By Bex Peterson, Editor-in-Chief
Fun fact: This issue was a mistake.
Not the content, the content is fantastic. In fact, the content is especially fantastic given the fact that this issue was a mistake. My team pulled together a great paper under tough circumstances—the thing is, they shouldn’t have had to.
You see, every year around this time the Canadian University Press hosts a national conference called NASH that the Other Press attends. Every year I’ve gone, we’ve had to put out an issue the following Monday, meaning I spent much of my time working through the conference. It was difficult, it was irritating, and it took away from time I could have spent going to panels or socialising with other papers.
This year, I had a chance to break that terrible cycle… and I didn’t.
“This is what we always do,” I told myself. “It’s important to have an issue on the stands for the first week back. I did it when I was a section editor and an assistant editor; it should be fine.”
This was a mistake.
The entire conference I saw my team stressing out about tracking down articles and meeting deadlines, staying up late and working between socials and sessions. I didn’t have much time to work either, and it was incredibly difficult trying to manage things while keeping track of NASH-related events and preparing for the annual CUP plenary. Getting the issue together was a stressful slog, and it didn’t have to be.
I apologized to my coworkers at the conference, and I plan to apologize to the newsroom tonight. I made a bad decision—an understandable decision, and one that has been made many times before, but still a bad decision. It happens. The important thing is recognizing it and holding yourself accountable for it.
I think a lot of people are afraid of admitting when they make mistakes. It’s understandable; it’s never a comfortable position to be in, realizing that you made the wrong choice, especially if it impacts other people. Buckling down on your mistake and refusing to acknowledge it or apologize is a natural response. A friend once told me a story from when she was a young kid: She realized she’d hurt her friend’s feelings by accident and reacted by doubling down until she made her friend cry.
“I have no idea why I did that,” she told me. “I was just so embarrassed.”
When you realize you’ve made a mistake, you have to give up a certain amount of pride and control to admit it—even more to apologize and to promise to improve. I find it’s a lot easier to do if you get into the habit of recognizing your mistakes and apologizing on the regular, even over little things. That way when it comes to the big stuff, the hurtful stuff, you’re already well-practised at recognizing your own faults and flaws and you have the language to apologize effectively.
So, to my excellent Other Press staff: I’m sorry. Thank you for getting this issue together, and I’ll do everything I can to warn the next Editor-in-Chief so this never happens again.
Until next issue,