Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

July 1, 2014

John Cannon: Happy about final holiday that increases workload: 7/2/14

ASHLAND — As the date of my official retirement after more than 35 years here at The Independent nears, I find myself thinking a lot about what my life will be like after Aug. 15, when I no longer have to show up for work five days a week. Several times in recent days, it has hit me square in the face.

For example, about a week ago, everyone in the newsroom here at The Independent received an email about an upcoming “mandatory” training session. Upon seeing the memo, I sighed because I already dreaded that training session. Since I have reached the age when I don’t learn quite as quickly as I once did, I hate training more than ever. I sometimes think my little pea brain already contains about as much information as it can handle, and I have nowhere else to put anything.

This is not a new problem. For more than a decade now, when it comes to learning new things to do on my computer, I have learned only what I need to know to do my job. That’s why I don’t have an iPhone, don’t tweet and while I have a Facebook page (thanks to my wife), I rarely look at it and never add anything to it. In many ways, when it comes to technology, I am still living in the 20th century.

However, as soon as I saw the date of this “mandatory” training, my sigh turned into a cheer. I don’t remember the exact date because I never got past the first word of the date: “September.” By then, I will be home waiting for the arrival of my first Social Security check. Never in my life have I been so happy about remaining ignorant about something as I have not being forced to learn about this new procedure.

A few days after the arrival of this email, I went to buy some new shoes for work because the pair I was wearing was worn out. I go to a place where you can buy a second pair of shoes for half price. After selecting the first pair, I started looking for a second pair. Then it hit me: Why do I need two pairs of dress shoes? In a few weeks I am not even going to need one pair except to wear to church on Sundays.

I did not buy any shoes that day. Instead I promised to return when I had more time to look for a good pair of casual shoes to use as my second pair.

The third joyful reminder of my approaching retirement is the holiday we will celebrate on Friday.

In my nearly 45 years as a professional journalist, I have always enjoyed my job. After 33 years as The Independent’s opinion page editor, I still enjoy writing editorials and columns and putting out the opinion/commentary page seven days a week.

However, one aspect of my job I have hated has always been holidays. Since Christmas is the only day The Independent does not publish, it is the only real holiday I have. 

Monday holidays like Labor Day and Memorial Day are the worst, because to get those days off, I have to do the page days in advance. Friday is always a busy day for me because before I go home on those days I have to have the opinion pages completed for Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and if Monday is a holiday, Tuesday’s opinion page also must be turned out on Friday. Putting out so many pages is not easy. To get the Monday holiday off, I have to work a 15- or 16-hour day on either Thursday or Friday to do the extra work I need to get a holiday. Frankly, all those extra hours make it seem like it’s not a holiday, and frankly I have always dreaded Monday holidays.

I mention all this only because Independence Day is always on July 4 and Thanksgiving is always the fourth Thursday in November. That makes them a little more tolerable and a lot less stressful than Monday holidays.

However, this July 4 is Friday. That means that before I leave for home on Thursday, I must have my pages done for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and I am dreading it.

But there is one thing that makes this Independence Day holiday a lot more tolerable for me: It is the last holiday that my job will interfere with my celebration.  The next holiday on the calendar is Labor Day, and I won’t have to worry about putting in extra hours to earn that holiday.

That alone is enough to make me look forward to retirement.

By the way, I don’t plan to stop writing for The Independent when I walk out the door on Aug. 15. I plan to continue to write for the newspaper as long it will pay me for what it uses. In fact, I tell my co-workers I am not really retiring, I am just not going to come to work anymore.

JOHN CANNON can be reached at jcannon@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2649.

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