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We fear change

I'm like Mikey -- the kid from the Life cereal commercial, "Let's give it to Mikey.
He won't like it. He hates everything."

We all know that Mikey ended up liking the cereal, and I would have too if someone told me I would hate it. That's just how I roll -- stubborn and immature. 

I'm rather childish about a lot of things, but someone thought it was a good idea to put me in a leadership position at work -- that's not to say I'm unqualified. I've performed very well in every job I've had since high school. It's just not something I expected -- to be a supervisor.

It's exciting. It's scary. It's sad -- I wouldn't be taking this job except the person who currently fills it is running off to Hawaii for something -- let's face it -- far better than anything Seattle has to offer. It's change, and I hate it. Even when the change is something really good like a better job with more money. I'd be just as happy for things to stay the same -- same boss, same coworkers, same hours, same desk.

Money's not my thing. Don't get me wrong -- I love to spend it. But my job satisfaction has little to do with the size of my paychecks. In fact I can't say precisely what I earn in a week, because I've never checked my pay stubs (Jerod does the banking). Whether or not I like my job depends solely on the people I work with. If I like them; the job is awesome. If I hate them; the job is unbearable, though I've been very lucky not to have that problem.

I worked in a newsroom where conversations ranged from "Which city council member would look most hideous in a denim g-string?" to "Which reporter's husband gets the most air time on the police scanner? (That would be mine.)"

I arrived at work one morning to find a baby rat in a box on my desk. The sports editor found him the night before in the photo lab, and figured I could save it because my dad was vet.

That same sports editor -- when he was a lowly intern -- wrote a series of blurbs about everyone on staff called Meet the Press and introduced me to our readers as the reporter whose husband collected scented candles.

Journalism teamed me with more hysterical, too-weird-to-be-true characters than any person deserves in two lifetimes -- the jock arts editor who apologized a dozen times a day for his gas; the irritating muppet who was unacceptably cheerful at 7 a.m.; the OCD hypochondriac who yelled at his computer; the really tall girl who fell out of her chair at approximately the same time every day ... they were my peeps, and I miss them terribly -- the ones I don't see anymore, because some of them are still very much in my life.

Jerod advised me shortly after I was laid off not to expect that kind of working environment again -- "consider yourself lucky to have had that at all." And I did, but I couldn't accept that no job -- no office -- would ever be as fun.

I'm pleased to report that Jerod was mistaken as he usually is. Three years following his gloomy forecast I'm working with a fabulous group of hooligans at a pretty big technology company with an infinite supply of soft drinks, coffee, tea and milk.

The atmosphere is a lot like a second-grade classroom. We are tasked with improving the accuracy of an undisclosed search engine -- doing so requires us to analyze some of the silliest, grossest, disturbingest things on the Internet, including poop, kittens and naked and/or dead people.

We respectfully shoot rubber bands and Nerf darts at each other; we talk colorfully; we laugh about queries like "how do I masturbate." There's a great deal of pranking -- we call it trolling -- too. A cardboard castle was erected over someone's desk; a swear jar may have bankrolled a third of a $12 mango margarita in the bar downstairs; a battery-operated kitten nearly killed the sweetest member of our team; there was the Husky voodoo doll; and an incident involving endless tea bags and a potato.

My biggest complaint is the turnover. Most of my colleagues are working one-year contracts at the end of which they'll take their mandatory 100-day breaks. Some of them will come back and some will find better jobs in better climates -- it's great, but it sort of sucks too.

I'm lousy at goodbyes. Sure, we're all friends on Facebook, or LinkedIn, or whatever social media network suits your fancy, but it's not the same. I miss people when they go, and it's awkward, because I'm not an affectionate person.

I say a lot of I-hate yous and I'm-mad-at yous -- of course I don't mean it. I'm too guarded to say something mushy like "I'm sad at you," or "I'm glad I got to know you," or "I'm really going to miss you." I'll just stalk you on the Internet and bomb your Facebook page with all of your least favorite things. And I know what you're thinking, "I'll just get rid of my Facebook."

I wouldn't recommend it.

I was a really good journalist. I will find you, and you'll be sorry.


  1. What you're saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I'm sure you'll reach so many people with what you've got to say.


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