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Dept. of Saturday

Parades are good ...
And work glitches shouldn't interfere with enjoying them

Thank ghu for good days. Even though I had to work today, and even though I hadn't realized until Thursday that I was working a weekend shift, it's still a good day today.

First, because my work day is over, and I actually managed to write two stories. Second, because one of those stories was a fluffy feature about my town's holiday parade, which necessitated me going to see the parade this morning

We-e-e-ll, I say "necessitated" ... I should say I had the great good luck to have a parade to go to.

I love parades. I have ever since I was a wee little thing. I don't believe I'll ever get too old for them, and I don't really care if they're huge, long processions or little dinky community affairs, as this one was. There's just something about the positive vibes - yes, that's pretty woo-woo, I acknowledge - about seeing floats and marching bands, hearing bagpipes, all the bright colors, waving at the participants and having them wave back - even the clowns and the Shriner mini-cars, they all press my childhood buttons of wonder and special occasion and festival. And with the tiny parades, there's an added sense of shared community; everyone's smiling, kids are generally having at least a bit of fun, even the older ones, and people are willing to let their barriers down and talk to you.

So I got to wander around and ask people if they were having fun, and see loads of people I knew - even had someone come out of the parade and give me a hug. I've definitely been on my beat long enough to say "I know this town," at least a little bit.

Once I got home, and a little thawed out - it was 42 degrees Fahrenheit, which was better than it has been over the past week, but my fingers still got numb - I wrote up the story and sent it to the duty editor. And then it was on to an actual news story that I'd done the interviews for a couple of days ago. And then I was able to end my day.

Why does this fairly pedestrian activity relax me and even make me a tad joyful? Because for the first three days of the week, I was in an unpleasantly high state of tension, for a reason that hasn't happened to me in a while.

On Monday, my two immediate bosses told me I'd been assigned to cover a memorial service for murdered journalist James Foley at Northwestern University; he was a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of journalism. That, in and of itself, made me tense. I don't like doing memorials or funerals, and this one had a bit of a national tinge to it. I didn't look forward to talking to his mother, although I arranged to do it, and I was aware the story would land not only on my local chain's pages, but in the national paper's pages. So all of that was making me nervous as hell; yes, even after three decades in the business, I can get as nervous as a tyro.

The other source of tension was the fact I'd inadvertently stepped on a colleague's toes when I got the assignment. My boss and uber-boss (who was my old and quite liked immediate boss) told me "I was the right one to do it." That was admittedly flattering, but I try to mistrust flattery (I'm about as successful at that as you might imagine.) I didn't examine the assignment as I should have, but eventually decided my colleague must be unavailable.But no. They not only didn't offer the story to him, they initially told him he'd be covering it, and then took it away from him.

This was foolish, because he could do as good a job as I could do, or better. This was also unprofessional from all angles. And they didn't tell me. I should have asked, so there's blame to go around, but they should have told me. Normally my old/uber-boss would have told me, and I don't know why he didn't; that disappointed me.

I let a couple of people know I wasn't happy. I told my colleague I would bring it up with my uber-boss, because my colleague was obviously displeased. He said he didn't blame me, but his comments were of the "I know you always liked him, Kathy, but I've never bought into the worship" (Worship? Really?) and "Maybe you've had it easy with him" variety that I only realized after I got off the phone with him were clearly his way of saying that I was getting breaks because of my relationship with the UB.

It pissed me off - but you know, I have caught breaks in the past. I haven't asked for them, and I certainly didn't ask for this one, but it bothers me because it seems to be noticeable enough to upset colleagues. It also bothers me because I like my colleague and did not want to step on his toes.

I am going to write a private email to UB tomorrow, letting him know that I was unhappy with the way the deal went down; that I'd hope in future that he'd let me know everything about assignment protocols that I'm involved in. And then I'm going to tell my colleague I've done so. It won't change my colleague's attitude, but I'll have done what I can.

So ... lots of unusual tension from Monday to Thursday. I got through the thing, and then got the story completed in time for the evening deadline (another source of tension; writing fast. I hate writing fast.) Getting past the day (which also involved a whole fuck-ton of walking in high heels, don't ask) was so delightful - I'd rather take my usual union tension than this sort of thing.

Ahem; this seems to have turned into a long angsty post.

But I'm happy! I've been able to do a post, and I went to a parade! And I have a glass of wine next to me, and BB and I are about to watch a movie! And I made cookies, too many of which I've ingested! And tomorrow is a day off! And Thanksgiving is coming, which I love! So there are a lot of positives! And many, many exclamation points!!

