I am breaking a self-imposed rule today by blogging about my job, the reason being made painfully clear. I've made some good friends here over the last two years, so I felt I owed an explanation as to why my blogging has been temporarily interrupted. I hope to come back stronger in the near future.
DaBlade: What's up Jerry, no blog again today? As your alter ego, I demand that you unleash me!
Jerry: Sorry 'Blade, but trust me. You really don't want to possess my skin right now. I'm still a little shell shocked after getting the news Friday that I am one of the latest victims of the continuing decline of the newspaper industry.
DaBlade: How sad. Were you one of them reporter thingys?
Jerry: No, no. Any reader of this blog knows that I don't write for a living, what with your numerous misspellings, overall poor grammar, run on sentences and repeated dangling participle offenses. I must add that your use of "commas" on this blog are like the hands of a nervous teenager in the presence of a pretty girl. "Where do I put them, where do I put them?"
DaBlade: After being whipped fiercely, the cook boiled the egg. I see, what, you mean.
Jerry: I have spent over 30 years on the Circulation (distribution/customer service) side of the business. That's not even counting the 7 years as a contracted newspaper carrier. I started part time in 1979 as a Customer Service Clerk while I went to school. In 1984, I earned a BBA degree with academic honors from The University of Michigan-Flint, School of Management...
DaBlade: Now we can spend our time sitting on the back porch watching the cows playing Scrabble and reading.
Jerry: Will you stop talking in my head with the danglers for a minute? This is serious!
Jerry: In 1985 I was promoted to District Manager; then after a few years I became a Motor Route Manager and then a Zone manger. I was promoted to Circulation Manager in 2001, and finally to Director of circulation in 2005.
DaBlade: Sounds like your paper route just kept getting bigger.
Jerry: If I had been ambitious for ambitions sake, I could have climbed the corporate ladder much more quickly by bouncing from paper to paper. However, I loved every one of my jobs and those who were my coworkers.
DaBlade: No offense, but you must really have sucked at your job for them to let you go.
Jerry: I guess that would depend on who you asked. I know I'm joing an ever-growing list of former newspaper people, most of which are great human beings who are extraordinarily talented. Folks from Editorial, Advertising, Accounting, Circulation, Marketing, Production, and on and on.
DaBlade: Newspapers are dying because they're too liberal, right?
Jerry: No 'Blade, that argument drives me crazy and can be a topic of discussion for another time if you'd like. In my opinion, I do not believe that newspapers are dying, but merely transforming. Of course, this transformation is leaving quite a pile of career corpses.
Jerry: Sorry. The point is, the old model of newspapers is broken. It used to be that the primary function of Circulation was to grow readership. With the additional eyeballs, the Advertising folks would crank up the already confiscatory rates to the advertisers - who would willingly pay this ransom because it drove traffic to their stores.
DaBlade: Ahhh, the circle of life! Just like The Lion King! "Look, Simba. Everything the light touches is our kingdom".
Jerry: Well, not any more, and not for quite some time in fact. It would be a huge understatement to say that the market for news, information and advertising has fragmented after Al Gore invented the internet.
DaBlade: Now what are we going to do?
Jerry: That blog has yet to be written and we'll find that answer out together. With a Freshman and a Senior in high school, and another with a year and a half to go at Notre Dame, I certainly have sufficient motivation. I still have a few weeks to wrap up at the paper though.
DaBlade: Wasn't walking in to work yesterday hard?
Jerry: I was recently asked that very question by a friend of mine, another former newsie. Here was my answer to her:
"Walking in was not so hard. After all, I did nothing wrong. The same could be said of the good folks that I was made to give those papers to from the other side of the table in March. In fact, we kicked ass. An independent market research company (M.O.R.I.) rated us with the 2nd best customer service they ever measured in the U.S.; against all odds my team grew circulation TWO YEARS IN A ROW in 2005 and 2006. Home delivery growth (In Flint, Michigan), I might add. When I was told the company wanted revenue instead of numbers, we gave that too. In a big way. It's tough when all that wasn't enough."
I still have many friends there and I wish them all the best.
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