Thank you for the at-home feeling

Published 10:18 am Monday, October 4, 2021

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Since I was in the fifth grade, I always wanted to work for the news. I remember the day that I came to interview for Shelby County Reporter. I was heading to Columbiana and all I saw was grass, trees and cows.

I knew this had to be a joke. I thought I was back home in Conecuh County.

But as soon as I arrived in the city of Columbiana, I knew everything was going to be alright. Once I got out the car and walked in, I was welcomed with a smile from my future Sales Manager Rhett McCreight.

After the interview, I knew this was the job for me. Every day for two weeks, I kept waiting for my future job to give me an offer. I already knew the position was mine because God had already told me.

I was just waiting for the general manager to give me the call. The day finally came, and I received the email. Less than five minutes later, I accepted the job.

When my first day got here, I showed up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and dressed like I was coming to work for a major law firm. I wanted to make an impact and show my new place of work that I cared.

From day one, I was welcomed with open arms by everyone here at Shelby County Reporter.

But I quickly realized it was more than just my coworkers that were going to have an impact on me.

I was also welcomed by numerous local businesses and restaurants that I went to for lunch every day. I made sure that everyone throughout Columbiana knew me as “NeeNee.”

It got to the point that as soon as I called a restaurant, they answered the phone saying “Hey, NeeNee,” while also learning my orders.

It was those moments that truly made me feel welcome in this tight community.

While at SCR, my coworkers soon became my family away from home. Over the past two years as the marketing assistant, I’ve grown as a person, learned so many new skills and met wonderful friends that I’ll never forget.

The day, however, has arrived for me to say farewell to the little news building on Main Street and the people who keep it running as I head off to my next venture in life.

I want to thank everyone at the Shelby County Reporter from the bottom of my heart for this opportunity, and thank you to everyone in the communities throughout the county who made me feel welcome.

From day one, you all have treated me like family instead of an employee, and for that, I am so grateful.

You all made this workplace more than just a job. Thank you, Shelby County Reporter, for everything. I’ll carry the things I’ve learned here with me to my next adventure, and I’ll always look back on this experience.

Today, I leave here knowing more than when I arrived. More importantly, I leave with friends I once called coworkers. Thank you for being more than coworkers.

I will miss working with each of you. Starting a new chapter is always challenging, as it begins by ending one.

Thank you for all the lessons, the laughs and the time we’ve shared. I will always look back at this chapter with fond memories. May the next chapter be equally rewarding for each of you. I look forward to continuing our friendships and I wish you each the very best.

Darniqua “NeeNee” Bowen has been a marketing assistant at the Shelby County Reporter since 2019. Her last day was Friday, Oct. 1.