click on the wrong menu button and ended up on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed page. I then found myself reading this post and taking this quiz.

Jen-Archetype2013

Apparently, based on my answers to the quick quiz, my overall personality is comprised of three main archetypes: 37% Caregiver, 22% Advocate, and 21% Intellectual. The other 20%  is simply categorized as Others. Without creating an account, or retaking the test with the exact opposite answers, I can’t figure out what the other archetypes are. (Although, from the post I read, I know that Athlete and Spiritual are two of the seven other types.)

I think I’m most surprised that I registered so high as an Advocate… it made me think of a friend and co-worker who recently began investing herself in training to become an actual advocate and mediator because she found the work more fulfilling than her day job. I, too, am looking to find a different profession, job or career. Something that makes me feel excited to go to work and to contribute, that I know is me making a difference. I want to do something that lets me know there’s a reason I’m doing it, a purpose for the work and the effort.

This isn’t necessarily a new development. I’ve never been quite absolute on what I want to be when I grow up, and 12 years spent working in a relatively small area that supports one industry hasn’t exactly opened my eyes to what else is out there.

I remember going to a bridal shower once where most of the ladies were from Washington, D.C., and finding myself saying, “You get paid to do WHAT?!” and “That’s a paid position?!” over and over. I had absolutely no idea that those types of jobs even existed. This is a problem for a girl needing to use online job search engines like Monster.com, which ask you to search by career or job title.

“What if you don’t know what jobs your skills qualify you for?” I asked my counselor recently. She encouraged me to take small steps, and to start with a Google search for “jobs Communications majors have.” Unfortunately, Google supplied me with the same generic list of careers over and over, and no real job ideas or data to research into.

Instead, about a week later, I found myself thinking about my current skills. What do I like doing, and what do I find myself doing naturally? I came up with (drumroll, please) — editing. Yet I’m painfully aware that there’s more I could learn in order to be a better editor, thanks to working with two other editors and spending the last decade watching each of us edit the same articles. That led me to a quick search for online classes.

And so here I am. 33 years old, enrolled in a six-week course called The Keys to Effective Editing through the College of Southern Maryland (CSM). I’ve already learned that there’s an “en” dash in addition to the hyphen and em dash, and how to use these three dashes correctly.

Right now, I’m just having fun learning about something that I enjoy, so I guess I’ll worry about tackling that job search engine after I’ve completely re-edited my resume.

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It is easy for me to get caught up in seeing only what isn’t going well, or what’s standing in my way. 2009 felt like a training camp for disappointment and strife, and though 2010 started off quite nicely I am aware that I’m swimming against the tide of last year’s muscle memory.

My ambivalence about the verb, hope, is unsettling.

I can see that it’s going to take a variety of optimism boot camp exercises to re-train my brain, along with a lot of forward momentum and laughter. I think a good place to start is to concentrate on indentifying a bucket full of good things, things that are in my life and in my world on a regular basis. A bucket list I can carry with me and peer into any time I need a reminder that it’s not hopeless.

A pile of tangible silver linings and pots of gold. Let’s begin…

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chocolate milk.  MK’s purrs of contentment.  colorado.  the first bite.  a hot shower.  Jamie’s laughter.  a night sky freckled with starlight.  the pleasure of a gift well-received.  reading a good book.  dogs.  a song to sing along to.  chocolate chip cookies.  writing letters.  restful sleep.  pedicures.

flannel pajama pants.  the surprise of being on-time.  sunsets on the water.  composing the perfect tweet.  airports.  swimming.  MK somersaulting in pursuit of a toy.  a clean car.  blue crabs.  photography.  being active without pain.  hot soup on a cold day.  the warmth of sunshine on my hair.

getting the joke.  trees.  a new pair of glasses.  trail mix.  spending time with my family.  forgetting to be self-conscious.  a good sandwich.  oomphasis.  road trips.  movie nights.  talking to out-of-state friends.  new recipes.  accomplishing something easier than expected.  fresh flowers.

the promise of spring.  clean laundry.  having money to pay the bills.  breakfast.  camping.  sleeping in.  a bright smile paired with hello.  impromptu dancing.  blue jeans.  song birds.  finishing a project.  sunrises dappled through woods.  a good stretch.  daydreams.  hugs.

