(parenthetically speaking)

a random gal’s random thoughts about nothing and everything in general

WWJD? (What Would Jill Do?) August 4, 2009

A colleague of mine recently sent me a survey to fill out that was designed to evaluate her strengths and weaknesses. It was an interesting request since we hadn’t worked together in a traditional office environment—rather I assigned her to write stories for the last magazine I worked on—and, in fact, we’ve never met in person. But having worked with her on multiple assignments, I felt competent to answer at least most of the questions on the survey. One of the ones I wasn’t sure about, and to which I checked “N/A,” was, “Do you think your colleague is challenged by her job?”

This got me to thinking if I was challenged by my own job. Pondering my answer, I started to wonder if I have ever really, truly been challenged at all.

I’ve known and interviewed people who battled cancer but somehow never lost a step. I worked with foster children who, despite having to deal with horrific living conditions and situations so vile it makes your blood boil, still manage to keep a smile on their face. I’ve had friends who had miscarriages and yet still bravely tried again. I’ve seen family members hit rock bottom and, with all their might and against all odds, somehow climb their way back up.

But have I, like they, been challenged? I’ve certainly had my share of bumps in the road—sincerely tough times that tested my strength and spirit, but that ultimately made me a stronger person—but have I ever really, seriously been challenged? I can’t say for sure.

Even more puzzling was the question of how I might respond if I ever was to be seriously challenged. Would I crumble if I went broke and lost the roof over my head? Would I give up if faced with a deadly disease? How would I respond if an accident left me paralyzed and wheelchair bound? What would I do if I couldn’t do what I do for a living anymore? Could I go on, god forbid, if faced with the loss of a family member?
We deal with challenges big and small every day, many of which challenge us in fun and exciting ways (I don’t mean to dwell on the negative), and how we react reveals a lot about our personalities. I only hope that if I ever am faced with a true challenge, that I show the courage and resolve of so many before me.


Can You Hear Me Now? January 4, 2009

Last week, I blogged about what a sheep I was for not only following the pack and starting my own blog, but also about how resistant I was when it came to having the latest must-have gadgets (I still used a record player for like 15 years after CDs came out and avoided buying a microwave forever because I just knew the damn thing was going to give me cancer!).

So it might surprise you to hear that I broke down this weekend and bought an iPhone.

68px-iphone_at_macworld_angled_view1A cellphone, a camera, a music player, a GPS, and a way to log on to the Internet and check your email all in one little machine that fits in the palm of your hand—you can’t get much more high-tech than that! At least not in Jill World. In Jill World, we have an intense love-hate relationship with technology. While we fight it forever, once we’ve bitten the bullet, and spent not only the money but the inevitable weeks and months it takes for someone like us to figure out the new technology, we can’t remember how we ever lived without it.

I’m sure I’m not alone in that thought.

So now comes the hard part. The endless period of feeling absolutely idiotic for not being able to work the darn thing. Heck, I’m sure there are third graders out there who could pick it up faster than I can. But I’ll try and muddle through. Of course, it would have been nice if Apple made an iPhone owner’s manual. But the woman at the store who sold it to me insisted that it’s so easy to use, I won’t even need a manual. How wrong she was!

Maybe there should be a support group for people like me. People so ignorant of and intimated by technology that they inevitably only end up using a quarter of all the fancy features their shiny new gadgets are capable of. They could call it Need a Little Nerd in Me Anonymous. I volunteer to be chapter president.