There are a few things they don’t tell you when you start working in a newsroom.
They don’t tell you you’ll probably be scraping by, pay-wise.
They don’t tell you that your work doesn’t exactly end when you leave the building.
They don’t tell you your news-brain will get turned on and you are always thinking news news NEWS. Do we need this? If so, only on the website, or in the paper? Does it need to hit social media immediately or can it wait a bit? Is it going to cause a rash of insane comments on social media, and do we have someone who can police those for the next few hours? Did we already have this yesterday? What do you MEAN, we covered this last week? Are you sure? Then why does the local news have it today as if it’s new? Is this on one of the feeds we can use? No, Buzzfeed isn’t reputable. No, we can’t use that. No, seriously, I mean it, stop that.
They don’t tell you that you’ll be really, REALLY tired. Like, almost all the time. It’s amazing any newsing gets done with how tired the staff of our news organizations are.
They also don’t tell you, however, you will love this job so much you don’t MIND the above. That you’ll work those extra minutes that add up to extra hours and not even notice you’ve done it. That you work through the exhaustion. (Especially on election night, which never, ever ends. I might still be working last election night, is how long that night lasts.) That the news part of your brain being turned on all the time is actually something you’ll like. That your teeny-tiny paycheck’s tough to handle, but since you’re working insane hours, when would you have time to spend that money, anyway? Mostly you’re spending it on fast food and your cell phone bill anyway.
You kind of put your head down and work and work and work, and then on your days off sometimes you work from a distance and try to run a few errands and sleep and sleep and sleeeeep. You kind of forget there’s an outside world except you see it a little on television. It looks nice. There’s sunshine and people seem to fall in love a lot there. How do they find the time? It’s utterly perplexing.
HOWEVER! Sometimes a magical thing comes up that reminds me that there is, surprisingly enough, life outside of work! And I can take advantage of it! Yes! IT IS TRUE!
Many moons ago, when I was just a baby blogger, I came across the lovely Lisa, who was (and remains) one of the funniest people I’d ever (virtually) met. She introduced me to many other amazing bloggers and we were quite the little blogging community, for a while, until the world moved on (as it does, especially on the internet, which tends to move faster than you’d think.)
However, we have kept in touch and have had many good times over on Twitter and on the Book of Faces and I did warn her once that I was going to come visit her in Texas via hopping a train, as if I was a hobo, with a bindle over one shoulder and probably a hat with a patch on it. I have always wanted to visit Texas, where things are supposedly bigger, and in some places weirder, even though sometimes the politics there scare me.
Last week, Lisa sent me a message that she’d be in New York City soon. Well! This is MUCH better and less-likely to end in me being stabmurdered than me hopping a hobo train! So after some finagling (ok, finagling really just involved me asking my wonderful supervisor, “Can I have this date off?” and her saying, “You got it!” because my coworkers are the best EVER) I am set and prepared to meet Lisa in REALLY REAL LIFE. Eeee!
I have, stupidly, moved a zillion miles away from New York City. I moved in exactly the wrong direction. It used to take me a little under 3 hours to get there; now it will take me about 6. My options are a long drive and a reasonable train ride or a short drive and a VERY LONG bus ride. There are pros and cons to each of these options. I have about a month to decide which of them I’ll choose, so I’m not rushing that yet. It’s not like it matters, because at the end will be Lisa!
We have already decided there will be many shenanigans, no matter what we decide to do while we are there. We’ve known each other virtually for…oh, almost three and a half years now? It’s high time for some face-time shenanigans. We will be bringing Andreas along in spirit, because the only thing that could make this trip better would be having Andreas along for the ride. Lisa thought maybe he could create a wormhole and travel to New York to be with us with that since he is, after all, Lucy’s Football’s Science Fellow, but I’ve asked and he said it wasn’t feasable. SIGH, SCIENCE! Letting us all down!
So: yes. For the most part, I couldn’t be happier to be an underpaid, overworked employee of the best newspaper in Northern New York* (*fine, I might be a little biased, but I’m also right.) But it’s also nice (better than nice) to have a little life to look forward to after this very long, very slow-death winter is close to over with. New York City in the spring is filled with singular magic. It couldn’t be more perfect for meeting one of the most magical people I know.
Happy weekend, people. May you all have happy thoughts and wonderful friends and favorite places to pull you through long, gray, seemingly endless winters.
Oh – and shenanigans. May you always, always have shenanigans. Or what’s it all about, otherwise?