By nature, I’m a planner. I’d argue that, most of the time, I’m pretty good at it too. It helps me organize my chaotic schedule. I’m a habitual maker of lists and a sucker for covering all my bases in preparation.
I take comfort in having control over a situation. I like to know exactly what is coming and when, know exactly how to do each step of a task, and I absolutely thrive off of routine. While I would like to think that everything and everyone is on the same page as me about this, I know that’s not the case.
If there’s one thing that taking on the role of Executive Editor has already taught me, it’s that sometimes, no matter how hard I try, things don’t go as planned.
Even only three issues in, I’ve come to realize that the most stressful part of this job is not finding articles each week (though that is rough), it’s not managing a staff, and it’s not trying to balance the work with all my other responsibilities. The most stressful parts of this job, as is the case in any managerial position, are the things that don’t go according to plan. And there are a lot of them.
The world likes to throw curveballs just to keep people like me from getting too comfortable. As much anxiety as that gives me, sometimes that is okay. As my former boss would say, it builds character.
Maybe an article falls through at the last minute, or a photo isn’t available. Perhaps InDesign isn’t cooperating for some unknown reason. Maybe it’s mere hours before deadline and that pesky editorial still isn’t written even though you’ve tried four different times now.
Or maybe windchill temperatures near negative 50 on the same day the paper is meant to be assembled, causing the campus to close for not one day, but two, and forcing a cancellation of this week’s print edition.
This certainly wasn’t something I saw coming when I was preparing for the third issue of the semester. It’s an unprecedented problem—at least in recent history, The Record has never cancelled a print edition for snow or cold. A digital edition with limited articles was not exactly what I had in mind for the week.
But here we are. I probably could have gotten away with not writing an editorial this week, but I chose to anyway. Because even though sub-zero temperatures weren’t part of my plan, things have a funny way of working themselves out. I was able to roll with the punches and come up with a creative solution, which allows content to still be published.
The things we cannot plan for, the things we cannot have control over, are the very things that end up challenging us and allowing growth. These are the situations where we can finally put to use all those critical thinking skills they’ve been teaching us since grade school.
It is impossible to plan for everything. As much as I’d like to have control over everything that happens, I know that that simply cannot be. I just have to be willing to adapt. Even though it’s only week three, I have a funny feeling that will probably be one of my biggest takeaways from this position.