Have you ever went to a job interview and one of the questions is “how do you handle deadlines?” The first time that happened to me, I had to really sit and think about it. And, I’m quite sure I answered “Oh, I’m good at them.” Or something along those lines. I had NO IDEA. None, zip, zilch. I came from a credit union background. Quite literally grew up in the credit union environment, so to speak. My grandmother was the manager of a credit union in Lewiston, Idaho for many years. She actually helped form it with the support of other nurses and doctors at St. Joseph’s Hospital. I remember quite fondly spending time with her in her ‘closet’ at the hospital way back then. That was the space alotted her when the credit union was formed. But, hey, that is a story for another day, so it will have to wait.
The day I walked into the Clearwater Tribune in Orofino, Idaho for a job interview was a day I’ve never forgotten. I had left the credit union position I had held for several years for something new and exciting. My aunt literally dropped her jaw when I walked in and told her I had quit. “You are the Assistant Manager of Orofino Credit Union and you have a young daughter, you quit your job???” Yes, ma’am. I did. She was an employee of the Idaho Employment Department, so I had no doubt she would find me a job. And a job, she definitely found me.
Cloann McNall owned the newspaper back then. She was raised in a newspaper family, but had recently taken over the Tribune full time after getting it in a divorce. She asked me a few questions, but the one that stuck out was about deadlines. Well, heck, I can handle deadlines. I managed to get the monthly deadlines done at my previous job and had for years. She told me “I guess you can try it and see if you like it.” I was hired to work one day a week typing up the newspaper. On an ancient computer that only showed you four or five words. Once it returned to the next line, there was nothing you could do about it.
I sat there that first day, cutting out lines of type to ‘paste’ over my mistakes. And I had to get it done quickly because we ‘had a deadline.’ Oh my. I learned a couple of things that day, but the biggest lesson was to not make mistakes. That deadline looming line didn’t mean so much if you weren’t sitting there cutting out lines of type while others waited on you. I also learned that a weekly newspaper deadline was ALOT different than a monthly one. And that one day a week job I took? That one day might be 8 hours on a slow week, or 23.5 hours on a disastrous week. Believe me, over the course of 30 plus years – I’ve done both. I’ve had pressmen standing over my computer telling me they would run a blank page if I didn’t get something figured out. And yes, it actually happened one time at an Oregon newspaper, but thankfully I wasn’t working that night.
I can’t tell you how many deadlines have come and gone in my publishing career. Way too many to count I’m sure. But one thing is for sure. It’s deadline week again here at All Things Country Magazine. I guess you could say I kind of like deadlines since they are still are part of my life. If you, by any chance, would like to be included in the November edition of All Things Country Magazine, just let me know. I’d love to include you!
Have a great Monday, wherever you may be.