Saturday, February 28, 2009


Rhia's Mum and I spent part of this afternoon putting the first new coat of paint on the room that was an office/sewing room for the first several months we've lived here and will soon be Petey's room. Through the past week we (mostly Rhia) have sorted through drawers and boxes, dismantled shelves and moved desks. Once the painting is done (it will be a lovely sea green-blue), we'll set up the crib, move in a dresser and a beautiful rocking chair.

More than the colour of the walls has been changing this week. When I wrote not that long ago about how Petey would be born into a world where a black guy had always been president of the United States, I assumed he'd also be born into a world where his Dad was a newspaper man--a mild-mannered reporter.
That's not true anymore.
On Monday, I signed and handed in the papers to accept a buyout from The Herald.
I didn't want to work there anymore. It kind of shocks me to say that, because up until about a month ago, I loved my job.
I really loved my job. I think it's important work. I know I was good at it. It thrilled me and made my heart race. I loved the people I worked with, both in the office and outside.
I'm an old-fashioned guy, and I happily and naively imagined I'd do this job in this place for many years. I know by walking away, I'm basically walking away from the profession. That's really torn me up.
But really, the job that I loved is already gone.
None of that at all is the fault of the people I work with directly, but it's become a miserable place to be and I imagine it will stay that way for some time.
Some people are getting laid off. I wasn't on that list at the beginning. There's a chance I might not have ended up on it, but by going voluntarily, I'll spare the job of someone else who still wants to be there.
A big part of my decision was the way this has all cast a black cloud over what have otherwise been the happiest days I've ever known.
Talking to a friend the other night, I was saying I have a very low tolerance for being miserable or for seeing others in misery, being treated badly. He joked that that was from lack of experience. It's true: all my life, wonderful things have fallen into my lap and I've seen very few hard times. That's not been the case for him.
There were a couple moments this week when I thought, maybe I'm just too sensitive--I should be able to live with some despair and it shouldn't bother me so deeply to see others made so unhappy. That will all pass.
But I quickly shake my head and think--why would I want to be a person like that?
What kind of role model would I be for Petey if I trudged in every day to a job I no longer cared about, to an office I dreaded being in and a place where I just got used to seeing my friends weep?
I can't let "them" do that to me.
I owe it more to my unborn son to be happy than to be employed.

Having made my decision, I feel a weight off my shoulders. You can see, in the second photo where I've cracked the President's Choice dealcoholized sparkling rose, I'm happy.
I'll land in another job soon in enough. And in the meantime, I'll be more than happy to spend some time with Rhia and Petey.
And I'll have six years' worth of great stories to tell him about his dad, the newspaper man.


barb janes said...

Hi John,
Your proud dad sent me the link to your blog. Way to go! Your and Rhia's happiness is your best gift to Petey.
Look forward to meeting y'all when your next in the 'Peg.
barb janes


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