Wick Communications

‘I’ve had the best job in America’

In Writing on December 9, 2010 at 3:00 pm

This is one great sign-off.

I’m not a big fan of first-person columns in general and many times the goodbye columns are the worst. Sometimes we are compelled to write these suckers though. Someone above us in the chain of command thinks readers will miss us. Heck, sometimes they might even be right. But too much navel-gazing is bad for a man and a newspaper and I think it’s fair to ask yourself whether the work-a-day readers you depend on really care where you get your next paycheck.

If you ever have to write one of these, do it the way Michael Wilbon did it. No hatchets buried, no last shots fired. A simple and humble thank you for what he admits is 30 years in one of the nation’s premier toy departments. I guarantee you any other approach will look snarky or mean-spirited.

It might also be instructive to note how the Washington Post kept such an opinionated writer happy all those years. Wilbon says right in the column that he appreciated the latitude given to him at the Post, the fact that his out-of-the-box ideas were appreciated. He was allowed to stretch and that, I think, is one of the most important parts of any good job.

Anyway, tuck this one away. If you ever feel compelled to write one of these things, remember the grace Wilbon showed after all those years on the job.

Clay

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