[Trombone-l] OTJ Classifieds Ceasing Operations as of April 15, 2019

Chris Waage chris at trombone.org
Tue Apr 9 10:11:26 CST 2019

I first want to say a heart-felt "Thank you" for all the kind words.

It's hard to believe that I have done over 1100 weekly updates to the site,
and that next Monday, I'll be taking down all the ads.

It was an incredibly difficult decision, but with our page views on the
site declining because ad volume had dropped off so much, it seemed like a
disservice to the advertisers.  Over the past three months, we averaged 3
new ads a week.  As of this past Monday, there were only 11 ads.

Oddly enough, the Classifieds cost me a job.  I started working with the
OTJ Classifieds in 1997, just before I was hired by a newspaper.  I was
open with them about the classifieds, and both the publisher and corporate
office felt there was no conflict of interest because it was not-for-profit
and did not deprive the paper of one cent of revenue.

In 2007, the paper was sold to a venture capital group and I had progressed
to senior management, supervising the web site, IT infrastructure, and
classified advertising.  As the new corporate owners planned to centralize
IT support, web site support, and to reduce the classified ad staff to a
centralized telephone service, they used the OTJ Classifieds as a conflict
of interest to terminate my employment, though they also provided a
severance package - somewhat unheard-of for a termination for cause.  I
think they didn't want me to file a wrongful termination lawsuit.

But when I was told that I no longer had a job, I was at first panicked - I
had a wife, four kids, two dogs, a cat, and a mortgage.  The next emotion,
45 seconds later, was "You mean I never have to come back here?"

I had just completed my Master's in bass trombone performance and was
enrolling for DMA coursework, but I had no idea how I could do the work
since UMKC did not offer evening coursework.  Their decision to eliminate
my job allowed me to go back and complete my DMA.

And, oddly enough, the straight-out-of-trade school kid they hired to run
IT after letting me go couldn't handle it, and kept calling me for help.
After four months of this, I had to say "OK - tell the boss that I was
fired, and if you want to know what I know, I now offer consulting services
at $100/ hour, two hour minimum, payable in cash."

They never called again.

The moral of that story isn't that I managed to survive, or anything else.
Re-read the statement "The next emotion, 45 seconds later, was 'You mean I
never have to come back here?' "

NEVER STAY AT A JOB YOU HATE, no matter how badly you fear change.  The
publisher who hired me had watched both of his parents carried out of the
paper on gurneys by EMTs after having fatal heart attacks on the job.  The
stress level was outrageous.

But my then 13 year old daughter summed it up.  About two months after the
firing, she said, "Dad, you've changed since you got fired.  You laugh, you
play with us, you don't yell all the time."


With all that said, all I can say is "Stay tuned" - I have a couple other
projects up my sleeve!


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