Wednesday, October 04, 2006
I don't know what it is, but we expect journalists to work long hours writing wonderful stories and to get satisfaction from knowing they're doing their civic duty.
True, the job is it's own reward, but sometimes it's nice to get a little recognition.
A coworker of mine won a category in our paper's in-house writing competition and the next day, I heard nothing in the office of it.
No streamers. No cake. No balloons. Not even a pat on the back and a 'job well done' for the winner.
That just isn't right.
So I figured it was up to me to correct it.
"Hey, guys," I said as I walked to my coworkers on the other side of the room. "You know Barb won the writing contest?"
Nods all around.
"So, I was thinking, wouldn't it be nice to celebrate that win? I'll go get some pastries or something. We can make it a regular thing - whenever one of us wins the contest. I think it'd be a good idea."
Nods all around and the $5 and $10 bills start piling up in my hand.
Leave it to me to start a tradition.
I head out to buy some sweets for our 3 p.m. meeting. I went to the Arcade (the first indoor mall in America) in downtown Providence and scoured the shelves of the bakeries there. I settled on some pastries from the Johnston & Wales bakery and a ribbon-wrapped pack of cookies from another shop, and headed back to the office.
There, I cleaned off the conference table, set up the goodies and printed out the winning story. To the left, I wrote a simple note of congrats and signed it "the West Bay bureau." All I had to wait for now, was for the meeting to start.
The winning reporter was out on assignment and was coming in just in time for the meeting. She walked into the office and peered through the glass doors that enclose our conference room.
"Oh, what's this? Goodies?!" she exclaimed.
Then, a moment later - "THEY'RE FOR ME?!"
A smile crept across my face as I entered the conference room for the meeting. I'm a big fan boosting morale. And for journalists, besides money, there's no bigger morale booster than food.
We started the meeting and munched on the goodies as we talked about our election coverage for the upcoming month. Midway through the conversation, I saw Barb slip the ribbons from the box, and onto her wrist to wear as a corsage.
After deadline, she came over to my desk, and we talked about the celebration. As a newsroom vet, she said she could count the number of times she'd been recognized for a job well done on one hand. The smile on her face told me how much she appreciated what I'd done (she knew it was me because I'm new to the bureau and this sort of thing never happened before).
"Thanks so much for that - it was really sweet," she said before turning away, her ribbon corsage still dangling from her wrist.
You're welcome. continue...