The Perfect Storm

Recently a few of my work colleagues, all on separate occasions, said some really nice things to me.  The general perception was that I’m a bit of a super woman.  I’ve always been honest with my coworkers about my Neuromyelitis Optica condition so one of them asked me how I managed a more than full time job while living with a disease.  I’m very flattered that I’m perceived so well but also really shocked because truth be told, most days I feel like I don’t manage both disease and work together.

If you haven’t read my bio, I’ll tell you a bit about what I do…
I’m a headhunter (who focuses on marketing) so basically, I find people jobs.  First, I reach out to prospective companies (I have to do some research to find the right people in charge) and convince them to use my services.  I go out and meet them to learn more about their company (that’s pretty cool) and negotiate my fees (pretty uncool).  I usually work on retainer, which means they pay a bit of my fee upfront.  Then the harder work starts – I take their job description and what I know about the company and I have to find the right candidate.  I go through hundreds of resumes for one job and the best 8-10 people I interview then I send the best 3-5 people to my client who also interviews them and hopefully makes one of them a job offer.  That’s the gist of what I do but of course, there are lots of other steps I won’t bore you with.

Where my job and disease clash is how hard I sometimes have to work.  I don’t mind hard work but sometimes even the simplest task like staying awake is hard when you have NMO.  Unfortunately, my day never ends at 5pm.  Most of my candidates can’t really talk about their career goals while they are at work.  And my clients don’t always get back to me during business hours.  Also, to be a decent headhunter, one really needs to be well networked so I try to attend as many events to meet new prospective clients and new candidates.  In my world, every person is both.  This week was one of those weeks where I just had to log  extra hours.  It was Advertising Week here in Toronto so there were great speaker series and even a great industry party I had to attend.  By Friday morning I was exhausted so I cried a little on my drive into the office because I was past frustrated.  Luckily, I found the strength to pull myself together and finish the week.

My friend says that the universe has a way of taking care of you if you remember to also give back.  That same Friday I had felt so exhausted and frustrated, I was driving to a doctor appointment in the afternoon when another driver from a parked position took off without looking and T-boned me.  After the initial shock I waited for the pain that suddenly showed up in my back, neck and right hip.  After 8 hours in the ER for tests I was sent home and have spent the weekend house and bed bound with whiplash.

So universe, despite how uncomfortable I am, thank you for forcing me to take a break.  It was a rather inconvenient way to remind me but I got your message.

And to my coworker I say, those things you said about me were really sweet but I feel bad that I’ve become a good pretender or even a good liar.  I’m definitely no super woman because, well, I’m pretty sure she never gets whiplash.

Thursday night at a work networking event with my friend, Aris.






Friday night at the hospital.


  1. Laura

    Oh Jenna, I’m so sorry the universe had to lay you out… But you definitely hit the nail on the head with the pushing, and the feeling that you are pretending or lying. My company has been amazing about my new disease, but I know I’m not giving them the amount they deserve, and in the end, I push too hard and wait for the universe to lay me out. Thank you for sharing your story, I hope you are feeling better soon. 🙂

    Comment by Laura on February 2, 2012 at 11:24 pm

  2. Michelle

    Oh geez – that just stinks. I hope you’re feeling better by now and I hope the universe, when it needs to teach you a lesson, is kinder to you next time!

    Comment by Michelle on February 9, 2012 at 5:07 am

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