Certainly you’ve read the tagline on my blog – I’m an Instructional Designer. You can always see my resume on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/jensaintonge/ for all the gory details. Here’s a little bit of the back story.
I had open heart surgery in 1986. For a seven year old, it was a great experience! There was a play room around the corner from my room. When I could move around, I had all kinds of toys. After surgery, I spent my time reading Hardy Boys books – they had the entire first run collection! That love for reading eventually became that love for writing, and I think being forced to sit still during my hospital stay and recovery afterward made me never want to stop moving.
When I got out of the hospital and was recovered, I felt like I could do anything… and I wanted to do everything! I wanted to play football. I wanted to play baseball. I wanted to read everything I could get my hands on. I wanted a bicycle, then an ATV, then a car. I wanted to take care of pets, and it was a joy to teach my dogs new tricks. I wanted to feed cows at a nearby farm. I wanted to see the world – I started collecting travel brochures and AAA Trip-Tiks when I was about 9 or 10. I would memorize them and locate them on the map. I became the family trip navigator when I was around 10, and my dad taught me how to price shop for hotels and book reservations – in addition to finding sensible routes from Virginia to New York or New Hampshire.
I graduated high school and began my adult career in 1996, working 3rd shift in a factory. I had the glamorous job of counting paper. When I got fast at counting paper, I got to punch holes in paper. After mastering the hole punch, I got to bind paper into books. After that, I got to learn how to shrink-wrap paper. In 1997, having mastered all aspects of creating pads of paper, I decided there was no more for me to learn (I was bored!!!!).
From 1997 to 2001, I became a temp for a couple very good agencies, where I got my first chance at office work, starting in the filing department. When I got good at that, I got to add data entry to my filing… then the mail room… then alphanumeric data entry… then finally, customer service! In each new position, I found ways to make them more efficient, so that I could get more work done, so that I could do new things, so I would never be bored.
To me, boredom leads to work days that seem to never end.
During this time, I got my first computer (desktop as we know today. Technically. my first “real” computer was a Tandy from 1984 which I used to write BASIC programs… loved that machine!). I was fascinated by HTML code, so I taught it to myself and began writing my own web sites for fun.
In 2001, I decided to go back to school at Springfield Technical Community College. I was the overachiever. I was a Mentor. I was in the Computer Club. I was Student Trustee. I was in Phi Theta Kappa. I worked part-time doing paper delivery, working in Student Activities, and then as a lab technician in Disability Services, and at night I delivered pizza.
At the end of it all, I was accepted into the brand new Engineering program at Smith College. I didn’t go, though, because I also found my future husband at STCC in 2004. We’re very happy!
At STCC, I realized that education was my passion. I thought it would lead to a career in public higher education, but things happened, and it didn’t turn out that way. I did work for a short period as an IT Technician at a community college, and afterwards I became an independent technical coach/consultant in 2005. I taught Microsoft Office at a local college, I taught a 14-week A+ certification course, and I ran a niche photography business. I became a jen-of-all-trades when it came to anything technology.
I found my current position through sheer luck. A photography client gave me a paid trip for two to Las Vegas. I decided to take a full-time, short-term consulting position to make sure we could afford the “free” trip. The three-month temporary position as a training assistant became an instructional designer position. I didn’t think I would ever work for a company again, but I got an offer I simply couldn’t refuse.
As an instructional designer, I feel like I’m part of education. I work for a non-profit, which suits me very well. I’m frequently told I work too hard, and it’s hard to quell my passion.
The Fun Stuff
- You may have noticed, I love to write!
- I love being an adult learner – curiosity is what drives me through life.
- I LOVE my niece and nephew.
- I love driving. Fast… but of course not over the speed limit! 😀
- I love traveling to new places. So far, I’ve been to Australia, Fiji, lots of the
Caribbean & Mexico, all of the East Coast and interior states, CA, OR, NV, AZ, and Niagara Falls. I want to go to the UK next!
- I love football! I am (alas) a Redskins fan, and I force my husband to watch every Sunday. I enjoy fantasy football (and I’m in 1st as of 10/15/2014, mwahahahaha!)
- I love going to see live baseball games! To my brother’s chagrin, I am a converted Yankees fan.
- I have been taking flying lessons. I still can’t land, but my instructor can, so we’re good. The views are extraordinary!
- I love photography. My husband is still better at composition, and I think that’s made me better.
- My biggest desire currently is to get a 3D printer. My 2nd biggest – a Tesla!
- I am incredibly cheap and love to bargain shop. Sometimes I feel I should start a savings blog.
- I stopped wearing makeup daily on October 2, 2014. I look a little older, but I don’t miss it otherwise. It’s been an enlightening social experiment thus far, and it gives me more time to read the news in the morning. Plus, I will look amazing to people when I dress up for parties and weddings!