Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Making Moves

I'm tired of moving.

In the last nine months, I've moved five times. At least this time, I won't be moving far. My next place is down the hall and to the left.

Yesterday, I was informed I'll be reassigned to another bureau, where I'll cover my fifth town since I've been in this teeny state. One of the other reporters is leaving so we were all waiting to see who would take his place in West Bay. I just never in a million years figured it would be me.

It is a promotion of sorts, without the money, of course. In my new bureau, I'll cover one town whereas now, I cover three. My new town is one of the more high profile cities in the state, with issues of an impending casino and lots of ties to Rhode Island politicos. And the section I'll be writing for is one of the most circulated in the state. My boss told me to take it as a compliment: it means they know I can handle parachuting into communities, smoothing relations with prickly sources and cover a community well. And they believe I'll do well on this beat, which as time goes on, will prove to be important to the Rhode Island economy.

The move is a good thing.

So, why aren't I happy?

Maybe it's because it seems every few months, I get uprooted. As soon as I feel I have a handle on my beat, know the major players and actually get people to start calling me with tips, my municipality changes. When I began here in October, I covered two towns. When our bureau moved in March, I was reassigned a new town and public safety in a city, and one of my old towns was stripped from me. I was just digging in deep, preparing for a major project on my public safety beat when I was told I'd be moving down the hall and to the left; my new town 45 minutes away from my old one.

As a new reporter, it's hard enough moving to a new state hundreds of miles away from everything you know. I'll admit it: I get attached to my communities. I smile at vacation stories from the police chief. I inquire about the town administrator's well-being when he has oral surgery. I don't even have to introduce myself when I call the town clerk's office - they know my voice.

In the absence of the things I know and love, I adopted the cares of my beat to fill that void. And now I have to let this beat go and refill the void with something new, yet again.

This is really getting old.

I remember something my boss said to me when I was first hired: "It'll take at least three months before you feel you really have a hold of your beat, like you know what you're doing and you feel comfortable there."

She was right. Too bad I've barely passed the three month mark on any assignment before I've been uprooted. Though I am slightly pissed about being moved yet again, I think another reason I'm upset is that I'll have to leave my bureau. Even though I'm only going down the hall, I'll be the new kid, once again. At least here I had a tanch of seniority. I was comfortable with the people I worked with. I trust them. I know them. I LIKE them.

And now I have to start all over.

I know it won't be bad. It can't be. I'll do some great journalism and I'll make friends. But, I think, as soon as I do, I'll probably be moved again. And again. And again.

"Anything you want to say about the move," my boss asked me after giving me my new assignment.

I glanced at the notes I was scratching on the pad I'd brought with me. I raised my head to meet her gaze across the mahogany desk.

"There's not really anything for me to say," I said. "The decision has been made. I'll be in West Bay. And I'll make the best of it."

Today, I ordered my third reprint of business cards. In two weeks, I'll file the unfinished box from my current beat in my top drawer, next to my old cards, in front of the packing tape.

Posted by T Dot at 10:43 AM | link

Read or Post a Comment

I feel ya on this one. I have been able to focus on business and health as my beat since my senior year of undergrad (3 yrs ago). And wherever my first job is, I'm sure this will not be the case and I know I just gotta take what they give me and roll with it.

Posted by Blogger Vdizzle @ 12:25 PM, July 19, 2006 #

Consider this sad story:

A reporter we hired three months ago was also just told by our boss they were switching her beat. They sent her to our Marco Island bureau, which is our version of Guantanamo. I saw her at a party last weekend and she was stumbling all over the place bewailing how she got "banished" and now she has an hour commute.

So basically, this is exactly what did not you. You got promoted and they put you some place better because you've done well and they want to see just how many feet you're going to clear the next hurdle with.

So I'm gonna tell you to smile like you mean it, or at the very least, stop the sniffles and go do your thing.

Posted by Anonymous J-Bizzle @ 3:44 PM, July 19, 2006 #

Dang, J. Thanks for the story. Yeah, I'm definitely taking it as a compliment because I'm not being stuck in St. Elsewhere, but somewhere, deep inside, there's a feeling of doom. What if I fall flat on my face? What if I can't perform? What if I just suck?

But I guess there's no time for that. Back to my clip research I go: I have a new beat to learn.

Posted by Blogger T Dot @ 6:02 PM, July 19, 2006 #
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