Friday, February 22, 2013

The Final Day's Reflection

Today's the last day of this so I think I can go ahead and safely confess it: for the last 40 days I have been on a fast. It's something my church has been doing, and my parents and brother have been doing it too. My parents have been more extreme about it, drinking juice and stuff. My brother has been fasting media. Me, I've been fasting snacks. And it's been hard; I've slipped four times. And now that I'm on the last day, I'm not sure whether it helped me in the way I think this sort of thing is supposed to. I went into it with the intent of seeking wisdom and guidance, like Esther did in the book of Esther, specifically on the future and my purpose and what God wants me to do regarding both. And I don't feel any more enlightened about it. Not to mention I haven't felt the spiritual euphoria Pastor Miles has said we should be experiencing. And I know what he means by euphoria, because he described what happened to him before, and plus I've read accounts by Christian mystics (Julian of Norwich, etc) where they describe the spiritual visions they had and the extreme feelings they experienced as a result. It makes me wonder if I've even been doing this right.

On the other hand, I have heard it said that God doesn't always (or maybe ever) show you the big picture. He just gives you enough for the next step, and you have to trust him for the rest. So maybe I have been looking at this from the wrong perspective, or asking God for the wrong thing. Not sure.

I did get something interesting today which might have been part of God's methods for getting through to me. You see, my coworker Tasi, a Meat Cutter, is also a Christian, and lately he's been writing Scripture on scraps of paper and passing them out to people randomly, including me. And the one he gave me today says this:

"Proveb 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."

Somehow I felt like that verse was just what I needed today. It was a good feeling.

Today I was reviewing my results from the last two spiritual gifts tests I've taken - the one I took for the "Discover Your Spiritual Gifts" class at North Coast and the one for The Rock, the church I currently attend. Though taken some time apart, I think there is some correlation.

On the North Coast test, my top three gifts (what the teacher called a "gift mix") were Knowledge, Missionary, and Service. Rounding out the top 5 were Administration (#4) and Helps (#5, and somehow different than service). On the test from The Rock, my results were:

1. Teacher
2. Prophet/Perceiver
3. Mercy/Compassion
4. (tie) Leader/Administrator & Server
6. Exhorter/Encourager
7. Giver

So some correlation, though the categories are different. A Teacher is defined as "the God-given ability to study, research, explain and communicate truth (e.g. Paul and Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2)." A Prophet/Perceiver is someone who has "the God-given ability to communicate God's message in relation to the truth already revealed (Jude 3)...It is done for the purposes of encouraging, strengthening and comforting (1 Cor. 14:3). These have the ability to perceive the spiritual needs of others and meet those needs through Scripture." Mercy/Compassion is "the God-given ability to have immediate compassion for those who are suffering combined with great joy in meeting their needs (E.g., the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37)." Leadership/administration is "the God-given ability to lead others in meaningful endeavors which demonstrates personal care and concern in order to meet the needs of others and encourage their growth (E.g., fathers in 1 Tim. 3:4-5, 12)." A Server is someone who "has the God-given ability to recognize a need and administer assistance to others" which allows other Christians to use their gifts effectively as a result. As for the last two gifts, I think they're probably self-explanatory.

I can see traits of all of these gifts I just mentioned in me. I admit on that first test, getting Missionary kind of scared me, because although I'm very interested in both travel and in learning about other cultures, the idea of giving up the rest of my life to go witness in some jungle somewhere (the stereotypical missionary example; I offer it as an example of my thought processes only) frightens me. And I fear a little that I would go on missions trips more out of wanderlust than out of any noble spiritual purpose, which I don't want (I used this excuse - because I realize now it was an excuse - to talk myself out of a North Coast missions trip to Romania to teach English and witness). Maybe I always thought I'd end up like Robin Jones Gunn (author of the Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen series), who I read tried to get a missionary job abroad but couldn't and ended up becoming a writer instead, that becoming her missions field.

I also re-read the pages people linked me to when I asked on Google+ for lists of the various jobs available in web design. Cause I want to figure out where I fit. Cause gosh dangit I've spent almost 11 years paying my dues, and now I want an actual career. One I might actually enjoy for once. Plus I want to make sure I'm promoting myself right on my web design portfolio site.

These didn't help clarify things much. Other than that I definitely am not going for a graphic designer job, which I knew already. My graphic design skills are improving, I think, but artistically gifted - in a visual art sense - I have never been. Despite the fact that there must be some of it in my genes since my dad is always doodling and is actually not that bad at it. I do have some sense of what colors look good or don't, though, and I watch HGTV all the time. I think any artistic ability I possess is primarily in my ability to act, which I think I had naturally but which has since been augmented by my drama classes. And maybe dance since I do like to dance and have a rather flexible body. (My liking of dancing is really the only reason I'm even considering taking a Zumba class - well that and the fact that my friend Marina took it and really liked it).

