Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No, I haven't retired

So, here's the thing: I haven't retired.

Yes, I've turned into the homestretch of my career at the Freeman. And, yes, after 25 years as publisher (and 42 years total at the newspaper), I've handed off the baton to our new publisher, Jan Dewey, longtime advertising executive at the Poughkeepsie Journal.

But as publisher emeritus, the highfalutin title to which I've ascended, I'm still finding my way to Hurley Avenue every morning. (After all these years, I can pretty much make the ride from Woodstock blindfolded ... but I won't.)

With a variety of specific projects on my agenda, plus the need to dispense as much of the decades worth of my institutional knowledge that Jan can handle, it likely will be at least a year before I log off here for good.

Which leads to the question many of my friends and colleagues have been too polite to ask: If you're not retiring, why aren't you publisher anymore?

Not to get too melodramatic, but there's a one-word answer: leukemia.

Now, don't get alarmed. It's been a little over three years since I was diagnosed with a form of the disease (I believe I blogged about it at the time), and it's been more than 18 months that I've been in remission. The prognosis, I'm assured, is good, and I long ago resumed all normal activities. But it's also an illness that never really goes away. In short, it's on my mind pretty much every day.

Combine that with what is an exciting, tumultuous, challenging, invigorating, stressful -- yes, all at once -- newspaper industry environment, and I began thinking, maybe it's time for me to ease up.

Which is the trial balloon I floated by a few Journal Register Company executives.

I'm not ready to hang 'em up, I said, but I sure would be open to a new arrangement that made sense to me and the company.

When I didn't hear back, I figured it didn't make sense to them.

Then, last month, a game plan was discussed. It didn't take long for me to sign on.

I'll still be involved with operations and management of the Freeman.

I'll be out and about in the community -- probably more so than in the years since my illness.

I'll still make public speaking appearances, if organizations want me.

I'll write more, definitely in this blog forum, perhaps in print, too.

I'll continue to be a regular on public radio.

But I'll also have a more free time and, fingers crossed, less stress.

I like the sound of that.

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