So, I’ve worked here for six months

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2024

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By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

Six months ago, I was in Paris with my grandmother and sister when I received an email that offered me a job with the Shelby County Reporter.

Naturally, the first thing I did was ignore the email as long as I possibly could.

I don’t talk about myself much in these columns, partially out of company policy and partially because I honestly don’t believe my life to be terribly interesting to most people living in Shelby County. 

That being said, here is the cliff notes version of my life six months ago.

I had just received my masters degree in creative writing from American University.

I was sick of Washington, DC, where I had spent the previous three years living, as first an Americorp member and then as a graduate student. While there, I had quickly realized that the sheer number of pigeons and angry intensely political people was really not my vibe.

I was trying to be a teacher.

I wanted to be a teacher because it seemed like a pretty good gig at the time. I would get summers off to work on my writing, I had previous experience in classroom management from my time in the Americorp and I largely find most children wholly tolerable.

Tragically, despite my best efforts and most dedicated groveling, no one was hiring and my dream of teaching was dying a slow and painful death. 

So, on a lark, while scrounging the internet for possible career options, hopefully somewhere interesting and exotic, I found a listing for a job as a staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. I applied, because I had nothing else going on and I figured ‘hey, why not?’

Then I got called in for an interview.

Then only two weeks later I was offered a job, and I was very uncertain on what to do.

I grew up in Birmingham, and spent most of my weekends in Vandiver and Sterrett riding horses and getting up to the best kinds of trouble.

I had roots, family and friends in the area and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I missed having that in my life.

But I was also reluctant to move back to Alabama, because I knew if I did then I would never want to leave. The part of my life where I was adventuring, learning how to live in new places, would be over and I’d be returning to the South for at least the next decade if not the rest of my life.

My brother told me I was being dramatic when I foolishly expressed this to him.

He’s not wrong.

Regardless, I took the job at the Shelby County Reporter, otherwise how else would you be reading this column, and I’ve been around for the last six months.

I’ve covered everything from city council meetings, christmas parades and multiple different kinds of murder and car theft. 

Being back in Alabama, being a reporter in Shelby County has been everything I thought it’d be and also nothing like I could have predicted. 

I love it.

And I’m excited to see where this new year will take me next at the paper.