Times they are a-changin'

By now, it's no secret that The Evening Sun has a new captain at the helm for the first time in more than 20 years. The newspaper's former editor, Jeff Genung, has moved on to greener pastures, tossing fellow reporter, Brian Golden, the key to the mother ship on his way out the door.

We’re in the midst of change at Chenango County’s hometown daily. Brian has stepped up to the position of Editor in the wake of Jeff’s departure, meaning the person I once called “colleague,” I’m now obligated to call “boss” – Boss Brian more specifically, as mandated in the revised The Evening Sun office manifesto, which Boss Brian has written in blood red and hangs on the wall behind the desk in what is now his office… OK, not really, but it takes time for the new man in charge to adopt their own management style. I’m simply bracing for the worst.

At what seems like the blink of an eye, staffers at The Evening Sun, including myself, have been forced to acclimate to big change that none of us had really prepared for. And as big changes tend to do, it’s put into motion a domino effect of smaller changes, like getting use to the empty cubicle in the reporter’s quarter that Brian left behind when he took a job with more responsibility - and more elbow room. Then there’s the reorder of our usual parking spots to fill the void left in the absence of Jeff’s Nissan (everyone’s car has shifted one space to the left. I would be lying if I said it didn’t throw me off a little).

It's a shift of gears; an adjustment moving as smoothly as such big adjustments can be expected. It’s purely change. And in my years as a cub reporter (now the senior reporter here at the paper, for whatever that fake title is worth), I've learned that unless you're talking about diapers, or about dimes and nickels found in the washing machine, people generally don't like change – that is, unless they control it.

Of course, this isn't a new revelation by any means. Who isn’t familiar with the difficulty of accommodating to change that’s beyond their control? Change we can’t control opens us up a world of “what if’s,” “what will be’s” and “what will become’s.” Our inexplicit fear of change, after all, is about our innate fear of the unknown. It’s the very reason we don’t easily alter our beliefs, our superstitious habits, our daily routines – I’m even reluctant to buy a new brand of socks.

But then again, with every downside, there’s a counterbalancing and much more encouraging upside. With change comes new opportunity, according to the old cliché; “When one door closes, another door opens.” Perhaps somebody new filling the editor’s seat at the The Evening Sun is an open door, a new chance to reinvent, a new opportunity to move in a new direction, and as unpredictable as such major change can be, it’s inevitable. So what else can anyone do but get excited about it?

Maybe the Brady Bunch kids were onto something…

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