Thursday, October 8, 2009

Seed of Conflict, part II

A headhunter called about 10 days ago. Would I be interested in a three-month assignment as editorial director of some non-retail publications based in...Cleveland?

Let’s not disparage Cleveland. It can be lovely there. It wouldn’t be the heart of lake-effect winter, though some of the Browns football games I’ve seen on television made me shiver in my living room. Since I’ve traveled most of our marriage, Gilda was okay with just seeing me weekends. That the subject matter was not retailing didn’t really phase me. A good editor knows a good story, regardless of subject matter.

No, the real conflict was, do I really want to work full-time again, especially in a corporate environment, 9 to 5 or longer, even if it is for just three months? Suits. Or even if it’s dress down casual, it’s surely not jeans every day. It would be socks time again!

The headhunter called back a few days later to say they have two Clevelanders they want to vet first. Hold tight.

It reminded me of my experience 31 years ago. I had applied, after one year at Lebhar-Friedman, to be editor of a Washington, D.C.-based magazine for the automotive after market association. It came down to two people. They chose a locally-based guy. Six months later they called to say they made a mistake. Too late—by then I’d been promoted twice, the last one to lead editor of Chain Store Age. For the next 30-plus years, Chain Store Age and Murray Forseter were synonymous and inseparable.

PS—The seed is growing. They’ve had a change of heart. Cleveland wants to see me.