Thursday, December 23, 2010

When the kids came to visit the paper

It's a slow-ish day here at the Star (it feels SO much better to call my work by the brand everyone knows!).  Everyone's off tomorrow, the ad insertion deadlines have passed, so those of us on duty are simply here getting ahead for next week (also will be slow).

I invited my husband and kids to come down for lunch in the cafeteria.  This is the second time they've visited.  There are so many cool things for them to see and experience - the presses running, the art department ("This is where art HAPPENS!" squealed my daughter, the artist.  And, of course, the newsroom, where you can feel its very pulse. 

We were lucky to run into a reporter friend of mine.  I've known him since I was in high school and he had a profound impact on the course of my life, by virtue of his being in the right place at the right time and taking me seriously about a story.  Doug Kreutz is his name.  He's tall, lanky, older and writing as much as he ever was.  He's less hard news and more features now.  Today he was writing a story about easy hikes in the Tucson area.  The kids got to see his story and photos.  He told them it will be in this Sunday's paper.  They were awestruck.  We also got to meet the newly appointed editor, Bobbie Jo Buel.  My oldest daughter commented loudly after meeting her that "I didn't know ladies got to be the BIG boss!"  Oh, my...  I worked with Gloria Steinham back in the day at AOL, and we got "Take our Daughters to Work Day" off the ground online.  Looks like I may need to do that here as well.

I was hoping to run into Dave Fitzsimmons.  He is our paper's award winning cartoonist, and has a wicked sense of humor and talks like Robin Williams on crack.   He wasn't in, but I know my youngest son would have wanted to be his best friend.  Dave is so important to our paper's brand, and is a great ambassador for news with the younger generation.  His personable demeanor and high energy level makes you want to drop everything and join the circus paper.

Between the press room, the art department, the news room, the technology support and development, and advertising and marketing, there is something to appeal to each of my kids.  I love that they can all envision themselves working here.  Maybe I will have fourth generation newsies after all...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Virtual Focus Group - for Southern Arizona parents

Ok, moms. Here's your chance. I got the green light to develop a product for moms in Tucson. Next week I am hosting four focus groups. Here are my demographics:

- New and first time moms
- Moms of multiple children
- Moms of special needs children
- Single moms

Bear in mind that we can utilize online and mobile applications (possibly print) as distribution vehicles and have the entire driving radius of your house to work with, along with the finest minds on it. (Yours!)

No wrong answers.


An all-hands meeting: a change in leadership

I think, in some respects, my eyes may be bigger than my stomach.  I've taken on a lot of things that may be above and beyond the job description, and smaller things keep getting pushed to the back burner.  Long story short, but something I considered small didn't get address fast enough, but it turned out to be a very big deal to someone else.  It was apparent I hadn't connected the dots, and I had egg on my face in front of a client.   

If you have a job in sales, it's easy to prioritize.  If there is money attached to it, do it.  The amount and the effort to get it should determine where the task falls on the priority list.  Low-hanging fruit first, keep the big deals cooking, and handle everything else when and if your boss reminds you about it.  Hopefully, if she's a good boss, she'll see your cash cow potential and remove obstacles, cheer you on, with course corrections as needed.

Today, I sat down with my boss and 'fessed up that if I had to grade my performance as of late, it would be 'needs improvement'.  I'm over the honeymoon period when I didn't know how much I had to learn.  She affirmed my strengths, confirmed my areas I said needed improvement, and, once again, reminded me I'm still learning.  I confessed I had thought that, compared to other challenges I'd faced, this would be easy.         

On a positive note, a new CEO was promoted from within, and his first act was to appoint a very deserving woman to Editor/Publisher.  I think so highly of them both.  I can't think of a time when I had more respect for people at all senior levels across an organization.  It really makes me want to aspire to their vision and makes me proud to work here.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A chance to breathe

I have been neglecting you, dear readers.  I have not even had time to come up for air.  9 to 5 really amounts to 7 to 6:30, and whatever time I have left I try to spend in precious allotments to each of my children.  My husband has been gracefully, adeptly taking up the slack I am evermore conscious of, and I thank him and try to show my appreciation.  He is a rock and a saint and I could not do this without him.

My email is backed up, 3 accounts worth, Christmas cards yet unwritten, presents ordered by Amazon.  Calls I need to make, friends I've neglected, organization projects in disarray pile around me like old newspapers.

I need to breathe.   My husband is off with the kids next week, and he suggested we go to our cabin for a few days.  So, we packed up, drove through the high desert and forests to the Mogollon Rim, and arrived close to midnight at our cabin in Pinetop-Lakeside.

I awoke to 6-story tall Ponderosa Pines dusted with powdery snow after the best sleep I've had in years.   The air is chilly so we congregate around the fire.  The dogs pile on the kids, each being grateful for the other's warmth.  We consider the options of the day's activities, but already I can tell it will be a lazy day with time stretching in all directions.  Perhaps it is something about the old trees, which make me feel child-like and feel more than I reason.  Distances challenge me here.  I am always surprised by how long, how far, and how slow a walk can be.

2 or 3 summers ago, before I resumed my Russian degree and Peter was finishing his Master's degree, we took the kids and had the luxury of staying here for the whole summer.  The kids learned how to bike, fish and swim in our town which some say is like "Mayberry".  It was the most beautiful time of my life, and whenever I am stressed, I return here, if only in happy memory.

I think about the tradeoff of time vs money.  How much we give up of one to have the other.   I realize, sadly, that our blossom time as a family is behind us, and now we are, each of us, caught up in the schedules and musts as we race toward our respective futures.

But here in our lovely cabin, time stops.