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Why the rush to move on?

I went home this weekend to Akron for Thanksgiving. I’m working Christmas, so I don’t know when I’ll be home next, but likely not this year.

Good thing. It seemed everyone I talked to asked when I was coming home (as in, moving back to Ohio) or when I was moving on (as in, how long do you think you’ll actually stay at the paper? are you looking for another job yet?).

Woah, back up everybody.

I haven’t even been in my position a year. I’ve only just gotten familiar enough to not mapquest every place I need to be. I finally know the different school boards members and temperaments and the 30-some principals in this county by name and sight — and they know me! And I actually understand the issues (OK, most many? of the issues) driving things happening today.

I’m finally comfortable with where I fit in and what I should and can do here. And already, everybody wants to know what my next move is?

Why the rush?

As I was explaining to one of my friends (also a j-school grad) when we met up this weekend, I don’t really know for certain what my next move will be or even when. But now is definitely too soon. There’s still much for me to learn here. But as I always intended (yet apparently didn’t articulate well to anyone back home?), I’m going to play it by ear. I’ll just know when it’s time or when something too good to pass up comes along. I mean, sheesh! I started here on Martin Luther King Day. That’s mid-January, folks. As in, it hasn’t even been a year since graduation let alone starting my job. I’m still recovering from my last job hunt, and you all are ready to see what I’ll do next?

It kind of freaks me out how universal everyone’s assumption was that I am biding my time until I find something else. I’m not. Trust me. I wouldn’t have taken a job for that purpose. I didn’t. Yes, it’s Indiana. (But the city and people and paper are nice.) Yes, it’s only about 40,000 circulation. (But the push is for enterprise, and I’m being given opportunities I’d never get anywhere else, especially not at a larger organization.) Yes, it’s six hours from home, and nearly all my best friends are scattered far, far away. (This sucks, trust me I just got in from that drive and am not looking forward to an eight hour shift tonight coming off it, but I needed to move away and prove to myself I could.) But get this, I like it. As I told my grandma when the topic came up, I’m doing exactly what I thought I’d be doing and most of what I hoped I’d get to do — and more.

So everybody, calm down. I’m 22. Think about that. At a minimum, I’ll be working the next 50 years. I have plenty of time to see what’s out there. But in order to do whatever that “next” is well, I need a strong foundation. To get that, I need to take the time to develop and not rush and stumble along just because of others’ expectations for me.

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