The best New Year’s resolution I ever made, and kept, was when I resolved never to make another New Year’s resolution for myself. With an admittedly spotty track record of accomplishment before then, that single resolution forever lifted the burden of trying to live up to impossible promises. What will be, will be.
Then again, all those resolutions were personal. Lose weight, exercise more, save money; all the standards, all flops.
I’ve never focused the gaze of that tophat-waving New Year’s baby on my professional life. Perhaps it’s worth a try.
RESOLVED: I will keep at least 60 percent of my desk visible and free from clutter at all times.
I’m glad you can’t hear the chorus of disdainful laughter that will spring up when my colleagues read this one. To a person, they’ll tell you even a measly 6 percent visible is beyond my feeble reach. What they’ve not yet discovered is just how high I can stack things in one small corner.
RESOLVED: I will give fewer “free passes” to government officials who promote and enact policies, procedures, ordinances, taxes, fees, and anything else based on flawed reasoning that ignores their ultimate responsibility to you, our taxpaying readers.
You may recall I’ve gotten in a few shots along the way when it comes to our county commissioners, particularly when I was regularly covering their meetings. There’s no better time to start on this resolution than by taking a look at their $150 automatic year-end bonus for all county employees.
It’s certainly not spontaneous. They have established guidelines and work-time requirements for bonuses. They expect to give them out each year. Let’s call it what it really is: An entitlement.
Here’s a new procedure I’d suggest. Take the number of county employees and cull from the list of property tax payers an equal number who pay at least $150. Send each employee out to call on a specific taxpayer. When taxpayer Smith opens the door, an employee then politely asks, “Mr. Smith, may I please take your $150 in taxes as my annual county bonus?” If Mr. Smith says yes, a handwritten thank you note must follow within a week or the bonus is forfeited. If Mr. Smith says no, that’s that.
RESOLVED: I will work harder to see that we find stories behind stories.
Whether it’s a crime from the docket page, a senior center patron celebrating a milestone, or a curious hitchhiker passing through, there’s always the possibility that there’s more to the story than a first glance reveals.
Second and third glances often find things that make for better stories by creating connections between a subject and a reader. Thinking a step beyond can turn a sterile news release into a compelling news or feature story. There’s more gold to be mined if we keep swinging the picks.
RESOLVED: I will make only three resolutions. History, even if personal, is not so easily forgotten. That desk thing is going to take an inordinate amount of time and energy to approach. I’ll be lucky to work in those other two on the side, but I will, on the clean side of the desk.
— david colburn