The evening of March 2 I wrote the hardest letter I’ve ever had to write — my resignation from my job here at the Planet. And as I write this column, I’m finding it to be the second hardest thing I’ve had to write.
When I first got here, the Planet was about 33 inches wide and there were 10 staff members. I was a young, shy, socially awkward, nervous, new reporter. While my degree is in journalism and I love writing, I really didn’t know if I was cut out to be a reporter, because I’m not a very nosey person by nature.
After I was hired, the first thing I did was go to the Super Museum and bought one of the Superman shield T-shirts. When I started this job, I was devastated because I had gotten fired from my first real job. Three people told me about the opening at the Planet and it felt like I was destined to work here. My goal at the time was to just keep the job for a long time and not get fired.
Ironically, I wore the shirt on March 3, when I officially turned in my resignation letter. Now, here I am 21 and a half years later, the Planet is now about 26 inches wide and down to a staff of four. The paper and the staff have both shrank a lot over the years. The only think that hasn’t shrank is me. I’m still socially awkward, but may be less shy than what I used to be and now, still nervous about giving up something that has had such a huge and positive impact on my life.
When I started, news copy went through a waxer, was cut out and pasted onto the page and those paper copies were picked up each Tuesday and printed at the Benton Tribune Courier. In the early 2000s, the design of the paper slowly shifted to being all done on the computer. Later on pages were sent electronically to the Paducah Sun to be printed. About a year ago the actual pagination of the Planet moved to the Paducah Sun and as of a few weeks ago, to Owensboro, Kentucky. Within the last few years, the changes in the newspaper industry have happened so fast and they can all be so overwhelming. For awhile I have really wondered if I have the energy to keep up with the fast-paced industry.
Outside of my mom and my two cats, the Planet has always been like a home away from home for me. I’m sure many people feel the same way about where they work, or at least I hope they do. When you work with people who are good at what they do and who are nice, it makes work much more enjoyable and I have worked with so many wonderful people at the Planet. I’m blessed because I have still maintained friendships with the majority of the previous employees. I’ve had wonderful managers too, from Clyde Wills, who first hired me, to Matt Jones, Betsy Fellows and Areia Hathcock.
Not only was it my home away from home, during the flood of 2011, Betsy let me bring an air mattress and sleep at the Planet for about a month, until I went to stay with my best friend at her house in New Liberty.
Ever since I made the decision to resign, I randomly think about some memory and I start crying. A few teardrops lead to more and pretty soon I’m bawling like a baby, which I did two weeks ago in the line to pick up medicine at Walgreens. As I sat there, crying and grieving the end of my journey here at the Planet, I remember thinking about how there are other people, like Hattie Thomason, who is bravely dealing with a brain tumor, and I think about all of the other people who recently lost loved ones and are grieving over their losses.
It helped put what I’m dealing with in perspective. People change jobs all the time so it isn’t that big of deal, but it’s pretty significant to for me because this is the first long-term job I’ve had and leaving it behind is just going to hurt for awhile.
There has always been a saying around the Planet: “Once a Planeteer, always a Planeteer.” I’ll now move into the former Planeteer club. I’ll still have my Planet family as well as the many other friends I have made in the community while covering various events, functions and meetings.
I’ve been an eyewitness to a lot of important events and covered and written about so much: June 10, 2010 the Lois Lane statue installation; the tornados of 2003 and 2014; Massac Unit One junior high school consolidation; construction of three new schools; and courthouse renovation; 21 Superman Celebrations, several Encampments and many other events.
I’m proud I was able to help the Planet take steps toward the digital age, with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts and a You Tube channel. I feel like there were times when I tried to go above and beyond what my job duties were on paper and tried to inform people beyond the newsprint through social media. I especially loved in recent years, the capability of going live on Facebook to bring people breaking news. I did that because I have always loved and been loyal to the Planet.
I feel like I’ve been very blessed to have always ended up working good jobs and I have to say this one has definitely been one Super one. I’ve also always enjoyed writing columns about the crazy, interesting or funny things that have happened to me.
To all those who have read my columns and/or articles and who have told me you have enjoyed reading what I write, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope I have been able to help inform readers and at times given you a laugh or two in a column. Maybe the Planet might indulge me and let me submit a From My Orbit column on occasion. Maybe even if I get bored, the Planet might want me to cover a fourth Monday meeting.
I’ll still be living in Metropolis and maybe now as I transition into this new phase of my life, I can start utilizing the other part of my degree — creative writing. I’ll still continue taking photos on the side, and I do want to focus on creating more art, another passion I have.
A few years ago, I had contemplated running for a seat on the Metropolis City Council, but because of working at the Planet, it was a conflict of interest. So, who knows, I might think more about running for office, and maybe someday I’ll be in the news instead of writing about it.
I will always remember my time at the Planet and will hold it very dear to my heart and I have no doubt, as I’m exiting the field of the news media, I will definitely remember my last two weeks at the Planet — writing about the major worldwide pandemic of the coronavirus, as I prepare to go work fulltime in the healthcare industry! What is the old saying, out of the frying pan and into the fire.