One year ago today, we all were summoned. Told to report to the Mother Ship. There we would be told, one way or another, if we were to be kept and brought into the digital age, or not. If we were needed, or not. If we were valuable, or not. Necessary, or not. The answer to be revealed in a large white envelope.
One by one we were led to "the slaughter." That is what it was. A slaughter.More than 200 were severed. In more ways than one.
Today we are remembering that day, what it felt like, what it looked like, what it sounded like. The sobs, the tears, the hurt. The anger. Still mourning what we all lost, the greatness that once was. We are revealing what we did after. What we've done since.
Some have been healed, moved on, gotten over it. Some have put themselves back together again. Some have managed to walk away from closed doors and found open windows -- or closed windows and opened doors. Something like that.
Some believe it when we are told we are better off. Some are happy about that. Some are believing the promise of better things. Hoping.
Some are still floundering. Like me.
No. It's not the worst thing in the world, even though at times it feels like it and sometimes I want to have a pity party for myself. And I have had a few of those.
It's no fun what I do now, searching for a job, for a new career, for a new direction at 51. Seeing others do what I should be doing. Not being wanted. Losing faith. Losing confidence. Losing a life, an identity and a career all in one fell swoop. Needing two more stupid points on the stupid math test. And catering to a stubborn, hard-headed 82-year-old mother-in-law with a beeper.
But I still got to write. I gave up my life of crime and returned to sports. I got to go on some amazing new adventures with some great new people, introduced myself to a few new readers, and a few new athletes. Did some good work.
And today, as I began yet another pity party, I got a message from a colleague. One I know mostly by name. One I now will never forget. Because he took the time to tell me this:
"As journalists we often look up to certain people along the way, and you were one of them for me. Obviously this type of message doesn't get you back doing what you'd like and are meant to do, but I felt compelled to share it with you. I always considered you a top-notch pro in your field. Because of people like you I've learned to appreciate every opportunity I'm granted to cover a sporting event or tell an athlete's story. While the circumstances surrounding your departure from the Times Pic was completely unfair, please understand you made a positive impact on some of us whether you knew it or not."
I do now. And it means more to me than anything.
Thank you, my friend, for the anniversary gift.