"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Not so bad so far

Well, I'm halfway through my first weekend as an unemployed person, and so far the only thing that seems a little odd about it is that I didn't have to spend all day yesterday taking pictures for work. That's happened occasionally that a weekend has meant an actual day off - but extremely rarely. I haven't been able to sleep in as I would have liked to though. It's been quite a while since I've been able to manage that. Despite my constant state of exhaustion from overwork, I haven't been able to sleep in even those rare times I've had the opportunity. The body gets used to these things, I guess.

I went to the office to clear out my desk yesterday. My former editor (the decision was made by the publisher) seemed on the verge of tears a few times while I was there. She knows how much I've been doing, and she didn't agree with the decision. I told her I've got a prospect in line that looks pretty good. She told me the publisher might be sent to a job in Chicago, and if he is, she said she'll call me. Whatever. I think my standards for the newspaper might have been a bit too high, and my priorities were different. I wanted to put out a great newspaper, and the publisher wants to make maps and host concerts and change the entire look of the paper every two years. He's got no understanding of what a community newspaper is supposed to be. After 10 years in this business and eight in community newspapers, my news judgement and priorities have never before been questioned or doubted. In fact, I've received nothing but praise. I left the flagship paper to try to rescue this struggling little 'ville paper, but you can't do that when the publisher in charge has a whole different (and completely twisted) view of how things should be. I take some comfort in knowing that not only does the entire staff hate him and wish him gone, but also that the entire community hates him. I've heard it everywhere I've been in the past three months. I have to wonder a bit, too, if he'd started to notice that I was starting to notice just how many company resources he was expending on his own private little pet projects. He was having employees of the paper work on projects for the boards he was a member of, treating them like his own personal staff rather than employees of the company that owns the paper. I also found out he fired someone else on Friday. That's seven people from a staff of 15 in three months. There were at least as many in the previous three months - and from my understanding, that's been the case all along. Hardly a week goes by that he doesn't get the whim to fire someone - and he does it without hesitation. Most often, those firings came to the complete bafflement of everyone else on staff. Seems he was of the belief that as long as they were within their 90-day probationary period, none of those staff cuts counted against him. They are being noticed though. As one of the other editor's I called Friday commented, "He's been going through staff like water." Indeed he has. (That editor, btw, said he'd love to have me working for him - unfortunately, there's nothing available at his paper at the moment.)

My day Friday still might have been pretty depressing - as joining the ranks of the unemployed can be - but for a nice hour and a half long phone with someone whose voice I'd been waiting about a year and a half to hear. It was a definite mood booster.


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