I don’t remember when it started.

But sometime in the last four years, more and more of my job has become administrative and less on-the-ground reporting. Don’t get me wrong, I still go out with my notebook, a pen and my badge, but many of the hours in the day are taken up these days by answering emails, strategizing, planning.

And I miss just being a reporter.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to do the base tasks of the job. I went out, notebook tucked under my arm and conducted interview after interview, asked question after question and took photo after photo.

And it brought a smile to my face.

When so much of my day is taken up in the service of journalism but not necessarily doing journalism, it can be easy to forget why I got into the field in the first place.

It happens in every industry.

You get good at your job, you get promoted and one day you’re sitting at a desk delegating tasks and making decisions without doing any of the grunt work, the shoe-leather type tasks that make the whole business go ‘round.

But my parents, who ran a restaurant for 20 years, never became the kind of people that just sat in an office for hours while their employees worked the grill, packed the styrofoam containers or wiped down the tables — they did both.

They’re office was just a retooled supply closet. We painted the walls, retiled the floor, washed the windows. 

My dad would often come home, his white polo shirts stained with grease spots and remnants of soy sauce. And while he might have thrown those shirts away without a second thought, to me, it was a sign that he was still engaged in the work.

And that’s what I always hope to be.

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