year 10

A decade ago, today was my first day at work at my first journalism job. It also was my first real job after college (although, technically, I was still a student; long story).

I was fresh off a trip to Florida that served as my final spring break. I moved to Petersburg only two days before. I was excited and wondering where the road would take me in the decade to come.

I had no idea what I was doing.

It’s been a crazy ride. I thought I’d be in Petersburg a couple years and then I’d be off to a major metro. Then my industry collapsed.

I learned a lot there. I grew a deep love for my original beat. I wrote some things I thought at the time were great. I also wrote some things that were absolutely horrible. Then I got too big for my britches and headed a few miles down the road to work for the rival paper.

I had no idea what I was doing.

Somehow, I was put in charge of that small newsroom. Somehow, I made key hires. Somehow, it turned into a newspaper I was proud of.

I also learned my limitations and knew someone else needed to build on the foundation I placed to carry it to the next level. I decided I wanted to rise no higher than the position of copy editor, but two storm events delayed that transition by about four months. It led to an awkward, bittersweet transition.

Being a copy editor worked for only six months. I briefly headed back to that rival of my first job then had the departure that should have been.

Then I landed in Charlottesville.

That was a fascinating time. I still had no idea what I was doing, but I finally began to figure it out. The real-world experience there ranks second after the basics I learned in college.

And now I’m here. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’ve learned how to find out what to do. I’m enjoying being a reporter again, but I kinda miss being in the editor’s chair. I have a feeling I’ll need to make that decision sooner rather than later.

I know what I’m doing.

Here’s to another 10 years. At least.

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