Friday, March 25, 2011

Deja' vu

It's funny, really.
Two years ago, a month before my 40th birthday, I began this blog, believing at the time my journalism career could be in jeopardy.
I had worked for 17 years, all in newspaper, working my way toward what I hoped would be the job of my dreams. After four years at the Ann Arbor News, I was a Big Ten beat writer, covering a team that was making its first NCAA appearance in eight years. This is what I wanted. Then, it all changed.
While in Kansas City, I learned the Ann Arbor News was closing and giving way to a new media company. I didn't know what to make of the news. No newspaper in Ann Arbor? A website-driven news source? I was determined not to investigate it any farther.
But I knew if I didn't, it could spell the end of my career. It's not the way I wanted it to end. So I applied (albeit with great hesitation), landing a part-time job with hell-bent on trying something news.
Less than two years later, the things haven't changed.
Again, Michigan's basketball team made the NCAA Tournament. I was still a beat writer, covering hockey, prepared to cover Michigan's 21st straight to hockey's version of The Big Dance. The day before the playoffs began, I learned - this time first-hand - that my time working as a journalist in Ann Arbor was coming to an end.
Maybe, as my colleague Lon Horwedel wrote this week, I shouldn't have been surprised. Perhaps, the little subtle changes this year signaled something bigger. Maybe, there was a way I could survive this.
But two weeks after being laid off, I again find myself at a crossroads. The past two weeks have been a hellish roller coaster ride. A byline on Another for, which I have been a contributor on for more than two years. Freelance hockey assignments and story-telling that makes me think maybe there's still something left.
But mixed into all of that was a lot of uncertainty and angst. The thought of filing the first unemployment claim in my life leaves me feeling unsettled. Wondering when the phone will ring with an prospective editor waiting to talk to me leaves me wondering if the phone will ring.
My faith tells me everything will be taken care of in due time. Be anxious for nothing for tomorrow will take care of itself. Deep down, I know that to be true. But somehow, that message from my heart hasn't yet reached my head.
The next weeks and months will be telling. I am determined, as I was two years ago, not to allow people that barely know me to tell me when my career as a journalist is over.
The people who know me best, the ones that have called, emailed and texted me over the past two weeks, know what I am capable of.
It's too bad the people making the decisions never realized what they were losing.
But if I have anything to say about it, they will soon.

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