It may be April, but I’m not fooling - it’s goodbye from me

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It’s April Fools’ Day, but this is not one of those spaghetti grows on trees tricks.

By the time you read this column, I will have ceased to exist - at least, as a journalist at The Star.

I will have jumped ship, chuffed off. Headed to a new horizon, knotted hanky-on-a-stick slung over the shoulder that has not been rendered frozen by decades of scrunching a phone to my ear whilst typing.

I’ve been a journo for over three decades. I started as a raw, green recruit of 17 on the South Yorkshire Times, traipsing the streets of Rawmarsh in search of pub tote numbers and Derby and Joan raffle winners. I worked my way up a bit. I’ve spent 15 wonderful years at The Star, and pretty-much loved every single day of my entire career.

Journalism is a job like no other. You can go anywhere, try everything, speak to anyone when you’ve got your press hat on. And don’t take any notice of those voicemail-intercepting national hacks waving chequebooks; we in the provinces care about truth and honesty.

I’ve particularly relished my last 12 months writing this supplement. When I started on Business Monthly I did feel uncertain. The world of commerce and industry has a stack of VIPs. And a language all of its own.

But underneath the jargon, and the politics of people-Jenga, you’re all human. And finding out your stories, of how you made it, how you almost didn’t and what drove you on, has been fascinating - and my privilege to tell.

This region has long been depicted as the slag heap the pit closures left behind. But these last months, I’ve discovered how wrong that label is. This is a region fair bristling with creativity, ingenuity and hi-tech innovation; you are an inspirational bunch; you find the answers to problems. Hard labour may not be what drives our industries now, but the people running them are unafraid of grafting.

In fact, my departure is all your fault. You go-getting entrepreneurial souls have set a little fire beneath my feet. You made me realise it was time to pack up my skillset in that spotted hanky and go and try self-employment myself. And that, if I don’t do it now, I never will.

I plan to spend time helping my architect husband’s business to go to the next level (you remember Bloke?). And I will be helping you all to handle people like me. Or the one I was. See you on the other side!