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I’m a little teapot

Everyone is equipped to handle stress and problem-solving in their own, unique way. I make tea.

The way I see it, the process of making tea is a great analogy for how I cope in frustrating situations, or when presented with something that I need to wrap my head around.

Boss walks in and dumps a huge, seemingly insurmountable task in my lap? An ill-transcribed recipe leaves me starving with nothing even remotely edible for dinner? Someone around me does something inexplicably idiodic, and I’m left having to clean up the mess?

I begin to make tea.

I heat up, stirring up my annoyance or anger in a slow roil of words, gestures and volume. Consonants burst through my lips like bubbles popping at the surface, expelling energy into the air around me. Undeflated, my ire rises as I finally reach the boiling point. Ready.

With a twist and a click, the knob for that particular burner is relegated to the “off” position. The contents of my frustration — my obstacle — steep in the heated waters of my mind.

Moments later I sip at my brew, tenatatively at first and then with gusto. My focus is clear and I move forward, tackling the challenges set before me with a transparency of purpose and limpidity.

It is a process I must go through; one that tastes best with no interference. After all, who can make tea when someone else is constantly dousing your fire?

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Calculated

Today I’m wearing a new, fun patterned top (Thanks Mom!), bopping around to one of my new Jamie CDs, and I’ve got to say I’m feeling pretty darn good!

The chiropractor is happy that we’re finally making some progress and I’m doing better week-to-week instead of getting worse or showing no improvement at all. To and from my lunchtime appointment I was able to roll the windows down in my car, and all of the cherry trees are in bloom — a lovely gradient of white to plum.

Sliding back into my sun-warmed car, it was hard to go back to work after so lovely a mid-day break. Like anyone suffering from a case of the Fridays on a regular old weekday, I was happy that a co-worker sent some nonsense to my inbox: a Birthday Calculator.

The results you are given after simply inputting your birthday are quite overwhelming — your approximate date of conception, Life Path number, your Chinese & Native American zodiac signs (I’m a goat or an elk, respectively), your Hebrew, Mayan & Islamic calendar birth dates, and a breakdown of your age in years, weeks, days, seconds. I learned that I share a birthday with Jewel and Drew Carey, not to mention Rosemary Clooney and Joan Collins.

I think I always needed to know that I was born in the Egyptian month of Mesore, the fourth month of the season of Shomu (Harvest). I just didn’t realize I needed to know it.

I chuckled over another tidbit, thinking that the next time a guy in a bar/bookstore/airport asks me how old I am, I might just have to tell him that I’m 4.268 years old… in dog years.

Apparently my birth flower is the lily (lily of the valley, actually), and my birth tree is the Chestnut Tree — for Honesty: “Of unusual beauty, does not want to impress, well-developed sense of justice, vivacious, interested, a born diplomat, but irritable and sensitive in company, often due to a lack of self-confidence, acts sometimes superior, feels not understood, loves only once, has difficulties in finding a partner.”

Come to think of it, maybe I should save that dog years line for the dog park…

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I just read a great guest post, Little Miss Perfect written by Ann from Ann’s Rants.

I’m not sure how I found it, but I’m glad I did… because it reminds me that I’m not the only person in the universe to suffer from Perfectionism, which can lead to other states of mind like Cleanliness & Organization, Competitiveness, Self Doubt and yes, even Anger.

Additionally, I’m reminded that I’m not the only person out there who spends afternoons wishing she could just let loose, cast her inhibitions into the wind and float about in a cloud of blissfully unaware, no-cares-in-the-world happiness without stopping to clean the crumbs off of the counter, enter an event into her dayplanner or give herself a hard time for not vacuuming out her car in two months.

I’m not the only person who takes two hours to pick up 15 items at the grocery store if I’m shopping alone, agonizing over brands and nutrition doing complex cost analysis on her fingers and toes. And I’m probably not the only person who would love to participate in karaoke — if only I could ensure that I wouldn’t make a total jackass out of myself.

