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Of milestones, evaluations and holiday thoughts

November 20, 2005|By Tim Shea

I really don't have one topic to write about in this week's column, so I'm just going to put a few things together here.

· A significant event occurred at The Herald-Mail for me on Nov. 6.

No, it's not that I finally passed my literacy exam. Instead, it was a day to mark a milestone - my five-year employment anniversary at The Herald-Mail.

Since this day fell on a Sunday, I ended up being at home when the official time of the anniversary hit. So I celebrated by watching my fantasy football team get trounced. What the heck was I thinking starting Chicago's Kyle Orton at quarterback anyway?

So I received my official celebratory anniversary cake on the Friday before. It is a nice gesture that The Herald-Mail does this for its employees every five years. At other places, you probably will just get a pat on the back and somebody saying, "You mean you actually have been here that long?"

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The cake was nice, but I really was hoping to be awarded my weight in Doritos and/or Hostess snack cakes. But I guess the cost to rent an 18-wheeler for a day wouldn't have been cost-effective.

In a related matter, Executive Editor Terry Headlee was given his own parking space for the month of November. Supposedly, this was awarded to Terry under the guise of being named "Manager of the Month." I really think he got the spot for "Having to Be Tim Shea's Direct Supervisor for the Past Two Years and We Can't Think of Any Other Way to Reward Terry for All of the Headaches Tim Has Given Him."

· It's that special time of the year. The holiday season has arrived. Time to see if Santa Claus will be giving you presents if you've been good this year.

At The Herald-Mail, the holidays only can mean one thing - our yearly evaluation forms.

It's a time for self-reflection and a chance to see what I have accomplished and where I need to improve. All done in a convenient, nine-page form that I really enjoy filling out every year.

I usually score pretty well in the job performance categories - editing ability, tackling problems, laying out pages, etc.

But look out below when it comes to some of the other questions, such as teamwork, showing up to work on time and "dressing in appropriate attire for work assignments."

Sorry, my tux has been at the dry cleaner for the past five years. At least I wore my "good" shorts to work this summer.

There's also the part about what I've done to "increase readership" here. Well, that's easy, and that leads to the next item in my disjointed column ...

· As you read this column, I'm on vacation - officially. Usually, I'm just out to lunch.

How does this increase readership? Plain and simple - it gets me the heck out of the way for a week. By removing myself from the equation, I guarantee that this week's papers will be outstanding.

I'm only a day away from Florida. Got to head down to Bradenton to see the folks, Dr. and Mrs. Stormin' Norman Shea. You remember Norm - former Hagerstown Community College president and winner of the prestigious Herald-Mail Person of the Year award. I hear Dad is spending all of his time between rounds of golf campaigning throughout Manatee County for The Bradenton Herald's Person of the Year award.

· Finally, happy 10th birthday to my daughter, Kielen, who was born on Thanksgiving Day 1995. Still the best Thanksgiving I ever had - even while having to eat pizza Thanksgiving night in the cafeteria at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Ten years. Now I know what they say about time going by too fast when the kids are growing up.

Happy holidays.

Tim Shea is a Herald-Mail copy editor. He may be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2329, or by e-mail at tims@herald-mail.com.

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