Like Coffee Through The Filter, So Are The Days Of Our Lives

Lost in all the madness of Lebron heading to the Lakers and Tavares heading to the Maple Leafs is the fact that I’m leaving The Post-Journal! Talk about burying the lede …

In all seriousness, I’m excited to announce a new chapter in my life.

For my entire career as an able-bodied American I have worked the evening shift. Throughout high school I worked at a pizzeria and spent my nights sprinklin’ cheese and cleaning out deep fryers while my friends were, well, doing what kids do between the ages of 15-18. During college I was able to land a job my freshman year at a bar as a barback and later as a bartender where I worked for the entirety of my college life — five, sometimes six or seven nights a week. And lastly as a journalist — six years as a reporter in Dunkirk and six years as a desk editor for The Post-Journal. Only for the past two years have I been able to squeeze in two day shifts a week.

You do what you have to do, some — most — people say. And it’s true, it worked for our family, but it wasn’t ideal.

My wife has been a teacher for almost as long as I’ve worked in the newspaper industry, so she’d work days and I’d work nights. I’d be home to feed the kids breakfast and she’d be there to tuck them into bed. So rarely would we do these things on a consistent basis together. We, or I, would justify it by factoring in how expensive day care is — think of the money we’re saving, I’d say. It’s true, in a sense … how are middle-class families expected to work minimum wage jobs or slightly better, put their kids in day care and still expect to get by? Unemployment and welfare doesn’t sound so bad considering the benefits … but I digress.

I was fortunate, however, to spend a good amount of time with my children as babies, toddlers and all the way up through their pre-school years. That’s something a lot of dads can’t say they’ve been able to do and I’m thankful for that. But our household is changing and it’s time I change with it. Our youngest starts full-day pre-K in the fall and the timing couldn’t have worked out any better.

The last time I worked a Monday-through-Friday day shift was when I was a young teenager, cleaning a Catholic school during the summer. Can you tell I’m a little excited about working a day shift? Did I mention that yet?

It still hasn’t hit me yet, though. Journalism is all I’ve known post-college and I’ll be stepping into the field of public relations for the first time. Ironically, my concentration in college was public relations … it just so happened to take me 13 or so years to break through.

I’ve never dealt with a transition such as this so I’m sure there will be moments down the road where I’ll look back and think of how much I missed, or didn’t miss, about working in the newspaper biz. It may feel odd to drive into work, see a structure fire and have to fight the urge to get out and take a photo for the next day’s paper. That’s what I’ll miss the most.

There is no greater thrill than to cover the do-you-remember-where-you-were moments. I still remember all of the structure fires I’ve covered — from the massive Masonic Temple fire in Dunkirk to the string of arsons in the Falconer and Jamestown area. In my younger years I loved nothing more than to hear a juicy call come over the scanner (I know, it sounds weird and it’s not for everyone). And to be able to design the paper for memorable events — both large and small — is something I will most definitely miss. I still have the “Hillary Wins” layout somewhere on my desktop.

As a reporter I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many wonderful and interesting people. I like to think the vast majority of the articles I have written throughout my career have made a positive impact on the subjects involved. I never tried to be a got-ya reporter, that was never me. It doesn’t mean I went easy on anyone, but I definitely tried to be fair.

I’ve been writing less and less these past few years and have focused a lot on page layouts as an editor here at The Post-Journal. I never received any community feedback for my layouts, so I hope you’ve enjoyed them. There are only a few video game reviews left in the hopper so you won’t have to worry about those much longer, I promise.

Lastly, I’ll miss a lot of the people I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years. I don’t think a day has gone by when I haven’t laughed at the office … shorts, too, I’ll miss being able to wear shorts and a T-shirt to the office.

Now, where did I save that “how to tie a tie” YouTube link …

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