Blurt: Seven Days Staff Blog

NOTE: Blurt has been retired and is no longer updated regularly. For new content, follow these links:

OFF MESSAGE: Vermont News and Politics
BITE CLUB: Food and Drink Blog

« As Goes Japan, So Goes Vermont Yankee? | Main | Fired Conductor Sues Vermont Youth Orchestra »

March 16, 2011

Lt. Gov., Come Work Here!

Picture 3 Dear Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, 

Hello. You don't know me, but I am a writer at Seven Days, Vermont's only altweekly newspaper. I have been following your "Vermont Everyday Jobs" campaign with great interest, although I must admit some confusion about the title of this initiative.

Do you mean to suggest that Vermont jobs are "everyday," like they're boring? Or that there are jobs available in Vermont every day? Because it just kind of sounds like the fortune inside of a cheap Chinese-takeout fortune cookie — "Vermont Fun Everyday Lucky Auspicious Jobs Confucius Happy." But I digress.

As I mentioned, I have been following your campaign to understand the employment climate for today's Vermonters. And I'm into it! I like that you're rolling up your sleeves and getting to it, working a day at some of Vermont's most grueling jobs. Like checking lift tickets at Stowe. It's like a listening tour without the listening. Less listening, more doing!

You've saved lives in the ER at Porter Hospital in Middlebury; you've brought light into homes where there was none, working the line with Green Mountain Power; and you've changed oil as part of a pit crew at Thunder Road. I mean, Vermont Quicklube in Barre. 

On Thursday, you'll be helping Vermonters break the yoke of foreign oil dependence by installing solar trackers for All Earth Renewables. Boy, you must be pooped from all this work.

172265_184789561541418_171004602919914_543460_278054_oLt. Gov. Phil Scott getting his lube on. 

In light of this initiative to understand the lives of Vermont working stiffs, I would like to invite you to work as a writer at Seven Days for a day. We are a locally owned, small business that is continually expanding its reach to meet the needs of a changing marketplace. Or whatever. So, I'm pretty sure we fit the bill for Vermont Everyday Jobs. 

I know it might seem intimidating for someone with no media experience to work here for the day, but trust me, you can do it! I mean, you crushed Steve Howard in the lieutenant governor's race, and we all know that was straight-up trench warfare. Plus, I work here. How hard can it be?

To prepare you for your day laboring at 7D World HQ here on South Champlain Street, I'm providing you with a description of what my average day entails. I think you'll find it instructive and illuminating. 

Wake up around 7 a.m.

Diddle around for two hours reading the New Yorker and the backs of cereal boxes.

Maybe get into the office by 9 a.m. Maybe not. 

Check email. Realize that none of the emails are personal correspondence from friends or admirers. Pout. 

Delete emails. Unsubscribe from nine PR distribution lists.

Check phone messages (don't worry — no one will have called you back for a story). 

Look at schedule. Figure out who might be available go to lunch with you. 

Make lunch plans. 

Think about lunch. 

Make tea. 

Check Facebook

Check Twitter. 

Talk to coworkers about a story idea. Realize story idea is lame as it's tumbling out of your mouth. Pout. 

Roll around on swivel chair. Tap pencil on desk.

Apply hand lotion. 

Complain about the temperature in the office. Go on to complain that every office you've ever worked in is similarly freezing because men control the thermostat. Remember that you work in an office run by women. 

Jot down some ideas for blog posts.

Read the New York Times online. Wish you could write as well as the reporters at the New York Times.

Check Facebook.

Check email.

Call a source for a story. Get voicemail. Leave message. 

Call another source for a story. Get voicemail. Leave message.

 Email friends to ask for story ideas. 

Call another source. Get through. Do an interview (don't worry — this is a breeze. Just don't ask yes/no questions and you'll be good. Also, keep in mind that if the interview doesn't go well, you can just make stuff up for the story).


Here's how you should look when you're doing a phone interview.

Get a first edit back on a story you wrote. Fume at the changes. Leave the office to go sit in your car. Weep. Expectorate. A lot.

Come back to the office. Complain to coworkers about how no one understands your genius. Get blank stares.

Wander around the office. Talk to the salespeople while they're on sales calls. Incur wrath.

Check Facebook.

Check email.

Check Twitter.

G-chat with friends.  

Use bathroom.

Label notebooks.

Read Gawker.

Balance checkbook.

Do some Internet research (just go to Wikipedia and copy whatever they have listed about the topic).

Complain about how the refrigerator in the writers' room stinks. Don't do anything to fix it.

Figure out ways to "build your brand." Realize that your personal brand has about as much cachet as Price Chopper's store brand. Think about a job bagging groceries.

Check email.

That brings you about right up to lunch, and well, we already know what that means — two and a half hours of quality friend time! After that, I'd say your work day is over. You'd have put in a good couple hours at the sentence mill, working the phones and dishing the dirt. And you'd have earned yourself a reporter's fedora, a filthy trench coat and a whisky-tinged nose in the process.

More importantly, your experience working at Seven Days for the day will have shown you how the news is made. It might look like a sausage factory while you're in it, but it's one of Vermont's vital businesses. And we'd be honored to share that with you.

Very truly yours,

Lauren Ober

Staff writer, Seven Days 

Thanks Lauren, now we can understand how those idiot survey questions get developed at 7Days!

The trouble with sardonic humor, and sarcasm generally, is that a good percentage of the population completely misses it. They read you as either a wierdo, a troublemaker or a critic.
Thus I have alienated more than one boss over the years. Beware Lauren lest ye be labled :"not a team player".

God,That's a typical day? How do you do it? I thought I had stress

This is how our Lt governor is spending his time? Why? Is this job really so devoid of actual work that he's able to spend time campaigning while disguising it as work? Dubie never did much when he was in this office either. Why do we even have this office? Start finding some money for Vermont Phil. Better use of your time.

Dear Lauren:

Thank you for your interest in my “Vermont Everyday Jobs” initiative. (The “everyday,” by the way, is meant in the way of “regular” or “typical” Vermont jobs…in contrast to my own job as Vermont’s Lt. Governor, which is typical only for me.)

I’ve learned a lot from my jobs to-date, but I’m definitely not – as you suggest – “too pooped” from the work; in fact, I have plenty of energy left to tackle a day in the life of a Seven Days reporter, if you’d like to have me. From your description, it sounds like fun. I’ll ask my chief of staff to be in touch with you to set this up. I'm looking forward to it.

Lt. Governor Phil Scott

Now you've done it.

With Lt. Guv Scott riding shotgun, now we'll see if Ober can really write anything.

Phil, I suggest that you design the next survey for 7 Days. Somehow I suspect you have a lot more common sense than their last crew of survey designers.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Stuck in VT (VIDEOS)

Solid State (Music)

Mistress Maeve (Sex)

All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2012 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684