Looking forward and backward

This was the year my wife and I asked ourselves some hard questions about work and values. The answers led my wife to decide that an employment contract, with its additional cash and inherent protections and demands, wasn’t in her best interest; it led me to take a job buyout I wouldn’t have remotely considered at this time last year.

And so we enter 2014 amid some uncertainty. I’ll turn 54 in a few weeks, two days before I become unemployed. My wife’s no-contract status makes her layoff bait in a troubled industry. And even when I get another job, it’s likely I could face a 30 percent or even 50 percent pay cut.

But both of us walked into our decisions with our eyes open and the full approval of our spouse. We did this because we both believe — to use a cliche — the best things in life aren’t things. The money we’ve made in recent years has been used to buy more retirement security and some wonderful life experiences, not a bigger house or a fancier car. And when faced with a personal/professional crossroads in 2013, we had the flexibility to pick the personal because of the previous choices we made.

We also know what these choices mean, especially in a city where your job is your identity and your possessions are status markers. But I believe these decisions will make us better journalists, and I know they will make us better people. Bring it on, new year.


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