A new job

This year has been filled with ups and downs, with the bigger share being downs.

One good thing has happened to close out this year, and that is that I have a new job. Actually, it’s not new at all, and that’s what is good about it.

I was hired as the news editor for the Dade County Sentinel, a weekly paper based in Trenton, Ga. My first job while living here was as the editor of the Trenton Daily News, a start-up paper, also located in Trenton.

Unfortunately, that job only lasted four months, as the publication had to shut down. I reported just long enough in the community to get to know everyone, and learn the ins and outs. Now I am back, and it feels good.

I actually was offered this exact same job back in March, but I turned the offer down to work in the marketing industry.

One big lesson I learned this year was that writing is what I do best, and I needed to get back into the journalism field as quickly as possible.

I was able to get started right away, and did not require any type of training period. It will feel good to see my first set of articles published in the paper, after a nine month hiatus.

In some of my past journalism jobs, I’ve been known to do it all, sometimes doing the job of two to three people. At this job, all I have to focus on is writing, which is a nice, and slower change of pace. My job is to fill up pages 1 and 2, or the front page and the article jumps. The Dade County Sentinel has a great partnership with the community. We have lots of local columnists, and people from different organizations who submit articles in each week, which helps fill up the rest of the paper. 

My two co-workers are nice and welcoming. They have both lived in this community for a long time, so they have given me lots of article ideas, which is helpful.

I am allowed to work from home on Wednesdays. The paper comes out on Wednesdays, and there are no meetings ever scheduled on that day, so it’s a slow day. I am thankful for the opportunity to work from home because it saves me gas money, but honestly I am happy for the opportunity to go into work the other four days of the week!

I am looking forward to the upcoming weeks, months, and hopefully years as news editor of the Dade County Sentinel!

Just another mountain to climb …

The purpose of this blog is to let our family and friends know about all of our adventures and day to day life in Chattanooga. This, of course, means that there will be some bad mixed in with the good.

If you’re a regular reader of Seeing the Scenic City, you’ll know that I’ve been struggling at my job for the past few months, as well as struggling with depression and anxiety that stemmed from the job.

I went on medication in early September. My anxiety has subsided, and when the medication worked, it allowed me to look at the work problems with clarity.

All of this leads me to say that Friday was my last day at my job. I put in three weeks’ notice in early October. With all honesty, I had wanted to quit my job since the summer months, so I am actually proud of myself for making it that much farther.

I will not go into too many details, but basically I realized that this was not the job for me. I was unhappy with the work I was doing. I was trying my best, but it became apparent that my best was not good enough.

This is probably not the smartest decision, financial wise. But it was the best decision for my health.

I have a few applications already out for some other positions, and I will keep looking for new jobs on a regular basis. In the meantime, I am looking forward to a (hopefully short) resting period.

In related news, yesterday we went on a challenging mountain hike. You can read about that here. One section of the trail lead to a beautiful overlook, where we could see the mountains on all sides, the river and a waterfall.

It was a great metaphor for what I am going through right now. Yes, things are hard, but if you put just one foot in front of the other, you will eventually get to the top of your mountain. Derek and I have made it over mountains before, and we will get over this one, too.

Signal Point Hike50

A new job

All of my pre-employment checks have come back clear so now I can say that my new job is officially official today.

Next Tuesday I start as managing editor at a marketing agency that specializes in health care clients. I see a lot of coronavirus articles in my future…

I have been wanting to leave the traditional newsroom for YEARS, but couldn’t break through until now. I am thrilled! After almost 10 years of working for newspapers, I am burnt out, and my mental health has seen better days.

No more breaking news! No more election articles! No more reporting on car accidents and fires! No more evening council meetings!

After being a “jack of all trades, master of none,” it will be good to focus on just a few specific things, and hone my skills.

The job offers generous compensation, plus great benefits and office culture too. What is also beneficial is that the office is only 8 miles away, whereas I was commuting 28 miles to Georgia for my previous job.

Accepting this job is going to be life changing for us. For most of our marriage we have been barely keeping our heads above water, finance wise. Moving around a lot, having a ton of student loan debt, and losing my job (twice now) will do that. It will be a relief to be able to catch up and then some.

I am a frugal person by nature, but it will be nice to not have to tighten our budget so much anymore, because now we can enjoy more of what Chattanooga, and the surrounding areas have to offer.

Because of the Coronavirus, employees are working from home right now. All of my training will be virtual which should be interesting. I am so excited to get started!

Thankful for a job, and for living in Chattanooga

I’ll admit, Thanksgiving is not one of my favorite holidays, for various reasons that I won’t go into detail here. Judge me as you will, but I can do without it.

This year felt a little different though. Three weeks ago, I got a job.

Thinking that some form of a job needed to happen soon, I decided to post on Craigslist. I wrote a short post saying I was an editor and a designer seeking employment, with a link to my resume.

I am thankful that I decided to think outside of the box. I thought that Craigslist would mostly attract scammers, and it did, but it also landed me a job.

That night, my now boss emailed me. He is the publisher of the Trenton Daily News, a new paper that was started last spring in Trenton, Georgia.

I am both reporter and designer for the paper. It is a small magazine sized paper that is printed in our office on a large printer.

The first week on the job was a tough adjustment period. While I have always written in some capacity, I have not had to cover meetings and events full-time, for some time now. This means that I have to cover evening meetings and some other evening events that come up from time to time. After working an 8 a.m.-4 p.m. shift for the last three years, and only writing 1-2 stories a week, I found this to be difficult.

My first meeting was a commissioner’s meeting, and it lasted until 8:30 p.m.! Everyone told me that it went an hour longer than usual. Because this job is in Georgia, I had to add a half-hour commute home on top of that. I was not happy to get home at 9 p.m., eat a bowl of cereal for dinner, and go straight to bed. I understand that this will happen from time to time, but it was almost shocking to me that this happened my second day of work.

