Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Monday, September 07, 2009

A last chance?

So a few weeks back, I was getting ready to pull the plug on writing as a career. This blog seems to just be tilting at windmills. If the point isn't to have a career, why spout off about sports? The web is filled with people's takes, there is no real reason for mine.

So of course an opportunity presented itself. My brother is a D-III college basketball coach. He heard that a daily paper in his county had an opening for a sportswriter. He dropped off my resume and a few of my sports sections.

I drove out there for a interview. Now this paper is a six-day a week paper. There is no Sunday edition so Saturday is an off day well except when there is sports and that would be every Saturday. They only cover four high schools and sometimes the college. The high schools are all small so they don't even field teams in many sports. It sounded like a one person job and they already had a sports editor. But they insisted they needed another person. Now this paper doesn't do it's own layout so the deadline is 3pm so they can ship it out to sister paper that does it. So every game would be in the paper two days later. The sports editor seemed like a nice kid but maybe a little over his head at 23 years old. The rest of the staff was an editor and two news writers. Basically they had two pages of local news, a page or two of local sports and editorial page. The rest being AP filler. They charge 75 cents a paper and the editor wants to start charging for online content. I didn't like his chances for that to work. It was small town USA and that's OK but it would be a huge change for a city boy. The editor bragged about their world class arena located across the street. He said they got world class acts all the time. I asked like who? He said 38 Special was playing there tomorrow and he was going to get to interview the band. I have nothing against 38 Special but let's just say I wasn't impressed. I would be in for some culture shock. The pay was for less than $10 a hour. I would be expected to work every day and spread 40 hours over the seven days. I would rather work long hours and get a day or two off every week. I would never be able to go home for a weekend. I asked about working Sundays. If I wasn't an editor and we did no layout why would I have to come into the office on Sunday. Or if I did - could I come in early get my work done so I could watch the Browns on Direct TV? The answer was basically I had to come in Sundays so the editor could take the day off. I would be expected to do his job on Sundays. Which would mean sitting and waiting for other people to send in stories so I could forward them to someone else.

Now that sounds like a big bag of suck. But in this economy a job is a job especially if it is in your chosen field. If I worked hard, crashed at my brother's to save money, maybe I could use this job as starting point for a climb back up the ladder. Maybe those ignoring my resume now would see the daily experience and give me a look.

They told me they would let me know by Friday. So that deadline passed and Monday afternoon I went on a long bike to clear my head and of course they called then. The young sports editor chose his words like I was on a reality show and built up to what he wanted to say. They were pleased to extend me the job.

Now I was out of breath but I could tell he was disappointed I didn't accept instantly. I thanked him and asked to talk to the editor. I told him this was a big decision and I needed some time. He said I could have until Thursday.

Now despite all the shortcomings of the job, it was a job. So I felt like I had to take it. But I had a gnawing thought about the editor. Something didn't feel right about him. It was hard to quantify. I worried that maybe my anxiety about moving away from friends and family to a lonely land of corn fields was just coloring my Spidey Sense about him.

Tuesday morning I sent an email to him. In all the excitement I realized he had never told me about the benefits. He glossed over in the interview saying there were other people who could tell me about that later. My email basically just said please have someone email me the benefit package. I figured no days off for little pay would be easier to accept with having health insurance.

Wednesday morning I got an email in reply. They decided to rescind my job offer. I could only laugh. I am just glad I confirmed his character before I moved there. I just wondered if that innocent question cost me my final shot to work as a journalist.

So that leaves me here in Cleveland with my Sundays open to watch the Browns. As for blogging here, I don't know. I just don't want to keeping writing the same thing everyone else does. I mean who really cares who I think the Browns starting quarterback should be. Seems like spitting in the wind. I need a challenge.