Decision Time

 
Searching for inspiration for my weekend in Algonquin Park from my old photos.

Searching for inspiration for my weekend in Algonquin Park from my old photos.

It’s Tuesday night. 

I’m writing this at my desk in Oshawa as a pair of fans blow humid air across my back. It seems summer is intent on keeping its greasy grip on the month of September. I meant to get to this post earlier in the day, but when I got back from production around 5:30 p.m. I dropped onto the couch to watch an episode of The Office before getting back to work. I closed my eyes and was asleep for nearly three hours.

Okay, now, let’s get writing.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, today was production day, and for the uninformed, it’s the official end of the production cycle at The Oshawa Express. This means we take all the stories from the last week and turn them into a newspaper.

Today, we nearly missed deadline.

Let me explain.

The state of the journalism industry is not something I’ll get into in this post, but us at The Express, like any newspaper in 2017, rely on advertising to make our endeavours profitable. For that reason, we get a little lenient when it comes to allowing late ads to be slotted into the newspaper.

On a scale of 1 to a super fu%^&ing pain in the ass, it really depends on the situation. More times than not, these situations stretch into the super fu%^&ing pain in the ass territory. These ads take up space, so when one of them arrives late, say at like 1:30 p.m. when our press deadline is at 2 p.m. It usually means rearranging an entire page of content, and in some cases, cutting a story in order to get the advertising in.

Today, we waited on a full page of advertising until almost 3 p.m., nearly an hour after deadline. Thankfully, I like to be on top of everything and have a back-up plan in case things fall through. A full page ad falling through is a big deal, especially when it means I now have a full page to fill with stories and only 25 minutes to do it.

As I said, I was prepared for the worst and had the page already designed and ready to go.

Come 2:45 p.m., the ad still hadn’t arrived, but the salespeople wanted to wait. I didn’t.

I called the press, they needed everything by a drop-dead deadline of 3 p.m.

It was 2:50 p.m., still no ad, still the same mantra from the other end that things would be coming soon.

2:55 p.m., still no ad.

So, I made the executive decision to send the page as I designed it and forget the ad. I wasn’t about to become the first editor in Oshawa Express history (probably) to miss a deadline and have a paper come out late.

It’s this decision that has inspired this blog entry.

Nothing else of substance really happened today. As I said, I was caught up in the office late and when I got home I dropped onto the couch absolutely drained.

So, let’s talk about making decisions.

Every day of our lives are filled with them. A quick Google search shows that we make anywhere between 5,000 and 35,000 decisions a day. I think 35,000 is a little egregious, but for our purposes here, let’s just say… there’s a lot.  That means there are many opportunities for second guessing, for doubt, for wondering if we made the right call.

Take today, when the paper was sent, immediately I started to think about whether I made the right call. Then, I shoved a foot into the mouth of that voice in the back of my head and went about the rest of my day.

Decision making is not a skill, we can all do it, but dealing with those decisions, is not something I believe a lot of people do well. We make a choice and immediately start thinking about whether it was the right one.

I’m just as guilty of this.

I decide to sleep for an extra 30 minutes and second-guess myself for not getting up to write instead. I skip exercise for the millionth time and second-guess whether I’m making the right decision for my health (I’m not). I make pasta and think perhaps I should have had  a sandwich. I write one thing and think another would sound better.

You get the picture.

I made an executive decision to stop doing this a few months ago, it was around the time I took over as editor and knew that things were about to pick up speed.

In a position like mine, where there’s constantly new things happening, there’s not enough time to dwell and worry. You encounter something, you think about your response, and you make a decision and deal with whatever comes next.

And seriously, I’ve been much happier ever since.

Now, I dislike when my blogs dip towards the preachy, advice-giving side of things. I’m 28-years-old and have A LOT to learn about life.

Yet, I think this is one of the better things I’ve learned.

Thanks for reading,

J.J.W.