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, one of the meetings got pushed up a week. Also, I went to the mall one evening to report on the high school students gift shopping for underserved children. So, to summarize, my first week I worked late three nights in a row. Since then, it hasn’t been like that though. I just need to take it day by day, and be thankful for the days when I can work an earlier shift.

My boss is impressed with my work, and has said so many times. It’s nice to go in to the office, do my job as I normally would, and have someone be thankful for the work I’ve put in for the day.

We also have a sports reporter and video guy, and we’re going to get two interns from UTC next semester. Things are looking up.

My desk area at the office.
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The issue of the paper that we put out this week.

We were originally not going to do anything on Thanksgiving. Normally, I will try to make a somewhat special meal, like butternut squash soup or a gumbo, but I did not have the time to get the groceries or prepare due to being busy with the job.

I suggested Cracker Barrel, and it ended up being a good decision. The food was delicious and it made the day seem a bit more special. I have missed going to Cracker Barrel; there were not any nearby in the Houston city limits.

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My plate at Cracker Barrel. Not pictured is a big slice of pumpkin pie that I took home.

I am also thankful to live in Chattanooga, especially now that I have a job (in my career field no less), because it was the last part to be filled in order to be truly settled. This is what I posted on social media on Thanksgiving morning:

“This year I am thankful for finding a place to live that truly feels like home. I am thankful that Derek loves his job at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I am thankful that I recently found a journalism job. I am thankful for the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge, I am thankful for the abundance of grits and I am thankful for drive times through the mountains. I am thankful for Clumpies Ice Cream and thankful for Coolidge Park. I am thankful for Tony’s Pasta Shop and Trattoria and I am thankful for hikes on Signal Mountain. I am thankful for Civil War history sites, the Mountain Opry, and the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel. I am thankful for chai teas at Milk&Honey. I could go on and on! Happy Thanksgiving everyone.”

Moving in and an interview

I’m back tracking a bit with this post. I had originally wrote this entry in the beginning of August, and I wanted to wait to post this.

Derek moved to Chattanooga on Wednesday, July 31, and somehow, everything worked out in a way that I was able to go with him, and help him get settled in.

In the middle of July, I applied for a copywriting position. The position opened up on a Friday, and I applied for it on Saturday. They contacted me on Monday. I had an initial screening interview. Then I settled in for an unknown waiting period.

I was just starting to think that maybe they didn’t think I was good enough for an in-person interview, when they got back to me with hours to spare.

Derek and I were up early, out to breakfast at one of our favorite places. The time difference was on our side. It was 8 a.m. in Tennessee, and 7 a.m. in Houston.  I got an email saying they wanted to see me for an in-person interview.

We scheduled an interview for Friday afternoon. I called my boss in Houston at 7:30 a.m. to tell him that yes, I was going to Chattanooga that day. It’s okay, he knew it was a possibility, and he and my coworkers had planned for it.

So, to reiterate, I got the email at 7:15 a.m., and we left at 9:30 a.m. Derek loaded up the last few things into the truck and I quickly packed a duffle bag.

I drove our one car while Derek drove the truck and towed the second car on a trailer. It was a long 12 hour drive, made longer by having to tend to cats in the car, and Derek not being able to drive the speed limit with a large load.

We arrived in Chattanooga at 1:50 a.m., and I felt like I was arriving home. We crossed over the Tennessee River and we could see the other bridges all light up, with the lights reflecting in the water. It was beautiful. And we didn’t even get to see the mountains all around us yet because it was nighttime. 

Our apartment is nice, and an upgrade from what we have in Houston. It is bigger, and townhome style with two floors. It’s also cheaper too. That’s the nice perk of moving to a smaller city.

I was in Chattanooga for three full days, and we packed them in full (and unpacked as well, ha.)

We visited the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus, and got to see where Derek’s office is and meet his colleagues. They were all nice and welcoming. The campus is beautiful too.

We also drove around a bit and got the lay of the land. We found the local grocery store, Walmart and tons of restaurants and coffee shops to check out in the future. We live north of the city proper, but Derek will still have an easy commute. Everything is a quick drive away. 

We found a coffee shop that we both liked, called Milk&Honey. After eating there, we checked out nearby Coolidge Park, which is is a large green area on the banks of the Tennessee River. There is also a carousel in the park! We also checked out a couple of stores and found an ice cream shop. This was all in a neighborhood called Northshore.

On our last night together, we were coming home from shopping and Derek took a back road the last few miles home. It was heavily wooded, and the homes back there were gorgeous. On one front lawn we saw a deer and two babies. I thought, “Welcome home.”  

By the time I left on Sunday morning, almost everything was in place, aside from things in the second bedroom, which is to be the office, and wall hangings, which Derek can get to in his own time.

As of today (August 21st) I am still waiting to hear if I got the job. I followed up earlier this week and they told me they are still in the process of interviewing candidates.

I am happy that it worked out this way though, even if the outcome ends up not being what I hoped for. It allowed me to come out and help with the moving process. While I am in Houston, I can picture where Derek is, both at home and at work. This also made the total separation only 38 days and not 42. And now we’re down to 22 days!

Derek at breakfast at our favorite place, before we left for the long 12 hour drive. He looks sleepy, he most definitely was; it was 6:30 in the morning!
Driving over the Mississippi River.
The before picture. I’ll post after pictures once I’m in Chattanooga for good!
Checking out the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s campus. This is the University Center building.
Checking out Milk&Honey, a cafe in the NorthShore.
The Walnut Street Bridge, a pedestrian bridge, spans the Tennessee River. This photo was taken at Coolidge Park.
The front of our new apartment.