Crawling under desks, I tried to trace the cable back to where it started. I’d been on my hands and knees most of Thursday morning, sweating as I tried to figure out internet connectivity issues in an empty cubicle.
Why, exactly, was I here right now? What makes an editor with a journalism degree scoot around trying to make connections work, I wondered.
“And other duties, as assigned by supervisor,” I thought, smirking.
This common line is at the bottom of my job description and I suspect yours, too.
It’s an exciting time to be in the workforce. If you’re willing to show your special skills, employers are willing to help you use them.
I’ve been part of dozens of reporter hirings in the last 25 years. The one thing I know is the person I think I meet when I interview someone isn’t the complete person I get. It’s who they think you want to meet that day.
You don’t know what adjacent skills they might have. You can try to figure it out with your questions, but you never really know until you’ve worked with someone.
I’ve worked with reporters who prove to have amazing spreadsheet skills. Some take amazing photographs. Others have great ideas on how to illustrate a story so the public can see what they can do. None of them listed that kind of information when applying.
In my case, I have a knack for technology. I can usually figure out how to solve a problem, or at least what to Google to fix it. It’s not the same as an IT professional, but I can do a passable job getting necessary tasks done.
We learned this week we’re moving our newsroom from the west side of our building on Elida Road toward the main entrance on the east side. That meant looking through a mostly unused area and figuring out what we needed to do to make sure our phones and computers would work flawlessly when we move them later this week.
Our publisher, who sometimes calls me our part-time IT guy, didn’t even have to ask me. Everyone in the room knew who’d be making the technical part of this move happen.
It’s proving to be a challenge. Many of those network connections were disconnected. Methodically, I’ve got most of them working again and expect to have the remaining hiccups solved before anyone changes locales.
I’ve heard some people talk about hiding their special skills at work. There’s a fear if you show them, you might have to use them. That philosophy saddens me. I find work to be more joyful when I’m able to use all my God-given gifts, not just the few I might’ve listed on my resume.
I’ve been able to find some newsroom shortcuts, turning several hours of typing the weekly court records we request into a 10-minute conversion process so people can see them. I built our system for requesting a photographer’s presence at an event, too. And, oh yeah, I still work with reporters to make sure they’re covering the right news, which is more clearly defined as my job.
So, sure, I wasn’t expecting to crawl under desks, tracing cables back to their sources Thursday. I’m glad I’ve proven I have the skills and temperament to make it happen, though. There are no dull days at work when your mind is fully engaged.