It’s a gray, rainy Saturday morning. I’m at work. I am voluntarily at work. Right now I’m sitting in a dark, windowless room wondering why I’m here. I know why I’m here, really. It’s just that, for now, all I am actually doing is surveying my motives and the contents of the space around me. In front of me there are two filing cabinets. I couldn’t even begin to guess what kind of paperwork is inside them. I’m not going to look. There’s an empty window frame that suggests the room I’m in was once used for storage and never fully cleaned. There’s a bright blue chair, like one you’d find in a middle school classroom. Honestly, it looks more comfortable than the chair I’m sitting in. I’m trading.
Yeah. That’s better.
To my right is a desk nearly identical to the one I’m using, although messier. The reporter who uses it has been on vacation all week. There are post-its (mostly friendly notes I’ve written during her Monday-Tuesday “weekends”) and small piles of paper. Next to her keyboard is a stack of three Jason Isbell CDs I left for her. We went to a local show of his together last week and she loved his music. When she gets back from vacation this afternoon those will be one of the first things she notices on her desk.
The phone right beside me keeps ringing. It’s set on a soft volume, but all of the calls for the main newsroom are routed into here as well. Twice now I’ve almost answered, instinctively.
Twice now I’ve also tried to get started on what I’m here to do. I’m working on writing and editing packages. Most days I am crazy about my job as a producer. I love being tuned in to what is happening in my world. I love that I spend most of my day reading and writing. I just want to know more about journalism. I don’t want to be complacent. I want to keep learning. I want to spend some time out of the office, meeting people, hearing stories first hand.
I’ve been producing for just shy of three years. It’s a cool job. It has its frustrations like any job. And it has its rewards. Oh man, the rewards. There’s next to nothing like the feeling of covering big breaking news and doing it well. Finishing breaking news coverage feels, to me, almost exactly like the moment you cross the 400m finish line and begin to slow your steps. You’re done. You’ve made it. And somehow, even if it’s not true, you believe the world is a little better for it. Okay, that’s usually not true. That’s just me inflating the importance of what I do, but I suspect we’re all guilty of some of that.
So I’m here. On my way in to work I ordered “whatever you call your tallest coffee – black” from the Starbucks Drive-Thru. I listened to the GD Satellite radio station. I debated whether to turn my windshield wipers up a notch or just continue squinting through the mist. I took a sip of coffee and felt like I was back in college, heading in to work at CTV to edit packages on what should be a weekend day off. I remembered why I did it then. I hated those times when I was alone in the office trying to just get a story finished. I hated them until they ended. I worked my ass off during my time at CTV and I’m not shy in saying so. I did it because I had goals that I desperately wanted to achieve. The same sentiment has me here this morning, drinking what is apparently called a “venti” coffee and trying to get started on some writing that will hopefully take me even further in my career than I’ve come in the past three years.
After several paragraphs of procrastination I’ve once again traded chairs and I’m just going to make myself get started.