The worst job I ever had, I remember going to the bathroom and crying in the stall at least once a week. It just was not a good fit.
The job before that – also not a great fit.
When I started working for Gannett at the Lansing State Journal, I was a bit concerned about whether this new place was going to work. After two jobs that were not amazing, I started to wonder whether I was cut out for the workforce. Was it bad mangers? A bad company? Was I just a crappy employee?
I started at the Lansing State Journal on January 7, 2013.
When I walked through the building, I was, um, surprised at the accommodations.
“Its always cold here. And its colder in summer than it is in winter – so just bring a space heater.”
“You want a new office chair? Um, let me steal one from one of the abandoned rooms.”
“You’ll get use to the cockroaches. Its just an old building.”
Friday was my last day working from the Lansing State Journal building on Lenawee in Lansing. Two days a week I work in downtown Detroit at the Free Press/News building, two days I’m in Lansing, and once a week I’m at home. For the two days a week I’m at Lansing, I’m excited about moving to the new building we’ll work from. But there is a part of me that is sad about leaving this historic building.
My first day at LSJ, my co-worker Robin and I toured the building. Friday, my co-workers Robin, Nancy and I toured the building again photographing this old place.
Here is a picture of where the old print press use to run. You can see the ink from printing newspapers splattered across the walls.
And here is the ‘half room.’ For decades, a copy of each edition was stored in this room. The cupboards are noted with numbers in marker, and with plates, and in some spots – tape.
Moving to the end of the half room, prior employee graffiti marks the walls.
Here is the old basement break room. Legend holds that the drain got plugged in the 90’s. To ‘fix’ the issue, a new break room was built over the old one. The move left the old blue break room exposed.
But the bathrooms are, well, rough. With narrow hallways and old school colors.
And there are all of these weird nooks and crannies. Here’s a cage in the basement, and a room full of machines. I wish I could tell you the history behind these places.
And there are cords without ends, and electric cables without matches.
There is an empty room on the second floor where IT once lived.
And another empty room on the third floor that was once the employee break room.
And empty hallways with empty ‘IN’ boxes on the second floor. I wish I could tell you what documents were housed in the in box.
And there are boxes, where the business office once operated.
And more boxes, in a weird half room on floor two.
And dusty drinking fountains.
And the old freight elevator on the third floor. I don’t think this has operated in years.
And three floor histories all meeting in once space. To me, this picture tells the story of the building. Beautiful wooden floors symbolizing a golden age of prosperity. Laminate tile marking a time of quick growth. And plywood – just trying to keep things together as we move through change.
The newspaper industry has experienced many transformations. While millions of people still read the print paper, more and more people get their news online.
As the world changes, Gannett and the Lansing State Journal change as well.
The bathroom stalls are old, and kind of icky. But I love them. And I’ve never cried in a stall.
Although it might be filled with cockroaches, this building is also full of memories. The secret to being happy at work is never the work and it is never the building – it is the people. The people that work for this company have made some great memories in this damn place. I’m privileged to have been a part of that.
I pack light. When I left the building I didn’t take any bricks or tiles. When I moved into my cube the prior occupant had this quote taped on the cubical wall. I’ve always liked looking at this quote as a reminder of how I’d like to live every day. So I took the quote down and will take it with me when we move to the new building.
As we leave the building, I’m sad to leave behind the amazing memories of what happened within these walls. Moving forward, I’m excited to see how we will change the world – and how the world will change us. I trust that people will be good. I trust that God will guide us. I fear not for what lies ahead.