May 10, 2005


Sometime during my fourth year of college, I came to the realization that my pursuit of a teaching/English degree just wasn't my bag.

The English part was my bag, mind you; I've always just had an innate grasp of English, probably because my mother is an English teacher, so I was brought up in a household that tut-tutted me whenever I said "can I" when I should have said "may I," and the word "ain't" was frowned upon like dog poop on new carpet.

It was the teaching angle that I couldn't accept. I entered college with a nebulous idea of what I wanted to be, so I just kind of glommed onto the career my parents had chosen. Then, one day, as I sat in class and gave a smarmy response to a professor, it dawned on me: I don't want to teach entire classes filled with students who are exactly like myself.

So, in the early months of my fourth year of college, I switched gears and started to pursue a degree that best matched up with the credits I had already earned. As luck would have it, that degree was mass communications/journalism.

I always had an ability to write, a skill I learned to hate during high school, because everyone kept asking me to write papers and book reports for them. It wasn't until college, when I realized I could charge $20 or so per paper, that I started to understand that being able to write could actually earn me money.

So, journalism and I just kind of found each other by accident. I had English and writing strengths, and those happened to be core components of journalism. Go figure. Sure, it meant a fifth year of college, but whatever.

As if by fate, during the early winter months of my fifth year of college, one of my roommates started banging a news editor of the local daily newspaper, the Winona Daily News. Come November, she mentioned to me that the paper was looking for a newbie reporter to write obituaries, police reports and other menial reporting duties. It was a three day a week job, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., at $5.25 an hour.

Since then, I've been a writer. I write copy. It's what I'm good at. It's what I'm comfortable with. I research, I interview, and I write. I'm not particularly organized, and I'm terrible at managing people. I've traditionally been a loner going all the way back to high school. When I had to work in a group in college, I'd often tell the other group members that I'd do everything, because I was the only one I trusted to get things done. Not surprisingly, they were fine with that.

Now, suddenly, I find myself in this managing editor position, a position that simply doesn't play to any of my strengths and exposes all of my weaknesses. I'm supposed to manage people I've never met, and keep on them about getting me articles. I'm supposed to plan magazine content, and stay meticulously organized along the way. In other words, I'm completely out of my element here, and there's apparently nothing I can do about it.

In short, I'm stressed the fuck out.

Not that anyone really should care about any of this. I'm just sayin'.

Posted by Ryan at May 10, 2005 10:22 AM

Just remember, you can't spell taint, without aint.

Posted by: David Grenier at May 10, 2005 10:53 AM

Dude...I'm so feeling your pain right now. Seriously.

Posted by: Lily at May 10, 2005 11:09 AM

Embrace the pointy hair.

Posted by: Doug at May 11, 2005 12:53 AM

Dude, that really sucks! The management position and all. I was just offered the Fitness Program Manager at my job and turned that shite down, because "hell no," was I going to be in that same very position where just about all your weakness'(error?) are exposed.

Not me. And by the way, don't feel too bad about the fifth year of school and figuring out your fourth year was the year you decided you didn't want to teach.'s taking me 8 fricken years and I'm not even done yet. For some reason I've been riding my junior year out now for at least 5 years. I think it has to do with not knowing what the hell I should do? ...that stresses me out, but that's another story for another time, and better yet, perhaps on my own blog. ;)

I won't even tell you how many times I've had to take English 101 and can't pass it. I get too frustrated and quit.

Anyway, laugh the last two paragraphs up, please, be my guest I can laugh too. Hang in there buddy. You'll be just fine. And yeah...I care.

Posted by: Desult at May 11, 2005 01:27 AM

Not that anyone really should care about any of this.

I certainly don't. Show me your butt.

Posted by: Joshua at May 11, 2005 10:10 AM

i'd be happy to come over there and do all your admin/managing while you edit away.... i like bossing people around.

Posted by: leblanc at May 11, 2005 02:39 PM

at least you have someone waiting at home to bang every night. =)

p.s. count me in on 2 of the previous comments...

1.) "Show me your butt."
2.) "i'd be happy to come over...i like bossing people around."


Posted by: joseph at May 11, 2005 10:25 PM

Thirds on the butt comment.

And it took me seventeen years to get my ass into the proper career field. Graduated high school in 1980, finally earned my BS in 1997.

Posted by: Keith at May 12, 2005 12:12 PM

After reading the last few comments, I can't help thinking that you've begun to acquire a sort of "gay icon" status. Congrats on that. And here I thought the dirty mushroom functioned purely as a comic device. Instead, it's turned you into The Poor Man's Beckham.

Posted by: Etienne at May 12, 2005 08:31 PM

Are you old enough to remember The Peter Principle? A bestseller back in the day, shortly after Noah's flood. I think I've got the title right, but I may have mixed up my 1970's bestsellers.

The premise: People are promoted as long as they're successful, and then because they're successful, they're promoted one more time, and then they're STUCK THERE in the position for which they are NOT suited. Run, Ryan! Run for your life!

Posted by: Frances at May 18, 2005 09:09 PM
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