Well, ok, let's be fair: every time I've committed myself to reading these articles, I've been tired and not paid a whole lot of attention to them. So maybe I will do that now. Because I want this post to be complete and also to kill time, since I am considering having a snack as soon as the day turns, since I actually had my "dinner" on my lunch period at work, which was SEVEN HOURS AGO, and haven't eaten since.

First off though, the advice that someone gave me in a text comment in response to one of my posts asking for lists of jobs in web design:

Hi, I am new in the field as well...what I did was to take stock of what my strengths are and what training I had. Then I sought out a local Web Design house near me, setup a meeting with the owner of the small business and asked him roughly the same ?'s you have. When in doubt, go to the horses mouth, some he told me there are generally 2 categories--1. Front end designers--graphic/layout/photoshop/overall look of site 2. Back end developers--essentially all or most of the programming--JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and other software linking a site to e-commerce servers, etc. In summary, with that info, I decided that I can do it all on my own, that I don't want to be an employee and be labeled or tasked with 1 or the other. I seek to be my own boss...I feel I have equal strengths in graphic design and the nuts and bolts--HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc. Hope this helps??? Good Luck!

So basically there are the front-end people and the back-end people. The designers and the developers, essentially, to use the proper parlance. I technically have training in both areas, though I suppose I would be stronger on the developer side because my coding knowledge is quite good (though it needs improving) whereas my graphic design skills are, as I said, meh. I kind of like doing the whole package with my sites, personally -- and more or less fought for this tooth and nail during my Web Design 3 team project, insisting that we all 4 send wireframes to the client because I was convinced that if we didn't, I would be the one left out because I was the weakest on the team in terms of graphic design skill. I managed to convince Carmelina (our de facto team leader) to see it my way and we all four sent wireframes. I forget which one we went with in the end.

As for the article from Practicalecommerce, I think I am mostly Role 2 (Copywriter) and Role 5 (Site Promoter) personality-wise, even though I kinda suck at website promotion. With Myu Corner, I got lucky that my politely-worded e-mails asking sites in my subject to affiliate with me all worked out, that a URL in an e-mail signature about sending Magic Knight Rayearth scans scored links to the site from Manga-Style and (both run by the same person), and that I got accepted for listing at The Deep Submerge Directory/Ten(sen)shi very soon after launching the site (my friend Elly said she was very surprised at this as the owner of that directory is usually very discriminating about what sites she adds). Elly, as I recall, suggested not even to start advertising till you have a steady update schedule for six months, and to not expect a huge fan following till 5 years in. I, unfortunately, am not that patient and usually put the cart before the horse in terms of promotion, going all willy-nilly about it and then wondering why it doesn't work. I'm an insecure person with poor self-image who desperately wants to be an internet star, preferably a viral one, but has yet to accomplish it. And for about 15 years (give-or-take), I have been on that fruitless mission. Maybe I should give that up already and just admit that I will probably never be famous for anything on the internet, and that's ok.

In terms of skills, I'm probably a little of 1/6 (Web Strategist) and 4 (Technical Programmer).

And now for the list from The following positions on the list appeal to me:

  • Content Strategist
  • Digital Strategist/Planner
  • Digital Strategist/Planner (2)
  • Flash Developer
  • Flash Programmer/Designer
  • Front End Developer
  • Front End Developer (2)
  • Information Architect
  • Interactive Copywriter/Content Writer
  • Web Architect
  • Web Designer
On closer examination, I'd narrow that list down to:

  • Flash Developer
  • Front End Developer
  • Information Architect
  • Interactive Copywriter/Content Writer
  • Web Designer

I have an unexplained fascination with Flash. Maybe because it was the first Adobe program I ever really learned how to use. (Photoshop, Fireworks, and Dreamweaver came later).

Then there's the article from DesignShack, which is actually about graphic design jobs (which makes sense, as DesignShack, despite its about page claiming it's about web design, always struck me as a graphic design-oriented site). Since I'm not trying to become a graphic designer, most of the article doesn't help me. It does give some job examples for digital design, however, and I can see myself as a Front End Web Designer or a Designer/Developer based on their descriptions.

(6 minutes left till midnight...)

And finally, I saved the big fancy one for last: the slideshow at, which really lays it out there, even quoting salary ranges for various positions. In this case, I see myself mostly in the "5 Build the Site" category, as a front-end developer, though the idea of being a Social Media Expert is also something I could probably do.

Whoa, one minute left till the end of the night. Gonna go ahead and publish this and continue later.

No comments: