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Monday, August 22, 2016

Rocking the Ages

Wow - three years since my last post.  I have gotten in the writing frenzy once again - barring writing a play.  What to do, what to do.  I think I will ramble about age.  My age.

Life has changed so much in the intervening years.   I don't choose to dwell on the negatives (a house fire, lay off).  I'm damn lucky that I have been able to launch a new career at my age.  In fact, my age is part of the reason I got hired in my current position as a Videoconference technician.  A part of the job requires customer service savvy and being able to make judgement calls.  I am still learning many aspects of the AV world but one thing I do have is life experience.  The man who hired me is only a few years younger than myself.  I also work with individuals (men and women) who are my age or older.  I felt my age and lack of certifications kept me on the shelf for about two years when I was looking for a permanent position in this field.  The fact that I am a woman in a field dominated by men did make me wonder if being a middle aged woman factored into hiring decisions. 

Whatever it was, I am past it.

My new employer wants me to have certifications and its on their dime.  My first certification will be Certified Technology Specialist (CTS).  This certification proves that I know about audio and visual systems, environmental issues affecting presentations, how to configure a room and a host of thing tech components relative to my field. I don't believe I am going to be sent out into the field as I am being trained to set up and monitor (remotely) video conferences around the globe and assist as needed when things go wrong.  This kind of work interests me.  I am not stopping with the CTS certification; I intend to move forward and get as many certifications as I can.  My ultimate goal is to get certified in Networking and Networking Security.

One thing has improved with age - my ability to study and retain information.  I wish I could remember more the first time I read material while studying.  I am looking for ways to improve my memory.  Knocking down my daily sugar intake is one step.  Too much sugar affects memory.  I was diagnosed over a decade ago by a specialist in adult ADHD and some learning disabilities which made studying a nightmare when I was a kid and even as a college student.  Dyslexia caused me to struggle with math and words.  I have found ways to cope with that and press on.  Age has brought much awareness and skill in dealing with these struggles.  Most of my friends don't even know how hard I have struggled with these issues in the past and even now.  Medication has helped along with dietary changes.  Getting older has allowed me to gain self-acceptance.  I still worry about not being able to "get" a new program or concept in a normal span of time.  However, now I tell those I must interact with I have to study longer than the average person and why.  I am concerned about learning math formulas related to CTS work and Networking.  I suck at math.  That said, I have gone back and purchased such and such for Dummies books about math and continue to work at understanding things I did not growing up.  I can't even tell you how many times I have been embarrassed because I did not understand something everyone else did.  That doesn't exactly build confidence.  It makes you feel stupid.  I don't feel that way anymore.  I have geared my life towards what I want to do and what I do best, for the most part.

I have far more confidence now even though I am going into a field that is quite exacting.  I love this stuff and can study for hours on end.  One good thing about age is that you learn to know yourself, what you can do, and how to cope with it.  My getting older (and some medication) has assisted me in self-discovery and understanding complex concepts.  ADHD is very real.  It's been a curse many times.  I dread having to deal with the more complicated math that will be upcoming when I take advanced courses.  I'll find a way to get through it.  Still, it makes my eyes cross at the idea of it coming down the road.  I have to work twice as hard as everyone else to succeed with the math.  If that is what it takes, so be it.  I need to get to my goals.

This delving into more and more AV-related work has left me little time to do much else.  I'm studying so much - literally hours every day.  I miss reading.  I used to read one book at week.  I still get in some reading time but not much.  Focusing on dry technology all day has kick-started my writing once again.  I need to clear my head and be creative in intervals.  I sneak in some reading on breaks.  I get some writing done as well.  The aforementioned activities has, in a strange way, helped with ADHD.  I suppose that is because I am doing several things at one time.  There's no boredom.  There is only the desire to have more time in the day.  As I am not likely to get that, I have to settle on utilizing my time the best that I can to balance work, writing, study, reading and play. 

Play how? You may ask.  Well, one thing not too many middle-aged women do is play video games. 

I do.  Lots.  Sometimes too much and stuff like housework gets put off.  When I go into the video game stores, the 20somethings think I am there to buy a video game for my grandchild.  After I finish slapping the one who said that, I get down to business.  At any age you can have great fun.  Playing Halo, Call of Duty, Rage, Batman, Fallout and other games is a great release.  Now I go into a particular video game store and the sales guys are quick to tell me about new "shooter" games that I might like.  They know my game preferences.  I'm sure they know me because not many middle-aged women go into the store and buy video games for themselves.  I have told some of the young 'uns it's a mistake to assume things about someone because of their age.  I am very good at video games and I play at the advanced levels.  I do get a certain amount of pleasure when I break the stereotype (which is often) of who and what I am supposed to be at my age.  I have no problem with how old I am; it's what others do with that information. 

And that's why I was terrified no one would hire me again.  Not only did I get a job but my employer is already investing in me by "sending me to school."  Certifications can do much for marketability and salary. 

So here I am - in a better place than I was when I last wrote a piece for this blog. 

That's a good thing.


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