My dreams of chasing down politicians while yelling hard hitting questions about accountability and parliamentary precedents were crushed Monday morning when I was handed a stack of assignments on resources, next week's focus topic.
So instead, I found myself frantically making phone calls trying to get interviews on such topics as fertilizer regulations, offshore oil in Newfoundland, and Arctic research. I had a meltdown Wednesday night around midnight as I was still banging out my fourth article and wondering if I had damned myself to a life of working 16 hour days and doing interviews on my cell phone sitting cross legged in bus shelters in subzero weather ("Oh, yes, you're the NDP Indian Affairs critic... yes, of course I have time to talk to you now. Please excuse the sound of rush hour traffic and my chattering teeth").
Realistically, it wasn't that much more work than a normal week at school, where I'm used to never getting a day off and working all night. But there's something about having to be in an office from nine to five that adds extra misery to the realization that it's 10:00 p.m. and I'm reading the Fertilizers Act to fact check.
But Mega reminded me that any new job seems overwhelming at first, and that maybe it would get easier. And it did... once the deadline was over things were pretty easy, and I spent the afternoon getting a head start on assignments for next week, which will hopefully mean I'll be less crazed. I even pitched a story idea that I got the go ahead on... and it's a story about the Conservatives rolling back pay equity! I'm getting a story published about feminism! Who woulda thought?
Another weird thing I noticed is that after spending so much time exerting every ounce of energy sounding professional and articulate in five billion interviews with important people, I immediately became a neanderthal when I slipped back into normal life mode. "What kind of coffee would you like, miss?" "Uh." "How many sheets of bus tickets do you need?" "Duh." "Yo Claire, how's work going?" "SO. HUNGRY."
And I'm making it sound like it was all stress and caffeine. It wasn't. I definitely got a perverse kick out of calling MPs and lobbyists and pretending I knew what I was talking about. "So how long have you been with The Hill Times?" they would ask me. "Since Monday," I would respond. ".... Oh." I went to a conference on renewable fuels and interviewed the woman in charge of a $1 billion biofuels fund. I wrote a really interesting article on drinking water quality in First Nations communities. And I saw my five (FIVE!) articles the way they're going to be laid out in Monday's paper with my byline, and damn... my name looks good in print.
But I think the strongest indication that I still like journalism is that I came home from work today, made myself dinner, turned on the 6:00 news and started blogging.
Career path confirmed. Lisa, start baking that pie.