According to the Google Machine, 325 weeks is 6.25 years. I have been writing this column every week for more than six years. You would think I would, over the past six years, run out of witty banter and profundity. (Look it up.) You would, of course, be wrong, as I am clearly dripping with both.
Nearly 25 years ago, I started in this business with dreams of getting rich and changing the world. Not long after that, something called a “bank statement” convinced me to amend my original plan.
Undaunted in my efforts — but now focused solely on world domination — I pressed on. Convinced that the world was simply waiting for the truth and would rally around it without delay, I labored tirelessly in the trenches of the newspaper industry. After about five years, I came to know why Mark Twain had such a low opinion of the newspaper industry. I moved to book publishing and project management.
That lasted about eight years, and in that time I literally heard it all. It was there I heard the famous words, “We are a publishing company. No one will ever buy guns on the internet.” That statement was followed closely by the words, “The internet is the CB radio of the ’90s. It will have no impact on what we do.” During one particularly horrific cover-design-and-approval meeting, an employee who had recently been added to the “Rising Star” program for internal advancement commented on a cover. The book was one I happened to author: 15 Minutes to a Great Puppy. This Rising Star said of the cover, “Those puppies don’t look like they are learning anything.” I still have a knot on my head from where it hit the table.
So I accepted a position on the magazine side of the industry. That seemed to go well enough, but there were some drawbacks. The major drawback was dealing with constant budget cuts. First we reduced the number of pages available for editorial coverage. Then we reduced the overall trim size of the publication. THEN we actually reduced the weight of the paper — four times! In the end, if you held the pages up to the light, you could see through them. Why did we have to cut the budget so often? Because we were losing advertising revenue to all those online stores selling guns.
Then I heard Tim Schmidt was hiring. Suddenly my life was back on track; I was once again ready to change the world. I had seen the lowest of the lows and was certainly ready for the highest of the highs. Without wanting to sound too much like a brown-noser, working here has been amazing. Certainly this job is not without its challenges. One of you wonderful readers said I had “womanly hands” because my Glock cuts my hand. Others have complained that I fail to shave regularly and that my method of reloading a revolver is completely wrong.
Well, guess what? Glock bite is real. I shave more often. I still reload a revolver differently than most (and it works). Where was I going with this? Oh yeah. Changing the world.
I may not be changing the world, but I like to think I am having a little bit of an impact. At the same time, I am learning more than I ever dreamed I could. I’m working with some of the greatest people on the planet. I’m having a whole bunch of fun, and at the end of each day I get to go home knowing that tomorrow will be even better than today.
I’m 325 weeks into this and it feels like this is just the start. What will we work on next?