Never questioned my dream job

There’s nothing quite like a good vacation to rejuvenate one’s soul.

While vacations come in many shapes and colors, mine often involve sand, surf, sea shells, and, of course, good food.

Diane and I just returned from St. Augustine, Florida, one of our favorite getaway spots. In fact, in many ways, the city and beaches along St. Augustine and Anastasia Island have become our home away from home.

This year, our vacation involved many of our favorite haunts and activities, but also a mixture of some new items, as well. One of those was a delightful breakfast and lunch restaurant — the Maple Street Biscuit Co. I suppose it matters not that the quaint restaurant in the heart of historic St. Augustine is actually located on brick-paved Cordova Street and not Maple Street, at all.

Not only does the crew at the restaurant serve up some of the most interesting and delicious breakfast entries I’ve enjoyed in a long time, they also have fun while doing it. For instance, instead of asking you your name so they know who to deliver the food to once it’s ready, they evoke other ways to associate you with the food.

The first time, they asked for my favorite dessert to identify me. Caught off guard, I didn’t give it much thought and said “chocolate chip cookie.”

The second time we ate there, I placed the order better prepared, and was going to use “key lime pie” as our identifier.

That is, until they again surprised me with a new word association they were using that day: “What job title would you like to hold?”

I didn’t miss a beat in answering, however, as I said, “Newspaper publisher.”

I may have caught a slightly doubtful glance from Diane with that answer, but she didn’t question my decision.

And neither did I.

As we sat there listening to titles such as “retired” (I really like that title, as well), “nurse,” “chicken gatherer,” and “Superman,” I thought to myself that “newspaper publisher” fits me just fine.

A recent Los Angeles Times story, using Gallop Poll statistics, said only one in eight employees find satisfaction in their job. That’s a sad statistic.

As I reflect back over my adult years, there is not another job I would have wanted to pursue, and, ultimately, mine was a job that gave me a lot of satisfaction and joy.

The job mixed communication strengths with financial planning, management skills with production knowledge. In a given day, I could be behind a computer checking news sources or balancing a spreadsheet. I could be outside shoveling snow or running a forklift.

It was a great job.

Yes, it caused me many sleepless nights and lots of stress over the years, but, to this day, I’m still not 100% sure if my blood runs red or, rather, it is black as the barrels of ink we used each week to produce your newspaper.

I always have been a writer. I always have enjoyed sharing stories, and I have hundreds of them, if you ever want to hear one or two.

That is why I still write a column in this space even today. I think I still have a few more tales you might be interested in hearing.

And that is why it was so easy to quickly share “newspaper publisher” as my dream profession the other day.

You see, I still love the smell of newsprint everyday.

I believe you do, as well.

Bill Speer retired in 2021 as the publisher and editor of The News. He can be reached at bspeer@thealpenanews.com.


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