Six months ago, almost to the day, I was ushered into a cramped office and told that my career had just come to a screeching halt. Three of us sat in that small and cluttered space, and two sets of eyes fixed on me, waiting for me to say something. Yesterday, I was brought into another office. Its ceiling, 20 feet above me, was decorated with a mural, underscored by a line of intricate wood moldings that encircled the office. And again, two sets of eyes were on me, wondering what I would say.
Back in 2000, when I hired in as a reporter at the Grand Rapids Press, a big to-do was made of the company’s job security policy. A job here is a job for life, I was told. The hell it is, I thought to myself.
Maybe I’m part delusional, I don’t know. Maybe this is some of the denial I talked about earlier. But either way, I have this deep-seated feeling that everything is going to be OK.
Journalism and I became roommates, then roommates that didn’t care for each other very much, and finally people who barely shared the same space and time. It was clear one of us was going to have to move out. I just figured I’d be the one finding a new place to live, packing my bags and heading to the door with a wave and a “see ya.” I didn’t count on coming home one day to find my things packed up and sitting on the curb.
inevitably, the editor sitting across the desk would ask, “What made you want to be a journalist?” If I would have been honest – and I’m not that stupid – I would have answered, “Because no one hires a creative writer.”