Perfectionism can be about having to make the right choice all the time, to put your best foot forward every day, and to monitor your achievements every step of the way.

In a nutshell, Perfectionism means my house is always ready to receive guests, to break out the tequilla and start an impromptu dance party in the middle of the kitchen at midnight — but often I am not.

Ann speaks of learning to embrace humility in the journey to let go of the death grip we have on Perfectionism… but I wonder how people who are hard-wired to avoid placing themselves in situations where they will buy the wrong peanut butter, forget the lyrics when singing out loud or fail to relax enough to not care if they mess up the steps to a dance will ever allow themselves to accept anything less than the best?

I’m not looking for a cure — Perfectionism leads me to be meticulous and careful, considerate and organized. It helps me to be good at the things that I focus my time and energy on, achieving a relative skill along with an acute awareness of how well my own skill stacks up to others who possess the same talents.

But it’s that acute awareness that brings about my dark side… which is why I am seeking to come to a better terms of agreement with my Perfectionism. I’d like to be able to celebrate my strengths without looking harder at my weaknesses, or to quit doubting my aptitude for talents that I admire in others. To achieve a 20-minute solo grocery run or to have fun playing Wii no matter how awkward I look and feel.

While we’re at it, why don’t I just go ahead and say that I’d like to be the one instigating the midnight tequilla dance parties?! Inhibitions? Schminhibitions!

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A countdown

10 Favorites
Season: Spring
Color: Navy blue
Time: evening – generally 7 p.m. up ’til 1 a.m.
Food: chocolate chip cookies, but if you want a “real” food choice, I’d have to say pizza — ham, mushroom & spinach with plenty of cheese and “red sauce”
Drink: sweet iced tea, chocolate milk, milk, cranberry juice and lemonade. Captain & Coke, Vodka Tonic, margaritas and Hot Scotch.
Ice cream: half vanilla, half chocolate — with a Quaker Chewy peanut butter chocolate chip granola bar crumbled onto the top of it
Place: home, parents’ house, Colorado
Sport: horseback riding
Actor: He who does such a good job portraying his character that I forget who he, as an actor, is.
Actress: She who does such a good job portraying her character that I forget who she, as an actress, is.

9 Currents
Feeling: tired, with a current of pain in the shoulders
Drink: cranberry juice
Time: 6:18 p.m.
Show on TV: Grey’s Anatomy, Fringe & LOST. Desperate Housewives & Brothers & Sisters. The Dog Whisperer and It’s Me or the Dog.
Mobile used: Motorola (always), with Verizon
Windows open: Mail (1) & Firefox (2, but 6 tabs total)
Underwear: cotton bikinis
Clothes: sweats, longsleeve tee, sweatshirt, wool socks
Thought: “I really want to go sit on a beach somewhere for a week.”

8 Firsts
Nickname: Eifer (as in, Jenn…ifer)
Kiss: Chris, in high school
Crush: Matt, in middle school
Friend: Tracy, in kindergarten (before that? Probably Sissy and Damon, the dobermans)
Vehicle I drove: Chevy Celebrity station wagon, “Brit”
Job: Sales Clerk at CVS Pharmacy
Date: Not counting high school dating?! Crap — I always ended up in relationships without really “dating,” or going out one-on-one when I don’t think it’s a date but later on it becomes apparent they do… so I guess what I consider to be my first real “date-date” was actually this past winter — dinner and a bar in Crystal City.
Pet: Sissy & Damon, the Dobermans, were the first pets my family had when I was a child. The first pet I ever owned that was “mine” was Dawn, a Yellow Lab. The first pet I ever acquired on my own was Miss Kitty, in college.

