One cool job

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

When I tell someone what I do for a living, I usually get one of two responses.

The most common -- and preferred -- response is something along the lines of how cool my job must be. I can't disagree with that. It is cool. I get to speak with and write about people from many different walks of life on a daily basis; this has helped me appreciate how important and beautiful our differences are.

Sometimes, people even compliment my work. I'm used to working in a vacuum, so it always feels great to be told I'm doing something worthwhile by someone who isn't my mother. For the most part, I've found people in the community are appreciate of the work everyone is doing here at Carroll County News.

That's the best part of working in a tight-knit community; after a while, you become a valued part of it.

Of course, some people immediately become critical when they hear I work for the local newspaper. That's the nature of the beast, I guess. I've had people pick up a copy of the paper, turn to a page and show me where we made a spelling or grammar mistake. People I've interviewed and been friendly with have turned on me because of a column I wrote.

I work in the public eye and fully expect to receive this type of criticism. Generally, I check my feelings at the door. That doesn't mean I don't care when someone insults me or points out a minor error I made. That bothers me the same way it would bother anybody else, because I am human. No matter how long I work in this field, I'll never be able to shut down that immediate gut reaction when someone reminds me I'm not perfect.

I probably could have avoided this if I'd chosen to work somewhere a little less public. If I were a bank teller or a waitress, I'd still face criticism for mistakes. But I certainly wouldn't get accosted at the grocery store for mixing up someone's salad dressing or calling someone by the wrong name. If I did, it would be rare.

Two weeks ago, Gideon and I were at a coffee shop in Eureka Springs. We overheard someone talking about how the newspaper I work for fails to report the news accurately, and I laughed a little under my breath. For some reason, Gideon introduced me to this man and told him exactly what I do. Yes, I am surprised Gideon and I are still engaged.

I played it off and ran away with my coffee, but I'm sure I mishandled that whole situation. Again, I am human. When I told my boss about it later, he laughed and said he never tells people where he works. He's been in this field much longer than I have and knows how critical people can be over trivial things.

Fortunately, interactions like that are quite rare for me. People usually have a lot of questions about my job when they learn what I do, but only a few of them have harsh words for me. Though I'd like to say that's the nature of humanity, I know that isn't true.

It is, however, the nature of Carroll County. I feel accepted into all three communities I work in, and all of these communities have distinct differences from one another. That doesn't seem to matter when you get down to it.

What matters is that we're all human. I've been insulted a few times because of my job, but mostly people have shown me respect. I'm grateful for that -- even more grateful than I am to have such a cool job.

It's the people I meet that make the job so cool, after all.

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Samantha Jones is a reporter for the Carroll County News. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com.