In a lot of jobs when you clock out you’re done.
As a journalist, this just can’t be.
Try as I might, I can’t escape my work. I see an accident on my way home and I have to pull over. I hear sirens and I perk up. I see something interesting and I email myself a note to remember to make a call on it.
And a lot of my work when I’m not working isn’t even by choice. It follows me.
This weekend, I made the mistake of deciding to volunteer at a booth our newspaper had at a local military appreciation fair.
To be honest, I only did it because our company has an incentive program that lets us earn paid days off if we volunteer for so many hours. The bitter thing is you have to volunteer for a minimum of 11 hours to earn one day, which is approximately 8 and a half hours.
But I digress …
For 12 hours I made popcorn, scooped popcorn and excitedly yelled, “You won popcorn, congratulations” after those walking by spun the “Wheel of Freedom.”
So I’m in the mist of dealing with popcorn duty: trying to scoop popcorn into bags and beat the machine that hurls freshly popped, incredibly hot popcorn when a man I had interviewed the day before strolls over.
He had not been pleased with the angle of the story, but suffice to say that’s not his call. And, to be frank, he should be grateful there was a story done.
I was happy to do it, despite his annoying tenacity, and just explained my reasoning for what was in the story.
Well, he stops me in the middle of my duties to tell me a woman not mentioned in my story that he thinks is incredibly important and worthy of an entire spread in the paper will be coming by.
He tells me more about her, which was information he had already emailed to me multiple times, and proceeds to ask when I want her to come by for an interview.
I was flabbergasted.
After a minute of awkward silence, I mumbled that I wasn’t on the clock and was merely a volunteer.
He gave me an angry look and, just as he did the day before, told me what an opportunity I was missing.
Luckily, popcorn duty called and I had to say a quick, “I’m, again, so sorry” and got back to work. Not quite so lucky, he was in the booth directly across from us and his death glares the rest of the day were not missed.
Oh, to be followed by work – what joy!