THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

Little scared and lots excited

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It could be a year or slightly more of full-time, and maybe a few more months after that or none of part-time. The days of working for someone else will be over. I’ve been really excited about that time, but at moments I do get a little scared.

Is the timing right? Will we have enough? How will it be going from private insurance to Medicare and all the add ons needed? Will my better half kill me being around the house all the time? Will I become lazy? Will I lose that mental sharpness that my job keeps me at?

Will I suffer withdrawal from that daily newspaper excitement my job brings in an industry I’ve worked the last 46 years in? Certainly, the work relationships will change but will they also survive. I’ve worked mainly for 2 companies in those decades. I have some wonderful friendships from each to this day.

They said it was a daily newspaper when they hired me. They neglected to tell me how many days they cram into each week. Photo by Mike Hartley

In some ways retiring from my industry will be a double-edged sword. I love the prestige of working for what I believe to be excellent journalistic institutions on local, national, and international levels. I feel honored to have been supporting their efforts and the people that make such wonderful contributions to inform, enlighten, educate, make you think, laugh and cry. And so much more. They help you understand issues and to explain and find ways out of very difficult and complex problems that face both our local communities and the world overall. Is there success at every turn they take, no but tell me something else in the world that is perfect?

From the first day in it, I was addicted to the newspaper business. It’s been a very fun, stressful, rewarding, enlightening, educational, and joyous experience. Did I bitch about it along the way, hell yeah, every job has its ups and downs, good and bad management cycles, opportunities taken and some passed. But I know I will miss it.

This is an illusion. Newsrooms never sleep. Photo by Mike Hartley.

For the majority of my professional life, I have been on-call. That will also be something to adapt to. Will I suddenly feel no longer needed? Hell NO. It will be great. I’ll just hand my on-call schedule over to my kids to make for me when they need help with my grandchildren.

And then the time adjustment. As Keith Jackson (old football announcer) would say, Whoa Nellieeeee. I keep the most insane hours now. Will I adjust and go back to a life that others consider normal or will I be pulling a few all-nighters a week as I do now and on other days starting before sunrise?

All kinds of questions about change. Not any minor change either. Two of my best friends will be working another year or two probably after I retire. I’ll have to resist my urge to tease them about having to go to work. Then again I plan on being very busy so I probably won’t even think of it. Well yeah, maybe a few digs here and there will come.

Oh yeah, I forgot to elaborate on the other side of that double-edged sword. Like I said it’s been a wonderful career. Throughout it, the feeling was an asset to the community. Yes, people have always felt differently about opinion sections and politics. Some to the point of being mad and making threats. But those were the exceptions. But most thought it an honest endeavor.

Now it’s serious and growing worse. I do know significant steps for security started 6-7 years ago and haven’t lessened. When a President comes out and calls your industry “the enemy of the American people” it kind of puts you in a difficult position because a lot of people interpret comments like that literally. And to be totally honest I haven’t felt too comfortable in the last few years because of people’s hostility.

So for the first time ever I’m careful about sharing where I work when I meet people. I don’t wear my free company swag as much outside. And that is kind of weird. But it’s a changing world. Who knows, maybe this simple blog will incite someone. I hope not. But it is a chance now when you express any opinion.

So with the time remaining, I’m going to try and savor the final few curves (months/years) in the roller coaster. I’m going to try to pass on what knowledge I haven’t yet. I’m going to look around, shake some hands, give a few strong hugs and express thanks to some key people for the opportunities and joy of working with them.

And on that last day, I think I’ll make a zig-zag home. I’ll leave my current downtown office, I’ll stop by the old Post location at 15th street NW. Then over to the printing plant in Springfield Va and on the way back a stop by Tysons Corner where the old data center used to be. Maybe a ride further west where the current one is. Over to College Park where the old printing plant once was. I’ll swing by the Flier building in Columbia, and then to Ellicott City where I started at 18 years old at the TImes building on Main Street. I’ll walk down to the bottom of the hill to the old stone building just before you cross the bridge when 3 of us started a newspaper from scratch.

Each location holds many special people and many special memories. One day you’re leaving high school wondering what you want to do, what you want to be and you blink your eyes, and you’re in eyeshot of the finish line. But it’s time to explore a career I thought about having before I embarked on one in Newspapers. But as the bumper sticker says below says, I will ALWAYS Love the smell of newsprint in the morning.

A bumper sticker I can Support. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • There is no time at day or night that a cold Coke doesn’t taste good.
  • Sometimes when I look back now I wonder how I kept so many phone numbers of people in my head before smartphones came out.
  • Like a bear who came out of hibernation early, I have an attitude about the cold today.
  • I really dislike spiders. And I belive they know it.
  • I’m starting to get concerned about the number of memorial mass cards I’m finding in my office.

Author: Mike Hartley

With a lifetime and a half in the Newspaper industry I'm preparing for my retirement career as an Artist, Writer, Photographer and Video content provider. I'm a proud father of two wonderful children and I'm still married to the first girl I fell in love with and probably only one that would have me.

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