It had been 16 long months since I opened my morning newspaper and didn't thumb through the want ads. This morning, though, I went directly from the Local News page to the Sports section with nary a thought of finding work.
It's a relief.
I had applied to AOL's Patch.com in August after my aunt told me about the internet company's start-up news websites. I really wasn't sure what the job would entail, but the resume went out in assembly line fashion as it had for months. It wasn't until two weeks ago when a recruiter in Virginia called me to set up a phone interview. A few days later, I sat down with Western Pennsylvania's regional editor for a one-on-one interview at a South Side coffee shop. On Monday, I whizzed through a three-hour writing exam that asked me to use faux police reports to cobble together multiple stories on a fatal fire. I finished the process with another phone interview on Tuesday with a local editor in Illinois.
After that, I hoped for the best and prepared for the worst. Then I received a phone call yesterday morning from the original recruiter. There was a sadness in her voice that I detected -- or maybe it was my own pessimism -- that quickly turned to delight when she asked me to come aboard.
The position of local editor will be to build and launch a news website for the Chartiers Valley area around Bridgeville. The company expects me to work from my home, and it is sending me an iPhone, Mac laptop, copier/printer/fax machine and police scanner. I will be responsible for all the happenings within my local beat. They also are providing a small budget for me to hire freelance reporters. This is a new concept in journalism, but it is an exciting opportunity that I intend on giving the best chance to succeed.
I have been unemployed for 16 months, but I haven't forgotten how to work. It's time to get out of the bread line and back into the workforce. I can't wait.
1 week ago