7 Lasts
Drink: 1969 Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon (but damn my sore throat, I had to switch back to cranberry juice)
Kiss: Denise, on New Years
Meal: steak, broccoli and sweet potato
Website visited: iGoogle, OneWandering, Facebook and Ravelry
Movie watched: DVD, Hancock
Phone call: Mom
TV Show watched: Ch. 7 Weather part of the news — before that? Oprah. (Not Usual)

6 Have you ever
broken the law: yes, I’ve gotten a couple of speeding tickets
been drunk: yes
kissed someone you didn’t know: yes
been close to gun fire: yes
skinny dipped: yes
broken anyone’s heart: not that I know of

5 Things
…you can hear right now: Mom chatting on the phone, TV, and every once in a while Miss Kitty makes a little kitty snore
…on your bed: pillows, Miss Kitty, Miss Kitty’s hood, laptop, eyeglasses string (aka, cat toy)
…you ate today: Toast (breakfast), Basil Tomazza sandwich (lunch)
…you can’t live without: My family & Miss Kitty
…you do when you get bored: read, knit, watch TV, sleep

4 Places you have been today:
work, townhouse, Coffee Quarter, parents’ house

3 Things on your desk right now:
highlighters, scanner and a huge, glass jar full of Goldfish (the crackers, not real fish)

2 Choices
Black or White: black
Hot or Cold: hot (weather), cold (desserts)

1 Place you want to visit:
The rest of the world! Otherwise known as “Every place I haven’t already been!”

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The following survey was “borrowed” from Jenn and Mel. Enjoy! 🙂

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? In August I flew out to meet my parents out in Utah, after they drove out towing the motorcycles, and we spent 10 days touring National Parks (Arches, Canyonlands, Kodachrome, etc.), sitting in four states at once (Four Corners), and then drove through a freak hail storm in a mountain pass in Colorado. It was the best trip I’ve ever taken with them!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I actually didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions last year! For 2009, I’m going to resolve to:

A. Pay off my credit cards or at least significantly reduce my debt
B. Focus on my physical health and mental well-being, including adopting a “no excuses” policy towards going to the gym and doing the cardio I need to do in order to achieve my goals, and learning to say “No” more often when asked to do too much for others.
C. Follow up on my children’s book manuscript, and/or send the manuscript out to another publisher for review.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Not in 2008, but I did find out that my best friend is pregnant with #2, whom I affectionately call Bump!

4. Did anyone close to you die? No, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit? Unfortunately, 2008 did not hold any international travel for me… but I’m hoping to change that in 2009!

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? I would like to have no credit card debt, so that I can stock more money away in savings, travel again, or put it away for larger home improvements, like carpet and windows.

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory and why? It was either May or June — the day Sarah and Catelyn were having dinner with me at the house I was dog-sitting at, and Kelsy’s canine tooth got caught in Dakota’s collar, breaking the bone and ripping out. I had to take her to the pet ER that night, and then up to Towson the next day to the Animal Dental Center where they extracted her tooth. It was scary, but I felt I handled the whole situation well, considering!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I made a mock-up of my children’s book and sent it off to a publisher… (now I just need to follow up with a letter because I haven’t heard anything, or received my manuscript back).

9. What was your biggest failure? Although I signed up for personal training sessions, I either kept myself too busy or came up with excuses to not go to the gym and didn’t do enough cardio to meet my goals.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I’ve been having issues with my left shoulder (muscles, nerves, trigger points) which gave me a new understanding and sympathy for what my sister’s been going through with her back. I also had some issues with the plantar fasciitis in my right foot that kept me from being active for a while.

11. What was the best thing you bought? My MacBook Pro, Jack the Mac.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Max proposed to Jenn — YAY!!!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Throughout the year, I had several moments with certain people where I was surprised, disappointed, taken aback, etc. Some of these encounters did affect my mood, others I managed to shake off. But I don’t care to regurgitate any of them here.

14. Where did most of your money go? Each month, one paycheck goes mostly to my mortgage, and the other goes towards bills. Generally I’m left with enough money to buy gas, some groceries, maybe go out to lunch or check out a movie, and make a trip to Wal-Mart or Target for essentials. Despite the fact that I’m always tight, I did manage to swing a ticket to Maine back in February, buy a laptop over the summer, and visit my friend Jamie in Chicago back in May.

15. What did you really, really, really get excited about? I got really excited about travel — visiting Jamie in Chicago and my Utah trip with the parents.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? Paralyzer by Finger Eleven, which has been a ringtone on my phone throughout the year.

