In the summer of 2006, I went to my boss, TIME managing editor Rick Stengel, with a pitch. “I want to cover the workplace,” I said. “I want to write about cubicle psychology and office etiquette and working parenthood. And I want to write about it in a blog.”
Blogs were brand new in the olden days of 2006 at Time magazine. A handful of us—the TV guy and the art guy and a gaggle of Washington hands—wanted to try our hand at posting daily notes on our beats. We didn’t ask for extra money or fewer assignments from the magazine—just the privilege of covering our beats on our very own Time.com real estate. There was much talk of branding and new journalism. The boss was game.
And so began Work in Progress, a blog about life at work and the work of life. I wrote about treadmill desks (which my friend Belinda Luscombe recently covered in the mag) and things I don’t love about working from home (dog farts). Sometimes, my posts led to stories in the mag, such as this one about video resumés and this one about working with jerks (somehow I got away with using a different word in print). Other times, my posts got other blogs all hepped up, such as this one about how my company made me look at porn, or this one about how I don’t really hate my dog. (Tragedy: your loads of comments were wiped out when we switched platforms recently.)
As time went on, WiP became the best thing about my job. Truly. Know why? Because, to me, a blog is like a conversation. Where Swampland is a virtual mosh pit, WiP was an office kaffeeklatch about nothing and everything. Like most print journalists old enough to remember a day without Internet, this blog was my first experience talking directly to readers—asking what you thought, getting to know your stories, snorting with laughter at your comments. The WiP community was never huge but always loyal and smart, and hanging with you guys was like living “The Office” without the commute to Scranton.
And I can never go back. Journalism will never be a one-way street to me again. So as I embark on uncharted roads toward a new career doing Lord knows what, I hope you’ll accept my continued friendship. If you e-mail me at email@example.com, I’ll put you on my mailing list and let you know when my web site, http://www.lisacullen.com, goes live.
Thanks for being my favorite colleague. We’ll meet again.