It’s been two weeks since my introduction to SPJ. I’m still alive, so that’s a promising sign.
To say it’s been a whirlwind tour is an understatement.
The adjustment is going well, all things considered (although noticeably absent are Robert Siegel, Michele Norris and Melissa Block).
However, I feel after two weeks that I’ve finally got my mind wrapped around what to do here at the prestigious Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center. Write and or coordinate SPJ Leads. Gather material for Quill’s SPJ Report. Send out thousands upon thousands of e-mail messages about our upcoming convention. (You can still register…act now!) That’s easy enough to master, thanks mostly to the outgoing communications guru, Alyson, who made my first week very manageable.
I’ve got the skill set down. Getting organized is another story. It takes more than going to Office Depot and Staples. (BTW – that easy button stuff is a load of hogwash!) On my desk, which is tidy relative to previous workstations, there are a number of Post-It notes. They may seem strewn about to the untrained observer, but each plays its part in helping me keep track of various important tasks. “Check the ethics hotline every morning!” warns one. “Get Clint and Dave’s (respectively our president and president-elect) schedule to Chris when finalized” warns another. I should have made a note to remind me what I’m scheduling for Clint and Dave. Haircuts? Yoga lessons? Eh, it will come.
Chris (the same person to whom I’m supposed to deliver the all-important “schedule”) recently remarked about the cleanliness (or lack thereof) of my car. “It’s rather dusty,” she said (and she was speaking about the inside).
“Oh, yeah. Sorry about that,” I said rather coyly. “I’ve been in the mountains for 6 weeks. Haven’t gotten around to cleaning it out.”
[Side note: Apparently the mountains of eastern Washington, aside from splendid beauty, are chock full of Pepsi bottles and Arby’s curly fries. I have no other explanation for how those items got in my car.]
But that’s why I’m a little disorganized. I’ve yet to snap out of the world of camping and the Northwest and into the world of journalism and communications. My job here started about 72 hours after my other job (in the mountains of Washington, mind you) ended. There’s nothing like a straight shot across the country in a dusty, albeit dependable, Corolla to pump you up for a desk job. I rolled into Indianapolis late on a Wednesday night after a marathon race across the country and over a month sleeping in a tent. I started work at 8 a.m. Thursday morning.
So please forgive the aura of disorganization should you encounter it in person. Don’t worry, the essential work will proceed. The press releases will get out on time, SPJ Leads will get to your e-mail inbox and to the Web, and Quill will be delivered to your mailbox on time with great content (thanks to the awesome new managing editor, Amy, who started the day before me).
One of these days I’ll get around to dusting out the car. But that will have to wait until after the upcoming convention. (Act now! You can still sign up!)