Column: Bittersweet bye-bye

Media Sales Representative Kathryn Williams says the Chronicle is a place to build memories, experiences and personal growth and she is beyond thankful for the opportunity to call it home.(Courtesy)

When I applied to the position of media sales representative at the Chronicle in December 2018, I was 100% uncertain of what I was doing. I simply knew that 2019 was around the corner, and I needed to make some life adjustments for my well-being. What I couldn’t predict, however, was just how essential this one job would be to my personal growth and college experience.

If you’re reading this column, chances are you’re familiar with the caliber of work the Chronicle produces. If you’re not familiar, I encourage you to change that. Never have I felt so inspired by my peers with talents and interests that are so different yet similar to mine. Everyone on this staff has a unique story and a perspective of their own that make this organization so dynamic. This diversity of thought made my experiences at the Chronicle all the better.

What I’ve learned over the last three semesters while working at the Chronicle is that I’m never done learning. I’ve honed skills specific to advertising, such as how to be client-facing, successfully build business relationships and negotiate and close a deal. These skills are important, but it’s the things you learn and the memories you build outside of your job description that paint the full Chronicle experience.

I’ve worked on special print issues and Echo magazine ads; I’ve worked the Manifest booth, executed housing fairs, attended conferences and workshops, gained social media and newsletter writing experience, written an opinion piece and now my goodbye column. I could not have anticipated any of these experiences, but I’m incredibly fortunate that these opportunities presented themselves.

I’ve learned what I love, what I like and what I could live without in a work environment. I’ve learned how leadership takes many forms and what collaboration truly looks like. I’ve learned to support my team in any way I can, and that it’s okay not to know all of the answers. I now know how to advocate for myself and create boundaries that set me up for success.

None of us could have predicted that our semester would be cut short. I miss the smell of burnt popcorn in the newsroom and the lack of plastic forks. I miss the unnecessary, but actually quite necessary, Panera runs next door. I miss picking up a copy of our newest issue each Monday and sitting at my desk to read, admire and critique it.

The Chronicle’s staff is composed of individuals pouring our greatest ideas and skills into work we believe in. In return, the Chronicle pours right back into us. We’re challenged to dive deep and develop relationships, stories and art. While our process may look plenty different during social distancing, the Chronicle’s spirit remains the same. Thank you to the Chronicle for ingraining this spirit into me; it will last a lifetime.