this looks totally nothing like us

As captured by the pencil blog, we see Jen Noblit’s impression of Seth Teter’s impression of print journalists:


As the legend goes, in the year 2006, a group of journalists were gathered at a quaint home in Clintonville chatting fondly of work, life and love when Teth Seter, a non-journalist, proceeded to take a long drag off an imaginary cigarette, barking “F#*%!ing …City Council…” Stunned, the group decided that he looked absolutely nothing like us.

We’re a notoriously underpaid and endearing bunch, aren’t we?

Now, we’re being asked to do more. Newspapers, I’ve been told, have been plagued with staff cutbacks. The Dispatch once could pay people to sit in a room all day to comb through documents, or so a similar legend goes, but nowadays, we’re expected to be accurate by instinct, not by, say, taking the time to double-check the facts.

Inspiring facts from E&P:

  • Media employment in December fell to a 15-year low at 886,900, “slammed by the slumping newspaper industry,” reports. “Since media employment peaked in dot-com-infused 2000, media companies have eliminated one in six jobs (167,600).”
  • “The big problem is newspapers,” which account for half (82,800) of media jobs lost since 2000. One in four newspaper jobs have disappeared since newspaper employment peaked in 1990.

So two items have emerged this week that have made me smile:

One, from Jaydubs, a crack-like addictive find/whinefest, (only nine days old!) including two that sum up this profession perfectly:

Angry Journalist #283:

Do I have act like an asshole to convince my newsroom that a human interest story about first-time marathoners is at least as important as the f*@%ing beagle story that is a week old!!!


Angry Journalist #294:

I should have gone to refrigeration school.


The second is from the Farrago, who shares an article outlining indicators that you work at a lousy job. This one doesn’t actually apply to me, but it’s a fun game for everyone else out there with lousy jobs:

Here are six true-life signs that you shouldn’t stick around at your new job.

1. You ask your new boss for supplies and she hands you a No. 2 pencil and legal pad — and nothing else. Not every company has the budget to give you an expense account, a BlackBerry and a cutting-edge laptop, but you should be equipped with the tools necessary to perform your job. A company experiencing financial troubles might be so stingy with supplies that you spend more time worrying about the company books than working.

2. You were shown to a cubicle your first day of work, given a company manual and haven’t spoken to anyone since. Any good employer trains new hires during their first few days on the job. Although you might have years of experience, each company has its own procedures and expectations that you won’t magically know without some instruction. From the first day, your new employer should make it clear that you have a network of support ready to help you and answer any questions.

3. You get the same reaction every time you tell someone about your new job and employer: Raised eyebrows and “Really? … Good luck with that.” You know better than to believe gossip, but sometimes a company’s reputation speaks too loudly to ignore. If friends, colleagues and people in the industry consistently give negative feedback about the company, there’s probably a legitimate reason. At the start of your job search, research which companies have the best reputations and which have the worst.

4. After two weeks on the job, you are already halfway to becoming the employee with the most seniority. One of the reasons the country’s top companies have employees who have been around for years is that people will stay where they’re appreciated and treated well, and they’ll leave when they’re not. “I joined a firm in St. Louis and learned that the company had seven other employees come and go in the past year,” says Sarah, a public relations executive. “What’s worse is that it was only a five-person operation. That should have been the first sign that the company was not a great place to work.”

5. You answer the phone while the company’s secretary is away from her desk and find that the voice at the other end is a collection agency calling for the third time that week. While this sounds unbelievable, this actually happened to one worker, who said other employees at the company were eventually instructed to not answer the phones. “It became a joke with all of us,” she says. “We used to run out and cash our checks as soon as we got paid and were always afraid that they were going to bounce!” If you see any signs that your company is in real financial or legal trouble, don’t wait for layoffs; get your résumé back out on the market.

6. You notice that every day for the last week, at least one person has run crying from your boss’s office. Not every boss is the kind of person you want to be best friends with, but you should show each other respect. If you can’t have a conversation with your boss without being yelled at, don’t feel obligated to stick around. A good company uses open communication, not fear and intimidation, to get results.

It may take a few days, weeks or even months to realize the new job isn’t right for you. The key is to recognize the signs and leave when you can. If you have a bad gut feeling the first morning you report for work, listen to it. Better to move on than to find yourself still waiting for conditions to improve five years from now.

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