I am/was the editor of two weekly papers and contributor to the weekly lifestyle publication here in Connecticut. Rumors about “changes” had been circulating for ages and our staffs were bare bones. I put out my two papers with only a part-time reporter. That involved culling pertinent copy from e-mail, taking photos and editing submitted photos, writing, and designing, laying out and paginating the papers, pulling in ads, then send the pages to plate. (FYI: Editors no longer muse over copy with a red pen. We’re hands on from beginning to end.)
Well, on Thursday, 21 editors and reporters were axed as were most of the papers, 17 or 18, a couple are still standing including the weekend publication, which will apparently be put out by a lone editor. (It would take five or us an entire day to build the paper, not to mention the job of gathering and editing copy.) We’re not sure who got the worst part of the deal – her for surviving with an untenable workload, or us for loosing our jobs. We’re all talented people who worked our butts off.
The journalism market is abysmal – my resume has been updated for ages and I’ve been regularly cruising the job boards. I’ve been in the field for some 30 years and have always been able to land on my feet, usually parlaying part-time work into decent full-time editorial jobs and adapting to additional responsibilities and technologies.
At 58, I’m more than a little tired and wish I could take my unused vacation time to lick my wounds. However, the bag lady fear will keep me pushing. And my work is my identity.
My husband has had his own employment issues; he has 40 years as an HR manager and is now working in security at a salary of $20K to $30K less than his field. Obviously a serious income is needed on my part.
My passion is cats and I have always had a sideline there of writing, consulting, teaching and speaking. Perhaps now I’ll have time to further develop that. I’ve also been brainstorming with my reporter – local civic groups desperately need decent PR (as an editor, I’ve had to wade through tons of poorly written releases and flyers masquerading as press releases). I’ve also talked with another writer about an Internet venture – wish I knew more about that end of things.
I’m angry at the administration and greedy corporate slimebuckets who got us to this point. It amazes me that they were able to get away such crap. I have a collection of articles going back 10 years about merger mania and associated excesses. (Even back in 1997 Sandy Weill from Travelers, and later Citigroup, made $227 million.) It really bites when it all comes home to roost in your own nest.
Well, I guess this is rather a rant. However, this is a time when we have to reinvent ourselves. Looks like my first step will be to excavate my home office!