17. Compared to this time last year are you:
Happier? Um, I think actually I might be a little bit more sad. 😦
Thinner? I’m about the same, unfortunately.
Richer? Ugh, no. I’m still struggling.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? I wish that I’d been home and done more yard work — I needed to work on getting rid of the moles/voles and cleaning up the backyard.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? I wish I’d done less pet-sitting — living other people’s lives instead of my own — even if it meant not getting that extra cash. I also wish I’d done less worrying and less letting other people affect me in a negative way.

20. How did you spend Christmas? Christmas Day I went to my parents’ house and had breakfast with them, then we went up to Grandma’s and helped her clean. After we re-uncovered the dining room table, we had dinner with her before heading back home. Our family Christmas was held the Tuesday before New Years, after Jaci came home. Jason came home in the middle of unwrapping gifts. It was weird to have “Christmas” at night…

21. How did you be spend new years? I blogged about it, but New Years Eve Day was spent in DC with Denise, Jaci, Jason and Ryan. New Years Eve was spent with Denise and Courtney — first dinner then a party in Old Town. New Years Day was, of course, spent at Mom’s house with friends and fried sourdough!

22. Did you fall in love in 2008? No.

23. How many one-night stands? No.

24. What was your favorite TV program? I thought I’d be saying Grey’s Anatomy, but I also really started to like Fringe. I think I was too busy to really have a must-see TV lineup this past year, and ended up watching a lot of shows on the computer whenever I’d get a chance instead of during regularly scheduled programming.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No, I don’t hate anyone.

26. What was the best book you read? Merle’s Door by Ted Kerasote

27. What was your biggest musical discovery? The DVD of music that Ashanti sent to me — I’m still making my way through the folders. It’s amazing. 🙂 I also just discovered that Zooey Deschanel (of Elf fame) has a record out with M. Ward called She & Him. I downloaded it the other day, but haven’t given it a full listen-to yet.

28. What did you want and you got? A coffee grinder, and Mom had my new piece of art framed.

29. What did you want and not get? A docking station/alarm clock for my iTouch to go in my bedroom; my car’s steering issue and driver’s side seat warmer to be fixed.

30. What was your favorite film of this year? Only one favorite? Hmm… Well, I just saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and REALLY liked that film! It was, in my opinion, on the same level as The Green Mile. I enjoyed it from start to finish, felt it contained solid performances and writing, and when it was over I had to be quiet for a time just to digest what I’d seen.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old did you turn? I turned 29 in 2008, and I had a few friends join me for an Italian dinner at Vincenzo’s. Then I went back to the house where I was pet-sitting and watched a movie with Mom.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? If someone else had stepped up to be HOA President and I could’ve stepped down from the position I held (Secretary) without accepting a heavier mantle of responsibility.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? Still most comfortable dressing up a pair of jeans, but I also started rocking the collared white shirt under sweaters or thin sweater vests.

34. What kept you sane? Miss Kitty — she still saves me and my sanity on a daily basis.

35. Which celebrity did you fancy the most? As I get older, I give less and less thought towards fancying specific celebrities, but I did create a 9-person celebrity genetic scramble that I’d like to see create a cowboy for myself!

36. What political issue stirred you the most? People blaming Bush for everything, regardless of the fact that the country WANTED him to go to war on 9/11 and that some of the things going on in our country right now are because of Clinton-era policies, not Bush-era ones. I also think it’s a shame that the office of President of the United States has become sort of a joke to the population throughout the last few years — Clinton’s lying & cheating, Bush’s poor public speaking… I think this country, more than anything, needs to remember what it feels like to unite behind and support our President. To be a proud country again.

37. Who did you miss? It’s still Christmastime, so I miss my dog — Dawn. Every year.

38. Who was the best new person you met? Anne, Max’s sister. Well, truthfully we’ve only met electronically so far, but I’m looking forward to meeting her in person next April when I head out to CO for Max & Jenn’s wedding!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008: That in order for me to be truly happy on the inside, I have to do more than try to make other people happy. I have to take care of myself — mentally and physically — and I have to learn that it’s okay to say “No” sometimes, even if I don’t have a “good reason” for saying no.

40. Quote or Song Lyric that sums up your year:

“The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.” — Unknown

“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

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