Sitting at my desk in this familiar building, I watch the cursor blink about 100 times.
Next week is my last week of work at The Daily Mining Gazette, and I feel like I have so much to say but cannot find the words. I'm overjoyed and extremely anxious to welcome the newest addition to our family, but I'm not so excited about leaving the newspaper.
I'll begin with an unfortunate incident I cross paths with from time to time. My husband and I will be in line at the post office, or perhaps we're having dinner at a local restaurant when our ears perk up and we hear someone badmouthing the Gazette.
Zach usually has to hold me back from becoming "Stacey from the Block," when it's like I'm from the city and I'm about to tell that individual just how I feel. But I'm reminded everyone is entitled to their own opinion, no matter how crooked I think it is.
You see, as I sit here and write this, I sit in silence. Behind me, my co-workers work diligently on their assignments. Some are waiting... and waiting... and waiting for a call back for a story and some are burying their heads in their hands because it's only 10 a.m., we've been here since 6 and we're hungry.
I, too, am overwhelmed this week. There's just too much to get done in the short time I have left. This week is "meeting week" - the week traditionally full of meetings to cover and places to be. Meeting week includes very late nights and super early mornings. During the day, I'm lucky if I can get home to greet my dog. My nights are consumed with dreams of the contentious meetings I just left, where all of a sudden, I'm sitting in Ontonagon, actually part of the school board and my only transportation home is by train.
It isn't the most rewarding job, but it's what I've wanted to do since I was a little tyke. Every morning, the cycle starts over and I just hope my superiors understand why I look like the walking dead.
The point is, these writers work hard and their work is on display for the public to judge. You need to have thick skin in this business. Sure, we can't diagnose illnesses like doctors, we can't rule a courtroom and I'd never let one of us cut another's hair - but these writers are trained and educated like so many others. We attended universities and live under a mountain of student loan debt. We often meet with sources on the weekends and give out our personal cell numbers just in case a source will call before midnight.
We're like other working professionals. Most importantly, we're not perfect and we make mistakes. But please don't think we don't dwell on our imperfections.
This is a great product and these writers need to be given a chance. This is a great hometown paper which gives space to a variety of stories, be it a controversial public meeting or a preview for the weekend's events.
I'm bummed I'll no longer have the opportunity to work alongside these handful of individuals I respect. I'm also bummed I'll no longer be able to work with many locals in the community. I love feeling like I matter, if only a small bit, in the community. I enjoy telling your stories and it's been a privilege working with the community. You have left the best impression on me and I'm a better person just because I had the chance to work with you.
But it's time to put "me" aside. Having children means doing something bigger than myself and I'm excited to move on.
I promise, someday I'll be back. I don't know when and I don't know where, but as long as there are stories to be told, I'll be waiting in the wings to help you tell them.
Stacey Kukkonen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.