any other time ive been unemployed i’ve had the cushion of an unemployment check. i don’t have that safety net right now.
i’m also no spring chicken on paper. perhaps 2x the age of those who i am competing against who probably will settle for 1/2 the salary that i feel i deserve.
why do i deserve a good fee? because i produce 5x the miracles of the others.
blogs existed at the LA Times before i showed up, but they sure seemed to flourish while i was there. luck? was it lucky when i was placed on the politics blog and moved the needle from a half million to a million to two million to three million over a matter of months?
LAist was around before i got hired but when i left we were quadrupling the LA Times’ best blog despite the fact that I had a $500 budget a month (and no deadlines).
the Academy had social for years before i came on board, and magically the increases there were in the thousands of percentages. when the social media giants were invited to the Oscars, somehow i ran circles around them. live. alone. unfettered. the joke was they were gonna steal me away.
if you bring 4 people to an event and i outperform all of them, aren’t i 4x more valuable? don’t i deserve 2x what they command?
but not everyone sees it that way. some things, i assume they think, cannot be measured so easily. and often that is indeed the case. but other things have metrics and like shakira’s hips, they seldom lie.
i am not saying that i haven’t been lucky. i have. in huge ways.
i was lucky to be available to run LAist when Gothamist was able to finally pay an EIC.
i was lucky that outgoing EIC carolyn kellogg was so generous to me and handed over the keys professionally and with love. i was lucky that the staff i inherited were not just ready to rock at a higher intensity, but did so FOR FREE for YEARS with enthusiasm and creativity and vigor and style and insight and love and love and love.
i was lucky that my buddy matt welch was leaving the Times when i wanted to work there and knew who i should write. and i was lucky that i was writing to Meredith Artley, who is one of the secret angels of digital journalism. sent from above. walking amongst us. and who you can expect to see if you make it to the pearly gates. who taught me what class and empathy and professionalism are all about. and i was lucky to work with a staff who was rightfully suspicious about blogs and the emerging digital culture but were also ready to make that tough transition away from the comfort zone of their print-first mentality.
and yes i was lucky that the academy digital was being run by josh spector who knew me via LAist and i was lucky that during that time at LAist i didn’t reply to one of his emails glibly. i was lucky that the day that my former LA Times colleague Veronique de Turenne told me of the Academy job opening, I applied and Josh dmed me via Twitter and said, is this Tony from LAist? yes. yes! all of that was luck.
but the results weren’t.
the results were monster numbers that i have gotten almost everywhere else i’ve been.
i got those results not because im the smartest guy in the room or the best dressed. but because im intensely competitive. and it comes to being a Cub fan during the 108-year drought. seriously.
the Cubs were my life and as long as they sucked, my life sucked. ive had the greatest friends, coolest girlfriends, but there was a giant hole in my heart due to the Cubs sucking year after year. and the only way i could fill a little of that was to find a scoreboard in life — any — and spin those numbers like a defective pinball machine.
a hollow goal, perhaps, but i do admit it was a decent band-aid at times.
right now it’s Sunday. i am reading John 8-11 and Jesus is being grilled by all these people and he’s trying to defend himself and any time he checkmates them with an answer they look to get rocks to stone him. I am the furthest thing from Jesus, but I love the Bible because how relatable is that?
who among us doesn’t feel that when we are on the defense and we think we have replied with the Truth, there’s always a few in the crowd who say, kill him for that! what i love about the Good Book is, here’s a book that’s supposed to be about Faith and Love and Possibilities and yet even the Son of Man, the embodiment of God on Earth, had a hard time talking to people so that they understood.
as the kids say: SAME!
the bible also says don’t worry, consider the lilies of the field. so i will keep knocking on doors and submitting resumes and hopefully soon someone will say
wait, is this really LAist Tony? you really want to work with us?
that is the luck i need right now.