Monday, August 26, 2013

This is a Test. This is Only a Test.

As you may know…I ain’t no spring chicken. In just a couple of weeks, I turn 59. That’s almost 60. SIXTY!  I’ve started thinking about my life and the turns it’s taken of late, [all for the best, mind you], but things crop up and cross my mind and I have to plan for the ‘what ifs.’ Like what if I never remarry and am by myself for the rest of my life? And if so, what happens when I’m really old and ‘I’ve fallen and I can’t get up’ and no one is around to hear me yell those words? 

What if that sex drive that menopause so easily and quickly took away from me without giving two shits about how my life would be without it, never comes back? And what if I take a tiny bit of testosterone to get it back but I grow hair in unwanted places and then…oh…wait…I’m digressing, as usual. Ignore that last thought.

What if I lose my job and can’t support myself…what would I do since I’m all alone with no sex drive lying on the floor not being able to get up? Then what?
At this point, the last ‘what if’ is what has been on my mind. I’m in a very young industry, age wise. The industry itself isn’t so young, just the people are. I mean, Darren Stevens was in it back in the 60’s. Mad Men is living proof how old it is, but ever so current. But everyone is twenty-something to thirty-something…so being a ‘mature’ individual, is not too welcoming if you’re seeking employment. And it’s really not welcoming to hear myself say ‘mature individual.’

I have only ever had one career and know nothing else that I could do if I was ever let go or phased out. (Although I was one hell of a Jordache jeans salesperson in high school working for the coolest clothing store in my town.) I wouldn’t want to do anything else other than the career I had chosen over 36 years ago. But what I must do…is grow with the times and be able to market myself in the current marketplace and within my own company, no matter what age I may be. That being said…I decided it was time to do something I had always despised. I had to become a student.

I was the worst student ever. Not that I ever failed at anything. I didn’t. But I never excelled, either. Well, I shouldn’t say that. I would excel in Math and English, for a minute here and there, but the second I walked out of a test, I would not remember one thing I studied so intensely for the night before. I’m not sure why that was, but I’d like to find out, because as I’m getting older, that problem is definitely not rectifying itself. I think some of my missing brain cells just can't find their way back to the correct lobe in my brain.
And when I say so intensely studied for the night before…that’s exactly what I mean. I did nothing extra if I didn’t have to, and certainly not earlier than needed to be done. I wasn’t about to spend one extra moment of my youth on school work that I wasn’t forced into doing, when I could be out playing. Not one thing ever piqued my interest enough for me to want to study or research or read if it wasn’t mandated. I would do my homework and turn it in when it was due, and I would study, or should I say cram, an entire months lessons, all in the night before the test. Because I had to. I’m not sure if I just wasn’t taking the right classes or I just was that apathetic about everything. I did just enough to get by with a respectable GPA and graduate.
I never really did have passion for much way back when. Especially in my teens and 20’s. I’ve always been a pretty laid back, middle of the road, non-confrontational person who wants peace and harmony in all that is and blah blah blah. But that seriously IS how I felt and still feel. (Maybe I was a hippie and never realized it…hmmmm…interesting observation.) 

The only thing I have ever been passionate about is seeing any living being, be it human or animal, not suffer or be mistreated. Other than that…I’ve pretty much been a la-di-da type person. Until I had kids…but that’s a whole other blog subject. (I really wanted to say ‘a whole Nother’ but I know it’s not a word, although I still use it. It just flows better.) [Note to self…I’ve got to stop digressing.]
Being in the advertising world, and seeing the movement towards digital and not even knowing what digital meant initially, I knew it was time to learn. When I first started using computers, I did find a fascination with them that I never had experienced with anything else as a kid. I actually wanted to learn everything I could soak up. Not only all the information you could find on line…because that came years later…but all about the inner workings of a computer system.  

Fortunately, I had so many problems with my computers over the years, that my new best friends were the IT guys at my company. I would watch every move they made while they fixed the bugs. And I learned. I learned a lot and have become the ‘Go-To’ person for my friends and family. Purely by mistake.  You can learn a lot by not wanting to learn a lot initially. There’s something to be said for being ignorant. It can only make you smarter.
But now it was time to learn about advertising on line. I’m a media buyer. I buy advertising on TV for my clients, but a lot of the advertising budget is now going towards digital; meaning on line advertising. I’ve been approached by salespeople to purchase it but don’t fully understand what it entails. I decided to ask my HR person if she could have someone teach us about this; maybe an all day webinar or something comparable for me and some of the other buyers. [Hopefully a little shorter than ‘all day.’ I was worried about that attention span thing becoming a problem.] We each work from our home offices in various states, so a webinar would be perfect. If we don’t understand something, we would have each other to bounce ideas or questions off of. Plus I’m not good on my own. I would get bored. I would tend to doze off. I would get up and leave the room forgetting I was supposed to be learning. BUT…If others were on line with me…I would be accountable. I NEEDED others with me. I needed others to see me there. Otherwise…I may as well have given myself an F before I even started.

