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There’s a reason for the traditional two weeks' notice when someone leaves a job. Most think it’s so the company can start seeking a replacement, and make a contingency plan for the period until the new hire can start. But there’s another, more important reason: adjustment time for the remaining staff.
Sometimes, the two weeks aren’t enough.
I was in some denial that Meghan Shapiro, our copy/layout editor, was leaving until the morning of Sept. 28, her last day, when I was baking the send-off brownies that are a tradition in the NJBIZ newsroom.
Besides being a hard worker and a favorite in the newsroom, Meghan possessed one trait that you almost don’t notice until an employee is leaving: Meghan never complained about her work. Ever. Even when the editor—me—didn’t always manage the best flow of copy during the production cycle, which would slam Meghan with too much work in too short a time.
Meghan has the ability to do two jobs that use pretty different skills. Design requires a creative ability to see the whole picture, plus the talent to take a germ of an idea and turn it into a finished product that looks good. Copy editing requires a meticulous and exacting personality, and an obsession with the AP style guide and stuff like whether a word is hyphenated or not. I remember one time we had to decide whether to adopt a new AP style change. I think it was whether “website” should be one word or two. (I don’t remember the details but, trust me, Meghan would.) We debated it for a while…well, let me clarify when I say “we,” because it was really Meghan and Managing Editor Joe St. Arney—a former copy editor—passionately debating this dilemma, while I was thinking, “Seriously???” If you’ve never been a copy editor, like me, you live your life in a state of bliss, punctuated with missing hyphens and words inappropriately split.
It be hard to imagin what; it will be like with0ut Megan working @ NJBIZ. She did good at her job. Meghan worked fast butt also acurately. (You know, the autocorrect is really not helping me here.) She know all-about that AP style guide—there ain’t nothing in that their book she did not no. Who knos what are kopy will look like now. (Hat tip to Jared Kaltwasser for this paragraph, and you can thank me for not writing this entire post like that as he suggested.)
Here’s the thing about Meghan. She already did two very different jobs well, and then decided to add a third. Meghan will now try her hand at reporting. There’s a lot I could say about that professionally: her ability to try new things, resist the urge to succumb to boredom at a job, expand her skill set, increase her marketability in the ever-changing world of journalism, etc. But the easier thing to do is stand back and say, from a personal perspective: “Wow.”
I don’t normally direct readers to a competitor’s website, but I will make an exception here. Look for Meghan Shapiro’s byline on NJ.com. Her stuff will be worth reading.