This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/333020.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 23rd, 2014 03:24 am (UTC)
The politics sound infuriating, and especially exhausting on top of getting a story like that which, yeah... I have enormous respect for you to be covering something like that, because I can't even imagine how difficult approaching people for that must be (not as difficult as being the people being approached, but... yeah).

But the parade sounds lovely and your descriptions of it sparkle with light and childhood joy. I'm glad you got to end your week that way.
Nov. 23rd, 2014 06:20 pm (UTC)
I can't even imagine how difficult approaching people for that must be not as difficult as being the people being approached

The toughest was sitting in a room with his mother, the woman who obviously he had lived with or who had had a relationship (she was just introduced as "James' special friend", and his grandmother. I spoke mostly with the mother, because she's been the public face and PR person for the family, and she was very smooth. I don't say that to denigrate her. She's developed the persona she needs to speak for hostage families - there are a lot of issues in that regard.

But his friend and his grandmother ... I asked them if they had any memories of him that made them smile, because it's a question I ask when I'm dealing with death, to try to get them to remember something positive. The friend was able to pull it together, but the grandmother looked at me and said, "I just miss him." I nodded and didn't ask her anything more.
Nov. 23rd, 2014 03:35 am (UTC)
I wish your colleague didn't look down his nose at you, because in my mind, that was what he did. That might contribute a lot to WHY the assignment was handed to you. you might have been 'given breaks' but you are good at your job, you fight for all the right reasons, you are kind to others and don't play politics (except when it comes to union and that's a whole different ballgame). So that tells me why you recieved the assignment, even if it isn't of the type you normally relish. I can see whole reasons why you got this - and your colleagues butthurt gives me whole reasons why he didn't. Yeah, maybe he could have done it just as well or better. Maybe. But his attitude when you went to apologize was shitty. So I have no fucks for him. Sorry.

I am proud and pleased that you got the assignment. I know you kicked it in the ass! I know you went above and beyond, you made your apologies where you needed to, let your bosses know how you felt about being in this unintended crossfire and were your usual kind, sweet, marvelous self and that is all good enough for me!

Then there were parades!! Hell with 'woo-woo'. Parades is AWESOME.

And there is wine! And cookies!! And MOVIES!! And TIME WITH BB!! And now there are italics!! Life is good.

Have a good day off, bb. You've more than earned it!

Nov. 23rd, 2014 03:00 pm (UTC)
What she said. All of it. :)
Nov. 23rd, 2014 06:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I'll feel better once I've put my final email together for my uber boss. That happens later today, and I'll send it to his private email.
Nov. 23rd, 2014 06:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, my dear; you are so lovely to respond this way! I know I ended up doing alright. I got a couple of comments from higher ups, and the story made it to the Tribune website, with only some marginal cuts and edits, so the job got done well enough.

My colleague is really a good man, but we've had philosophical differences over the union and, now, my discovery that he feels I've gotten it easy under the current regime. Those have driven a wedge between us. I want it to go away; the scar will remain, but we can at least regain some collegiality. Because I mean it; he is a good man, a funny man, and an excellent reporter.

And now there are italics!


Edited at 2014-11-23 06:25 pm (UTC)
Nov. 24th, 2014 01:26 am (UTC)
Ohhh!! So proud of you - and thrilled to pieces for you! Quite an accomplishment there.

Hmmm. I will take that he is a good man. And he's human. And though I do not know him, I will conceed that he may be an excellent reporter. Of course, you are all these things too (and rather funny yourself to boot). I just feel there were better ways to handle his frustration and express his upset - other than implying you are less, or a kiss-ass...which if he knew you as well as you know him, he would definitely see you are neither of these things. Just stating for the record that this is how it came across to me. Which was...upsetting to me. But I concede that he was likely just having a bad day and handled it wrong, dishing out hurt without caring where it landed. Hopefully he will find a way to make that up to you later.

Nov. 23rd, 2014 09:35 am (UTC)
♥ I'm glad to hear you had such a lovely day/lovely time at the parade, and could relax a bit. That is really unpleasant about the business with your colleague and the UB, put you in a very awkward position when you hadn't done anything unpleasant at all. I hope you don't get any more of that tension to deal with, and that yur UB-email can smooth things over a bit and the atmosphere is better in the future.

*hugs* Have a lovely day off! ♥
Nov. 23rd, 2014 06:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much - the UB email will be crafted later today and sent to his private email, and I'm going to consider that an end to the whole thing. I shall go on and treat everyone as I've always treated them, because I really do like my colleague.
Nov. 23rd, 2014 07:10 pm (UTC)
Sounds like the best way to handle things. I hope the atmosphere gets better in the future ♥
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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