I expected to feel pangs of nostalgia, and waves of regret. I’ve felt neither. It hasn’t been all rainbows and puppies, but when you work a job as long as I did — and as hard as I did — you would think there’s been some residual…something…so my reaction means either I did the right thing, or I’m shallow as hell.
I stayed in that job long past my due date for a variety of reasons, some of them valid. For one, the thought of losing my last name, Susan Campbell Ofthehartfordcourant, was akin to chewing off my own arm. If I wasn’t a newspaper reporter/columnist, precisely who was I?
Then, too, I hesitated leaving because You Don’t Leave A Job Without Another Job Waiting For You. Ever.
I stayed, as well, because I never quit loving to talk to people and then writing about them, and in the pressure cooker of a daily newspaper job, I never took the time to lift the lid and look around at other ways to tell stories. In fact, about five years ago, I remember talking to my husband about the potential of life after my newspaper job, and I cried. I cried!
I’ve shed no tears lately. In fact, I was driving home from dinner with friends last week (I can do those types of things now, have dinner with friends, and this week? I’m watching a movie with friends, too.) and my heart filled up. This, then, is the life I really live.
So I haven’t cried, but I have:
* Started writing a monthly column for the fabulous website C-HIT. My first one should run shortly.
* Entered into negotiations (Ha. “Negotiations,” like we used lawyers and stuff. We met over coffee.) to start co-writing a blog with Tom Breen (tentative title: Hot Dogma!). In conjunction with that, we are
* Talking about co-hosting an online radio show. I only just met Tom but I like him already — a good thing, if you’re going to share a microphone, yes? More on that later.
* Gotten back the edited version of my biography on Isabella Beecher Hooker, and the questions are going to make the book better, so I’m happy. (And if you’re a frequent visitor to this blog, you know I needs my editing.)
* Started working part-time at Partnership for Strong Communities doing research and grant-writing and generally learning the myriad of acronyms that housing-types use. I sometimes feel like the grizzled, cigar-chewing shrew in the corner among people who are lit from within, but I believe I can learn from these folks, and I like them already, too.
* Participated in a few panels, on topics from immigration to (yes!) the War of 1812.
* Guest-hosted John Dankosky’s WNPR show, Where We Live, appeared on The Colin McEnroe Show on the same station, and last night sat down for Bruce Barber’s Real Life Survival Guide, with some really interesting guests and some awesome ribs and sides. I don’t know how it’s going to sound on-air (you won’t hear it for a few weeks) but participating felt like going to a dinner party with people with whom you needed to bring your A-Game.
I am still in search of a Big Girl Job, one with benefits and everything, but I know it’s out there and I’m not losing sleep over it. The weird thing is, I’m probably working harder (though less hours) than I did at my old job, and I’m enjoying myself more. Freaky how that works out.
I have no idea what’s next and I don’t lose sleep over that, either. I guess what this has taught me that if you’re thinking of jumping, go ahead and do it. The universe (and some really good friends) will catch you. Go ahead. Do it.