This is a tricky piece to write, because I have to walk a fine line between being “enlightening” and “down right pathetic”. Wish me luck.
I read a lot of technology websites, and one of them recently had a discussion about a new search tool from Microsoft. As a search site it’s essentially useless, being at least three of a) laggy b) cluttered and c) hard to use. The discussion focused on its most notable and memorable feature: the attractive Indian woman that makes comments on your searches while you use the site. Try it out here: msdewey.com.
To understand my reaction to the website, first you have to understand my experience with my current job.
Every two weeks is a reporting period where I work. On the first Monday of the biweek, your productivity (in terms of deliverables turned in the last two weeks) is tabulated, counted and recorded in a database. This record can then be used as a basis for a promotion, for added privileges or (and here’s the catch) as grounds to get you in trouble. One biweek won’t make or break you, but sometimes it’s important to keep up appearances.
Every two weeks I get stressed about making the number. When I get stressed I have no desire to do something that isn’t related to fixing it. My automatic response is to buckle down and concentrate. I’m not always productive at fixing the problem, but I certainly don’t have any fun doing something else.
When I went to msdewey.com, I got subconsciously stressed. My reaction was to close the site after 5 minutes and take a walk outside, chide myself for not getting a gym membership and think longingly of activities that (in retrospect and my personal estimation) make me a more interesting human being.
Here was an attractive female whose antics made me laugh, but she existed as an avatar on a search website. NOT as a real, physical person who happened to be sitting on the edge of my bed eating stale cheerios. Obviously I was failing at some sort of life criteria, and the only way to deal with that fact was to reevaluate my current activities and choose a new course of action.
There are a lot of ways you can approach being stressed or realizing you’re not where you want to be. One of the better ones is to turn towards and deal with it head on, and don’t try to hide until it goes away.
Thanks Ms. Dewey.