Five Months, 11 Days and One Hour
Some who know me well were surprised that I stayed on as the editor of the Khmer Times (KT) for that long, since I haven’t had a “real” job since December 1997. Others couldn’t believe that I would walk away from the dream job of working from home and reporting directly to Mohan, the publisher.
I started work on April 28 and was ready to quit by that afternoon. The agreement was that I would cover five weeks while the editor went to Europe with her mother for a three week holiday. On May 26 – my brother’s birthday – I had a meeting with the publisher. The first item on my agenda was that as soon as the editor returned I was gone. Mohan gave me a long, hard look and said “We are going to have an off-the-record conversation.”
Given that I’ve said it publicly a number of times, it is no secret. The reason Mohan and I get on so well is because we are both workaholics, control-freaks and OCD. Virtually everyone else in the newsroom is literally terrified of him, some to the point of physically shaking when he walks through the office door.
Am I glad I did the stint at the newspaper? Absolutely. It was demanding and hectic and the average working day varied from 10 to 14 hours. Weekends? What a quaint concept. Don’t all journalists get a call from their publisher at 07:13 on a Sunday morning?
Would I consider doing it again? Absolutely not. It was the office politics, the procrastination, the underproduction and the back-stabbing that I can’t cope with. I was also reminded that I really don’t like working closely with people. As the quintessential dragon, I function best on my own.
Returning to being freelance means an irregular income, erratic hours if a piece of editing needs to get to Germany by the close of their work day and general instability. But it is the price I am prepared to pay for swimming upstream again.
Mohan and I are negotiating arrangements about various special projects and investigative pieces he wants written. So a new chapter begins. There has never been a shortage of them in my book of life and most are only a few pages.
While I was at KT, I was so exhausted by the end of the day that I didn’t have the energy to blog. Even putting a link on Facebook required too much effort.
So for people in the northern hemisphere who are desperate for winter reading – when they are blizzard-bound – and for those in the southern – who want to fill up their tablets for the beach – here are the KT links.
Hope all goes well in your worlds.
Pierre Legros: The “Creator” of Somaly Mam October 10
, October 3
Fork It: Japanese Food Theater, September 26
Women With Clout: Koy Darakannitha – Deputy Principal, September 26
Women with Clout: Pru Chanthy – Restaurateur, September 19
Fork It: The Contradictions of the Come Cafe, September 12
Fork It: Smell the Ginger, September 05
Women With Clout: Soun Som Own Lin – Widow, September 05
The Cat-And-Mouse-of Land-Claims Continues – August 22
Women With Clout: Tann Chan Narath – August 22
Women With Clout: Dr. Ly Srey Vyan – August 15
3 Years 8 Months and 27 Days in Jail – August 1
Fork It: A Bit of a Family Affair – August 1
Fork It: Noodles Before Your Eyes, July 24
Women With Clout: Dr. Phit Veasna, July 24
Tribute to a Piano Tuner, July 17
Tapas, Wine and Lounging, July 17
Fork It: Smell the Aroma, July 10
Youth in Focus: Sao Lany, July 10
In Praise of Sex-Pats, June 19
The Inside Story of Yoshe Taylor, June 06
The Human Mule, June 06
English, the Universal Language, May 30
Women With Clout: Sorey Long and Kanika Linden–Cuisine, May 30
The Orphanage Business, May 23
Thank You to the Cambodian Daily, May 16
Women With Clout: Dr. Mu Sochua, May 09
An Interview: Seng Takakneary, May 09
The Aji Approach, May 02