It’s Now or Never: Maybe Third Time’s the Charm (Editor’s Soapbox)

    Yes, this is my third editor in chief soapbox, my final statement of intent to spend my last year living by Wednesdays and Sundays. The aforementioned rationale is simple. The decision-making process was not.

    I am a great believer in the faceless wisdom of others and so, about five weeks back, my Google history started including the following searches: “how to deal with burnout,” “is my job worth it” and, finally, straight-up, “should I quit my job.” Luckily, there’s a multitude of quizzes offering to clear the confusion. Do you get along with your boss or does he create a negative work environment? I get along with myself fairly well, yes, but I’ve been told that my bouts of moody silence are terrifying. Could you find a better job elsewhere? I, and all the editors, easily could for the upcoming year, yet we’re still here. Then, the kicker: Is it worth it?

    No. It isn’t. It hasn’t been. And if I walk away now, all of this — power struggles, moving offices, production problems, budget changes, and big plans — will never have been worth it. It’s both terribly depressing and terribly meaningful to say that this, “this” being the ephemeral aspects of working here, the late nights and endless meetings, the panicked calls and angry letters, the rice pudding (300 calories, far too much sugar) and TapEx, this is closer to my bones than any 40-page thesis due next week that I haven’t started (truth). It’s closer than the student orgs I could have joined, the classes dropped because my work schedule was too demanding, the money I could have made if only my main job didn’t pay approximately $2 an hour for 50+ hours a week. 

    It’s been three full years since “this” first entered my life, two since we started making changes, one since the momentum began and, I hope, just one more until all my outsized dreams are realized. 

    Last week, I talked with a friend about the entirely non-surprising insight that I am, by nature, prone to bitterness. If I leave, I theorized, I will end up bitter because of the “what ifs.” If I stay, I might end up bitter because those hopes weren’t realized, and I spent four years cleaning up after others. The practical side of the decision is that, given the outcome of bitterness either way, I’d rather earn it while struggling for something (and then blame everyone else for not helping, instead of myself for not staying). And the prettier side is this: The Guardian has been the most important endeavor I have ever worked on. It has brought me to my knees and also brought me (indirectly) to Nashville, D.C. and Israel. It has fundamentally shaped who I am and, in return, I want to fundamentally, shape its future and ensure its success when I’m gone.

    No one can do it alone, and if I can make one final push, it is only because I have stood on the shoulders of giants. Emily, Margaret and Arielle, you’re the best advisers I could ask for, so let’s play “remember when” five years from now, safely escaped to the East Coast. Hayley, you’re my Maureen, enough said. Nikki and Zev — you’ve borne this year’s upheaval with good faith and endless patience; thank you. Mina: You have introduced me to Lady, so (I ain’t gotta tell you) I am forever in your debt. Rachel: Sacramento sucks. But you are, quite simply, the best. Non-Guardian, non-UCSD and non-Californian friends: I love you, thank you for your support.

    Signing out now, with one last message: The future is coming. It will be the culmination of four years. Let’s do it — if you’re lost, you can look, and you will find me, time after time.

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