Friday, May 25, 2012

The big myth

Here's the myth about school breaks and my job: It will be quieter, you won't have to teach class and you'll get "caught up."

This is now my fourth school break in this job (Thanksgiving, Christmas, spring break and now summer). And every time I fall for the lie. I make a long list of things I want to get done work-wise, and before I know it the break is over and I haven't crossed off a single thing on my list. Yes, summer is longer, and I will actually get time away from daily production. But when I'm involved in production, it will be crazier than it is during a normal semester.

There are students in the newsroom during the summer. There are a lot of eager reporters, and a new batch of copy editors starting next week. But this also means we've hit the reset button, and there's a lot of teaching and training to do. After a bit of grumbling about this on my part, a co-worker said to me, "It's still the first week of the semester." I replied, "The problem with the first week of the semester is that it comes right after the end of the semester." In other words, as soon as you get a crew well-trained, you have to start from scratch and the juxtaposition of those things is hard.

But because we have fewer students, there's more time that I'm the only person on the copy desk. I'm working mostly dayside shifts, and I don't have students to delegate to. As I realized this week, I am pretty ADD at work, jumping between several different things, and if someone asks for help on something, it'll take hours for me to get back to what I was doing. But when you have students you can delegate to, it's easier to see things get accomplished, and I can focus on one thing at a time.

Basically what I am saying is that this week I have felt completely scattered and crazy busy. And that summer work to-do list is looking overly ambitious.

But in three weeks I will be in Ireland completely disconnected!

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