Yesterday, I worked a nine-hour day for the first time since 1999. That's fairly astonishing, isn't it? A regularly scheduled nine hours -- eight hours of work and one hour for lunch. And I had to be at my desk at 9 a.m. That was an eye-opener.
I'm not suggesting that in the past I've been a (total) slacker. While I worked a scheduled 7-hour day in Paris, the work was steady and the day was full. Before that, I had a 10-hour, four-day workweek in L.A. But neither of those jobs began before noon. In fact, this is the first time I've ever had a permanent job that required me to be at the office before, oh, 11. Weird huh?
But it all went pretty well.
I put on my big-girl pants (read: not jeans), a top that wasn't a T-shirt and a pair of heels and walked on over to work. They were excited to see me! I got a warm, welcoming e-mail! They had a printed training plan for me! There were snacks in the kitchen! It was evident that I was out of the newspaper business.
I was concerned about entering a new field ... would I find it interesting? Would the pace of it be too slow? Would I have any idea what they were talking about? Yes, no and yes. The idea of learning about something new was intriguing instead of scary. They didn't expect me to be an expert on my first day. I'm joining an enterprise that is growing rather than one that is waning. There is no doom and gloom talk, just an inevitability of opportunities still ahead. The whole thing was refreshing.
Anyone who has experienced the rush of deadline can understand the worry of moving into the regular world. But as much as I loved deadline, as I grew older deadline did not love me. The older one gets, the bigger the toll it takes on one's health. For me, anyway. It was definitely a love-hate relationship. Craving something I knew was bad for me.
Now, I will have plenty of work, and pressure from my bosses to succeed. I will do it quickly, because that's what I'm used to. But there won't be that ticking clock and inevitable sense of doom as I try to cheat time. My hope is that I will be a quick learner. That I will be able to do anything and everything asked of me.
It's so weird to think of a new career after being in one field for more than 20 years. I never expected to do anything else. And, frankly, I never thought I could do anything else. While I believe journalism will continue, newspapers are in danger. And I am, at my core, a newspaper woman. I don't have the same place in electronic journalism that I had on paper. And that makes me sad on so many levels.
But there is life after journalism, as I've heard people say, and I think I might have found it. Working in a growing firm in a very tall building just minutes away from my home.