I am not, first of all.
Today marks the end of the Joe Pyrah era at the Daily Herald. He has been my colleague for a year and a half and was my boss for 20 months prior to that.
He was actually my first post-college boss; I got a job offer from him the evening before I graduated with an MBA. I'd applied for this job sometime that spring and kind of forgotten about it, until 1 a.m. one Saturday when I checked my e-mail and found one from him.
I will not lie; the man was a little flaky throughout this whole process, although some of it was not his fault. I got a phone interview because I called him to express further interest. I told him I had another job offer and needed to know before a certain time so I would know if I had a job. I spent one agonizing Tuesday afternoon after he told me he wouldn't get permission from the big boss by my deadline and I had to decide if I was willing to hold out or go with the job offer.
I held out. It was worth it.
My second or third week here, another reporter told me that "birthdays are kind of a big deal around here" and they'd accidentally overlooked his the month before, so we all brought treats (we all on our own brought brownies) and then, in a beautiful anticlimactic moment, plotted our strategy on how to surprise him while Joe walked up behind us and asked what was going on.
He wasn't an aloof boss; he'd go to lunch with the reporters and we spent several very productive hours dissecting various Harry Potter updates.
He (if he were telling the story, he and I) cooked up this plan for me to spend 72 hours in the woods for what became the greatest journalism experience of my life. He then let me borrow a tent and put it up in the newsroom, all in an effort, I assume, to make sure he didn't have to call my mother and let her know I'd died in the mountains.
He almost made me cry once because he put a note in my file after I misspelled a name in a story. Years later, he admitted it wasn't the best day of his life either.
He kicked me out of his cubicle the day I told him I was leaving the newspaper. I took that as a compliment.
He and Amie invoked word-of-the-day and lede-of-the-week contests, which I'm pretty sure inspired me to greater heights of creative yet utterly factual writing. He also knocked the must-write-in-inverted-pyramid broken record out of my head forever.
He tried to talk me into coming back to the Herald after my mission. He had suggestions when I told him I was leaving to start my own business. He congratulated me when I chose to stay.
I've never known the Herald without Joe. What with him being my first boss and all, he's kind of the face I associated with the Daily Herald all these years. It'll be weird to come to work on Monday and see his empty desk, not see his byline in the paper and not be able to turn around and ask a question.
He starts as chief deputy of the Utah House of Representatives on Monday. It's a huge and really exciting step. But I'm really, really sad to see him leave.