Six months after beginning my first job in the publishing business, an unexpected difficult decision landed in my lap (actually on my desk).
As production editor of a magazine serving the booksellers’ industry, the annual convention issue was ready to go to press. Then a dock worker’s strike intruded, threatening our ability to get the magazine to the post office on time. The urgent problem was getting a very expensive insert to the printer immediately. Unfortunately, the many boxes containing it were stranded on a semi truck on a dock where workers were striking.
Our printer was urging us to go to press without the insert, informing me that unless I approved getting it to press immediately it may miss getting to the booksellers before the convention. Most publishers invested extra time and money in this most circulated issue, and this center insert was very valuable and expensive. It was announcing and describing a new version of the Bible.
The pressure was on and the decision was all mine, especially since the owner/managing editor was in a hospital having serious surgery. His doctor did not allow any calls.
My prayers were unceasing that the strike would end but when I called the shipping company they said there was no way of knowing and the strike probably would go on for days.
My coworkers were glad the decision was mine and not theirs. Of course, most offered their opinion, but all said it was up to me. The printer called several times a day urging us to go to press. And I kept praying for the strike to end.
Then it did end … our boxes were unloaded with speed and delivered to the printer. The magazines arrived before the convention and things were back on track. My prayers were thanking God for getting all things resolved. The pressure was off.
Or so I thought. My boss asked his secretary to tell me he was well enough now to meet with me. He was home from the hospital and wanted me to come to his home. I was worried as I drove there. He told me others on his staff had felt I should not have held up the printing and he asked if I knew that.
”Yes,” I admitted.
“Why didn’t you take their advice?” he asked in a firm voice. Even though he was in bed, recovering from surgery, he still had a way of intimidating me. At that moment, I feared I had made a mistake and would lose my job.
“Very glad you didn’t. You made the right decision,” he continued before I could answer. We could have lost a good, long-time customer and we would have been out a lot of money. I wanted to thank you in person.”
As I returned to work, I again said a prayer of thanks. Then tackled the next challenge with a bit more confidence.