She emailed me back saying she would gladly enroll us in a class. I was so excited. I finally was going to learn about the current state of buying advertising on line. Excitement was something I had never experienced upon being told I had to learn something. I hated learning. But this? This was going to be so enriching and fulfilling and easy to learn and FUN.  Or so I thought until I read on:
Here is a link to an online class you can take at your own leisure. It has to be done within 3 months and there is a test at the end. You have to pass the test to get the certificate. There are 17 modules to it with 4-5 subsections in each module.  Most people need to watch each section at least two to three times to fully understand it. Each section is 40-60 minutes long. Good luck and we look forward to you sharing your knowledge with the company. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
WTF? And IF I have questions? You’re asking if I have any questions?  Are you f**king kidding me?  Of course I have questions. Did I not make it clear I just wanted a short class summarizing the on line buying list of the top 10 things you need to know? A sort of Cliffs Notes ‘Digital for Dummies’ version.  Short, sweet and to the point. With others present! At least virtually present? Did I not clarify that?
Did I also forget to let you know I’m a terrible student who needs stimulation during a lesson? Visual and aural stimulation? Someone who can excite me with props and various intonations to their voice? Not someone who will drone on and on while my lids grow heavy and my thoughts wander to what I can find to snack on or how to have a Ferris Bueller day off.  

This was going to be horrible. But I couldn’t say ‘thanks but no thanks.’ I was the one who asked for it. And I really did want to learn. I’m sure all the other buyers were just thrilled with me at that point. But I asked one of my friends who I work with, if we could do the on line class together. We would get on the phone and click on the link at the same time and then if we didn’t understand something, we could chat about it. [Which was like saying we’re probably going to have to stop every 3 minutes to discuss what they were talking about because we’re so lost.] She was good with us working together. She was never planning on doing this to start, but I talked her into it showing her how much older she is than most others in our industry, even though she’s 10 years younger than I am. She really appreciated the geriatric insinuations.
The following week we were going to start. We made a plan to call each other at the close of the business day two days a week, for the duration of the course, hoping we would only have to listen to each part just the once.  Positive thinking. Stupid maybe…but positive nonetheless.
Prior to our initial call, we each had to go on line and enroll ourselves and then we received an email from the on line school giving us instructions on how to get to the course we signed up for.  I called my friend asking if she was ready. We each pulled up our email with the link, and clicked on it. We got to the school webpage, perused it, looking for the course link.
Me: “Do you see where we click?”
Her: “No, do you?”
Me: “Nope…but let me try something. No, that wasn’t it.”
Her: “Ok, I think I got it.” [silence] “No…that wasn’t it either.”
Me:  “Wait…I think this is it. Never mind.”
15 minutes later we were still searching…………
And so it began….


  1. Those who are late to develop often are the ones who finish the job. Missed ur posts. Thnks...

  2. Love the part where you say you need visual and oral stimulation!!!

  3. Love the part where you say you need visual and oral stimulation!!!

    1. this HAS to be Guy...and it's not 'oral', it's 'AURAL' ...big difference!!! but thanks for reading!

  4. can you teach an old dog new tricks?????

  5. very funny Jaime..and yes you can learn new things at anytime.. but i loved the first part of this. i was just like you.. smart? me,, not really,, but got good grades.. i could study the night before like ... good luck...

    1. i didn't even get good grades...a mix of As, Bs and Cs but average. i'm common sense smart tho! that's what counts. Thanks so much for reading!

  6. College in the 70s was a pretty laid-back experience. So to help you get started in the more goal-oriented 21st century, here is your orientation seminar.

    First, you must realize that your job as a media buyer is the product of decades of economic developments that you may not find entirely interesting. So practice your glassy-eyed stare by watching this video five times:

    Congratulations! You have successfully completed the first unit of intro to on-line media buying.

    For your second course, you must learn how to exit a boring class with panache! Watch and learn:

    Finally, as you make new friends on campus, remember that your hijinks WILL end up on the internet!

    Final announcement: Class on the lawn tomorrow!

    1. oh frankie! i can always count on you for a fun, creative response! that superman one was pretty funny...wish i had those profs at OU but we were the number one party school for we had THAT. and THAT is what i took away from my college years!!

      thanks for reading and replying!

    2. I SO regret wasting my college opportunities on, shall we say, more social endeavors. At least you stayed put for four years. I transferred 5 times!

    3. five times? what were you in search of?

    4. A reason to be there, I guess.

  7. You're smart as hell - you'll do just fine. I worked with you for years and there was nothing that you couldn't conquer.
    The only challenge you'll face is boredom . . . those webinars can be absolutely deadly!

    1. awwww...thanks jane...and actually, this woman conducting the course (it's not really a webinar...just an on line course) is kind of interesting. it's just overwhelming the amount of ways to buy on line. nothing simple like TV! it's incredible. who comes up with all this shit? and the ad designers are geniuses...geniuses who must sit in front of a computer 24/7! but thank you!

  8. whoever you are indeed...hmm