Investigative reporter Thomas Caywood received only one small raise in his seven years at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, while his paid vacation benefit went from three weeks a year to two. Invited by new owners to stay at the paper, Caywood told Telegram publisher James F. Normandin that he’d stay put if he received a 3% raise and went back to three weeks paid vacation.
“The meager raise would barely be noticeable to my finances,” he told the boss, “but it’s vital to me that I see some tangible evidence of this commitment to quality journalism of which you and [T&G owner] GateHouse speak.”
The publisher said corporate wouldn’t let him negotiate, so it was take it or leave it.
“I left it,” writes the 44-year-old reporter.
He resigned last Tuesday without another job lined up.
I asked Caywood about his resignation and he responded via email [with my boldface]:
To answer your questions from yesterday: I have a reasonable savings and no major debt, so I’m not in any immediately jeopardy of destitution. I’ll be looking for work, of course, but I can get by without it for many months with a some austerity measures. I’m not married and don’t have any children, so I was only putting myself at risk when I resigned.
I didn’t leave the Telegram & Gazette with any hard feelings and my departure was not intended as some kind of provocative “fuck you” gesture. The publisher is a likable guy, and our meeting was cordial. I wish him and all my former colleagues well under the GateHouse ownership. I loved the job and was one of the T&G’s most-ardent promoters and defenders in the city. But I just couldn’t avoid any longer the unwelcome truth that I valued the job more highly than the company valued me.
* “I no longer have a job or health insurance. But whatever” (Thomas Caywood)
* Ex-colleague: “I will shave my head if you reconsider and stay” (storify.com)
* Thomas Caywood on Twitter (@thomascaywood)