I held by breath, walking into the room.
I’d written a story three weeks previously that had the potential to anger a lot of the people there, and while I was (and am) confident that everyone had a chance to have his say and that what I wrote was fair, I was still nervous.
And I had been dreading that meeting all month.
It’s times like those that I wonder if I ended up in the wrong profession.
I love what I do, most days. I love stringing words together; the adrenaline rush of a good story and not a lot of time; cutting through paragraphs of legal fluff to find what someone is really saying.
I love meeting new people (whose faces I will recognize in the grocery store but not be able to place); experiencing events I never would otherwise; learning about topics I’ve never thought about before.
(And isn’t there always a ‘but’?)
I’m rather obsessed with being liked.
Do you like Bruno Mars? Personally I can’t stand his music but I’ll come up with something nice to say about him if you do. Same with most books, and places. I’ll bend a lot of ways to make sure we get along.
And being a journalist and being liked are often opposed to each other.
I walked into that meeting so anxious, waiting for averted glances, cold shoulders to my questions, comments during the open portion of the meeting. I was holding my breath.
It shouldn’t have mattered. Anyone who steps back far enough from the situation to look at my story dispassionately would have to accept that it was fair.
But for three weeks I dreaded a meeting because people might be angry with me and I can’t stand people being angry with me!
Of course I worried for nothing. I don’t know how many of them read my story but nothing seemed to be changed, the meeting went on as before.
And for the hundredth time since I began typing obituaries for my first newspaper job, I wished I could grow a thicker skin.
Or at least learn not to worry about things that won’t even happen.