Anniversary

Last April 7, I was up against an issue I’d never dealt with in some 17 years as a professional journalist: What is it like to make news that almost nobody expects?

I knew my job was cooked a good month before I announced the news here–and after months of increasing uncertainty. Reading the Wikipedia entry for “ejection seat” because the metaphor suddenly appeals to you? Not a good sign about your contentment with your workplace.

But before I could go public, first I had to tell my wife, then my mother and brother, then old friends, then a few close colleagues and some tech journalists I’ve known for a long time.

It got progressively easier to surprise people with the news. But I still didn’t know what to expect when I clicked “Publish” on that post and quickly fired off links to it on Twitter, my Facebook profile and my public Facebook page: boom, boom, boom, there goes my job. I mean, the people on the other side of the cubicle wall didn’t even know the news. In retrospect, I’m amazed that nothing leaked… maybe I do know a thing or two about PR after all.

(Other people have taken longer to find out. It was somewhat awkward a few weeks ago when a neighbor asked how my writing at the Post was going.)

I shouldn’t have worried about the reaction. It felt immensely liberating to come out of the closet–to stop pretending that things were going great at work and, instead, finally hit that ejection seat.

But I should have taken a screen capture of my phone showing 200 or so notifications from Twitter, maybe 50 from Facebook, dozens of e-mails and a round of text messages.

It’s now one year later. As I began writing this post, my Q&A column for USA Today about the Flashback drive-by-download Mac malware had a prominent spot on that paper’s home page and was listed as its most-read story. I think I’m doing okay.