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Letting go makes room for growth

I think I am a borderline hoarder. I like to keep what I have acquired. If I remember who gave me an item, I have a hard time parting with it. It's a curse of my sentimental heart. When I see an object that I purchased, I think and feel about the hours I have worked in order to pay for it. Monetary value is appreciated when working hard and living paycheck to paycheck. Being a creative person, I hate to part with too much because something may come in handy working on one of my next project. And I know as soon as I throw an item, sell or give it away that is when I will need it most. There is nostalgia when things remind me of the pleasant past. I really have a hard time tossing mementos especially art work from when my daughter was a little girl. I think about an objects history. It may not mean anything to a person of today but the item may be a key or glimpse of our lives for future generations.

Hard as it may be for me, things are just things. The most painful is losing those I love and admire.

Lately my world is changing and I have had to face letting go.

At work, the office was recently painted and carpeted so everything had to be moved. Shelves and drawers were removed. Being the current longest employee at this location and working in the production department, the stuff meant the most to me. I worked here when we pasted up the paper on the light table and used border tape around each photo. It was hard for me to let go of the old stuff even if it was no longer in use.

I have seen a lot of changes in my 17-year history working at the Wadena Pioneer Journal, from how a newspaper office works to the changes in staff.

On the first day of spring, Steve Schulz, our boss informed us he has given his boss notice of resignation. With spring brings growth and Steve has decided to change careers and will work in administration in the Fergus Falls area healthcare industry.

Steve is originally from Fergus Falls. He has worked in the media for many years. He was the news director for Lakes Radio in Fergus Falls, the station manager for the Lakes 99.5 radio out of Perham, editor of the Perham Enterprise Bulletin and managing editor for the Fergus Falls Daily Journal and in June 2006 he started at the Wadena Pioneer Journal as editor. In March of 2009, Steve became publisher/editor. But he was also crime reporter, sales manager, social media expert and much more. During this time he has been taking college classes online for a degree in business.

Steve is an excellent boss and knows how to manage his employees. He leads by example. It shows with work ethic, he works hard, probably too hard. Steve has trust and faith in his employees, he gives direction when needed but never micro manages. He has given us independence and taught us that we have the skill to put the paper together without him.

When a mistake is made he asks the person responsible to take responsibility and learn from the mistake. If there is an issue with the public, Steve is proactive. He has foresight to solve small issues before they ever develop into big problems. One thing I really admire is when working with opposition, Steve devises a couple solutions prior to discussion. This changes a negative situation to positive, with room for growth.

He is a good listener, who makes time for his staff. His booming radio voice commands respect. I know he would be in my corner if push came to shove. And most important he lets us know we are appreciated.

I asked my coworkers to share a few thoughts.

Lisa Schmidt who has been Steve's right hand as the front receptionist, admires his honest journalism and high standards. Lisa will miss his fun, free-range managing style and discussions about everything, especially football (Steelers Rule) and trap doors. She mentioned she always knew if he was in the building because of his booming voice could be heard through the walls.

Lacey Schik in accounts receivable noted, "Steve is an advocate for his employees and is one of the best managers I have worked for. He is easy going, encouraging and very hard working."

Brian Hansel in the news room will miss Steve's good sense of humor.

Reporter Rachelle Klemme said: "This is my first full time job since graduating from college, and I wasn't even a journalism major, so Steve as the editor/publisher taught me most of what I know about this field. He is the definition of a great boss. He cares about the community, really gets into fantasy football, loves people and hates grammatically incorrect words like 'monies.' His writing and photography talent will be missed. He is the kind of person who encourages you and pushes you to do your best."

Nikki Jahnke in sales will miss Steve's always upbeat attitude about everything. "He never showed negative emotions if something didn't go as planned, he always had a positive outlook and a new idea to try. Because of that attitude I think we all worked harder at our jobs because he was so great to work for! We have such a small staff here and we all work so well together and I believe that comes from great management. We don't feel like employees, we feel like a family. We are so happy for you, Steve! You have worked so hard around the clock for years and you deserve this next step in your life! I know you will miss my emails with endings like 'C U Latrz!' I'm pretty sure that 'grammatically correct' e-mail was intended for me but thank you for not pointing fingers! LOL."

Salesperson Bette Johnson writes, "I first met Steve when he interviewed my husband Randy and I about an article he did on Randy being related to Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots. I was asked to come to work at the PJ after the tornado as they were short staffed in the sales department. It was a busy time with long days but fun at the same time. Steve was amazing as he took control of the situation and the paper never missed a beat putting out one great paper after another in the weeks to follow informing the public every week of the changes going on in Wadena. Steve has been a wonderful boss and I will miss him very much."

Web coordinator Cara Newberry said, "In the few months I've been here, he has been a wonderful mentor. Steve is always there with advice and support for projects I'm working on, whether it be on the computer, reporting, public interfacing, or photography. I want to say thanks for giving me the chance to be here, and for believing in my abilities and giving me a sense of confidence."

As your staff, we are happy for you and wish you luck on your new endeavor. Steve, always know how much we appreciate you. We will miss you. Yes, it is hard letting go.