In any given career there are events that test your abilities, try your endurance and lead you to lose a bit of sleep. For teachers, it might be standardized test time while, for accountants, I assume, it's tax season.
For myself - and, I'd assume, lots of other business reporters out there - it's Black Friday.
Yes, Black Friday, that day-after-Thanksgiving madness that possesses consumers to wake in the wee morning hours, line up outside retail shops and try their hand at getting the best deals possible.
It's fun to watch, for sure, but it's also an adrenaline rush as you scurry from one place to the next, speaking with early birds, dodging rogue shopping carts and looking for those interesting tidbits, all while getting your story in on deadline.
In my years of coverage, I've learned a few things.
Comfortable shoes are a must, for instance, while dressing in layers means you can keep cozy when outside, and shed some off when you reach the warm indoors.
One should always keep one's press pass visible. Otherwise, people think you're cutting in line, and they don't like that.
Black Friday's pesky habit of coming the day after Thanksgiving means there's usually leftover pie, rolls and other snackage around the newsroom for when your groggy self needs fuel to keep on going.
And, above all, that everyone has a story. Today, for instance, I stumbled across a mother-daughter team who's shopped since the daughter was a baby. While Mom began the tradition, the kiddo took over the planning a few years back. I also came across someone whose decision to skip ahead in line led them to a one-year suspension from the store they felt so compelled to enter.
I suppose the point of this rambly blog post - Hey, give me a break. My shift started at 11 p.m. - is that those more stressful parts of a career, the tasks that seem most daunting, are often pretty rewarding.
Black Friday is one of those assignments. It's something I do year after year, learning a little each time around, honing in my craft and, hopefully, coming out with a story that people want to read.
In other words, I came, I saw, I conquered. For this year, at least.
(PS - Want to read through the live tweets from my Black Friday coverage? Log into Twitter and search the hashtag #vtxshop. There, you'll find not only what I was up to today, but what other Crossroads shoppers have to say.)
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