Maybe it’s time to turn the page on your newspaper career

One question I get all the time is, “Why would you, an editor at major metropolitan newspapers for more than 30 years, decide to go to work at Home Depot?”

Even after explaining that my kids are grown, my wife still works, my mortgage is paid, and that it seemed best to take the buyout before they had to carry me out on a slab, I still sometimes get follow-upNewspaper-going-out-of-business questions, a favorite being: “But don’t you miss the prestige?”

Prestige? Are you kidding me? There’s nothing prestigious about working all night in some dingy city, then driving home with the drunks just as the bars are closing. It gets even less prestigious when you realize that maybe you are one of the drunks.

Let me tell you, it’s hard to feel glamorous when you get no credit for saving some prancing fool of a columnist’s ass four nights a week, then get zinged by that same columnist, who ratted you out for missing a typo.

Honestly, I get a much bigger sense of fulfillment at Home Depot than I ever got working for a newspaper.

Have you ever seen the look of gratitude in a man’s eyes after directing him to the shelves with the hydraulic cement, or seen the look of panic leave a woman’s face after you’ve shown her where the toilet snakes are stocked? Well I have, and it gives me a warm feeling when I can go home knowing that today, I made a difference!

You might not believe it, but sometimes customers are really happy to see a Home Depot employee hustling over to help them. Have you ever heard of someone being happy to see a newspaper reporter? I rest my case!

But despite my best efforts to explain, questions persist about my career choice. “Home Depot,” people ask. “Really?”

Probably not a lot of people have worked at both Home Depot and in the newspaper business (although undoubtedly more now than there were five years ago), but I am one, and I’m in a good position to point out the key similarities and differences:

HOME DEPOT: Customers arrive every day and many of them will buy a box of screws.

IMG_1096NEWSPAPERS: Employees arrive every night fully expecting to get screwed.

* * *

HOME DEPOT: Employees use a variety of machines to do the heavy lifting.

NEWSPAPERS: That groovy new software doesn’t work, the heavy lifting is left to the invisible grunts on the copy desk, and the Illuminati are heading for the door saying, “Not my job!”

* * *

IMG_1094HOME DEPOT: Step into the hardware department and you can find a box of hammers.

NEWSPAPERS: Upper management is dumber than a box of hammers.

* * *

HOME DEPOT: Stores located across the country sell merchandise for a fair price.

NEWSPAPERS: Papers across the country give away all the merchandise for free on the Internet (see box of hammers entry above).

* * *

HOME DEPOT: Sells shingles by the case.

NEWSPAPERS: Give employees a case of the shingles from too much anxiety and stress.

* * *

IMG_1097HOME DEPOT: Stores sell a wide varietyendorse of varnishes, paints and stains.

NEWSPAPERS: Are sometimes accused of varnishing the truth, and journalistic reputations could be stained.

* * *

HOME DEPOT: Runs tons of cardboard through a box crusher and makes a profit through recycling.

NEWSPAPERS: Run tons of newsprint through a printing press and make no profit.

* * *

41nD7wVwqpLHOME DEPOT: Sells Hot Shot bug spray.NewspaperReporter*304

NEWSPAPERS: Have at least one prima donna reporter who “don’t write good english,” but still thinks he’s a hot shot.

* * *

HOME DEPOT: Sells many products to make clothes cleaner.

NEWSPAPER: Simply takes its employees to the cleaner.

IMG_1095

So there you have it, and to my many friends still toiling in the Fourth Estate, maybe it’s time to consider working for a place that has enough material on hand to build a fifth, sixth and even a seventh estate.

Don’t despair, my friends. There’s life after journalism, and it might involve gnomes!

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5 Comments

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  1. Nicely done, Glenn. As I live less than half a mile from a Lowe’s, and just two miles from a Home Depot, I might just be following in your footsteps next year sometime.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant. Could not have said it better. I love my little pipeline magazine

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hilarious, accurate and succinct, as usual. Proud to call you my brother in law.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Debbie Farrisi July 31, 2014 — 2:40 pm

    I l ove a good hardware store, especially the old rusty crusty ones. Ever been to the one in Blairstown? Hope its still there. I also like a newspaper, but prob . wouldn’t like working at one.

    Like

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