Change in the corporate house |

Change in the corporate house

Don Rogers

Thunk. That a glass ceiling I just tapped?The company has made some moves, like checkers. Publisher in Grand Junction moves on. Publisher in Glenwood jumps to fill the gap in Grand Junction. Advertising director in Vail covers the publisher opening in Glenwood. The advertising director position opens in Vail. Meantime, the general manager of the dozen or so Swift newspapers in the Colorado mountain region, including the Vail Daily, has found doubling as our publisher a load too heavy for the long haul. We have another opening.The newsroom sits in the eye of this swirl. We catch whiffs of gossip, to be sure. But none of it really concerns us. So we blithely chase our news stories as always, amid a world of real jobs working at the fun end of the business.Hey, the Vail Resorts crew down the road in Avon is busy packing. Ford Motor Co. is shedding jobs by the tens of thousands. Imagine being a Realtor in the Vail Valley with more of your kind than homes to sell. I’m not complaining. This is life. Change happens. But I can’t help but compare today with life at a slightly larger paper in upstate New York nearly a decade ago. I had the best job in the plant, as I do now. Then the publisher accepted an offer in Montana, leaving her position open.This is a cycle-of-life tale. I’m an observer at root. Of life around me, of my own reactions, impulses, finer qualities and most especially my flaws. No shortage of those.But I’m a stronger, wiser editor than I was a decade ago. Hands down. So why, then, did the powers that be at a similar company to this one automatically put me in contention for publisher of a bigger paper with just one other candidate, while that would be the very last thing my current employers would consider?I’m the same somewhat maverick, all too curmudgeonly crank I was then. I have a bad habit of challenging authority, of not accepting handed-down wisdom at face value. If I were Moses, I’d edit the 10 Commandments and tell God to try again. I’m too pugnacious for my own good. I’m competitive to a fault, and I do mean fault.This is not a bitter recounting of rue at being passed over for advancement. I’ve been clear that I work very hard to avoid holding a real job. And publisher is a real job, full of pressures and challenges that hold little interest for me. I’m vaguely depressed, frankly, by commerce and glad-handing. Life is too precious to waste in such trivial pursuits. Even if that makes you fabulously wealthy, I find it … cheap.For me, journalism is the stuff. Nothing teaches you more about more things in real-life circumstances. It’s also addictive.Better money doesn’t tempt me enough to want to take on the publisher’s challenges. I can tell you honestly that I can never remember what I’m paid – although my wife can, to the penny, with a frown and a bit of fire flashing in her eyes if I am too cavalier about this admission.It’s not lack of confidence, either. I’m absolutely certain I would prove out to be the best publisher the Daily has ever had. And this paper has had very good ones, the best I’ve ever worked with. I may not be entirely correct about my abilities, but not from lack of belief. No, what I lack is passion for the role beyond a low, rank competitive streak.Still, I haven’t changed so much. What has? How did I go from automatic entry to not even an afterthought? Different company, different culture, certainly. The previous family company I worked for was less overtly corporate, the papers much farther flung and more independent from each other. There were pros and cons to that. Overall I’d choose Vail over the San Diego and upstate New York papers where I toiled for my previous employers.I didn’t get the job in 1998, in part because I confessed my lack of passion for it, and in part because the owner understood I also lacked business knowledge. He offered to send me to school. I wound up accepting an editing job across the country with the same company at a much larger paper. I think I took the higher road, but who knows? I chose my path with eyes wide open. It’s the right one for me.I also aged. Youngish 40-year-old now calcified at 48. From job hopping even ahead of the J curve for learning to settling into the greatest lifestyle imaginable. Now it’s about the kids more than us, about finally giving them a sense of place. Besides, the snowboarding isn’t so bad.All this is to say that life changes on you. I’d read about the adult phases, the seeking phase, the advancement phase, the point where the helium begins to leak. And how that rise that once seemed so inevitable can slow, stop, even sink. But this is the first I’ve felt a thunk. I’m still inflated with ambition, if in a different direction than the business side of the business. We’ve got a ton yet to accomplish in this newsroom. I’m still fired up. And I’m not so old, either. Thinking about it, I’m young yet, young enough to still feel a knock to my ego. Hah! That’s no ceiling, just me. Besides, where there’s a ceiling there also are windows and doors to bust out. Managing Editor Don Rogers can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14600, or editor@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado

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