Greetings from the Lonestar State!
I saw my first-ever longhorn steer this morning across the street from my hotel. Oh, Texas.
After being hazed by O’Hare with a 4-hour flight delay on the way here, I got in at 2 a.m. Monday. Despite the sleep deprivation, things went relatively well until sometime about 11 a.m., when my new colleagues went from sounding like the perfectly lovely people they are to sounding like the adults in a “Charlie Brown” cartoon.
I saw their lips moving, but all I heard was that whiny trombone sound.
Once I decided I wasn’t having a stroke, I realized that I had no idea what anyone was talking about.
This new day job has me switching not only from reporter to road rebel, but from journalist to business consultant. It all sounded very exciting until I found myself in a room full of real business people in my training classes, trying to figure out what was going on and why they kept using so many f’ing acronyms. (If anyone asks me about my TPS reports, I’m running for the hills.)
This week has been an incredibly humbling experience so far, and I feel like I’ve gone from being calm, confident Lois Lane (“Yo, Superman, what color underwear am I wearing?”) to being L1 Elle Woods, taking notes at Harvard Law with a pink fuzzy pen and showing up in a bunny uniform at a non-costume party.
Luckily, I’m kinda used to this phenomenon. It isn’t necessarily unusual for a reporter to be the dumbest person in a given room. Part of the fun is getting dropped into random situations, deciphering what’s happening and explaining it to readers.
But I’m realizing that this is different. I can’t rely on experts to do all of the talking for me like they did in my stories; people are going to expect me to be the expert. Eventually.
My main consolation right now is that Elle, in addition to maintaining a perfect manicure, figured it out. And even Lois had to be rescued every once in a while (OK, kind of a lot, but I appreciate that she got into sticky situations trying to get the story. She’s also why I’m glad my news organization never had a chopper.).