My New Job

Yesterday was day one for me at Men’s Fitness

Now, I know what you’re thinking. What are the words ‘me’ and ‘fitness’ doing gallivanting in the same sentence? How odd.


Yesterday was day one for me at Men’s Fitness

Now, I know what you’re thinking. What are the words ‘me’ and ‘fitness’ doing gallivanting in the same sentence? How odd. How inappropriate. Still, here we have it. Yesterday I started my latest gig as Web Producer for Men’s Fitness Magazine (American Media). And yeah, I know what else you’re thinking. Didn’t Stephen proclaim he’d never go back to the work-a-day world? Yes he did, but…

I admit it; when I chose to shed my corporate coil back in March of 2006, I stamped that move with the mantra, “I will not ever go back.” I meant it then and I still mean it now. No, this is not contrary to the fact of me taking this new job at American Media. Let me explain. What I meant by my mantra was that I was thru with the negative ambition and rampant politics of corporate life.

As for the actual working everyday, people have this strange notion that the word freelance somehow means freedom from responsibilities. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard folks say things like, “Oh Stephen can stay out all night, he’s not working.” And I’d think, “Are you plain nuts!?” No one appreciates the amount of effort it took during the first year to hustle for work, do that work and then beg to get paid.

For the second year, I was been able to breathe easier as my time was monopolized by a single client in the Hearst Corporation. Forty hours a week, every week leading to a steady paycheck made me realize how much I needed that stability in my life. Not to mention reminding me that I actually like the digital publishing world. The turbulence of 2006, relative calm of 2007 and wisdom found over time put me in a place to accept the idea of permanency.

So when American Media called with this opportunity at Men’s Fitness, I had to check it out. Well, OK … to be honest, I didn’t jump right away at the idea. I admit for a brief time that I was giving in to the ‘losing my freedom’ myth. Plus, the damage done to my enthusiasm for the full-time world by Hachette Filipacchi Media way back when still haunted me. Thankfully I got over it.

So what is this opportunity about? Well, here we have this magazine with a website. They needed someone to get all of the components of the site working together in harmony. Audience building, editorial, marketing and technology. That’s where I come in. I’ll be managing projects and procedures. Things, not people. Generally speaking, things cannot talk back (if done properly). So none of that wretched politicking.

What I like most about it is that I’m handling one brand, one goal. In the past I’ve been forced to juggle so many brands, that the stress of trying to keep up with it all would make me physically sick. Of course I always managed to keep up with it all, but who wants to live like that? I’d rather have a work day where I can go home with a feeling of accomplishment.

There were plenty of other reasons for me to take this job. Health care, stable income, security and less hours worrying about finding where to dig up my next paycheck, leaving me more time to write and relax. It also helps that I’ll be working for two people who not only worked with me in a past life, but were people I liked working with. Plus they left that world around the same time and for similar reasons as I did.

So there you have it. My mantra in full effect as I move forward. So, wish me luck. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn a thing or two about fitness and I can stop hiding my arthritic limp in the office.


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