Quitting has been on my mind lately. No, I’m not giving my notice here on the Editorial page of E&P. I won’t say that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind once or twice over the past three years. (Just ask my husband, Publisher Mike Blinder.) The ride hasn’t always been smooth.
The “quiet quitting” trend sweeping corporate America has been the subject of many articles and discussions. I have to admit that I don’t understand it, but I have to push back against those who hold the practice up as one that the younger generations — millennials and Gen Zers — have brought into the workplace. If you have spent time in corporate America, as I did earlier in my career, the workplace has always had its share of “quiet quitters.” Maybe they weren’t as prevalent or called out as often, but I expect we’ve all known our share of colleagues who didn’t give a job their best effort. (In my day, they were called “skaters.”)
The quitting theme hit me in the face when we selected this year’s Publisher of the Year. You can say many things about our honoree, Jennifer Bertetto, president and CEO of Trib Total Media in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but you can never say she is a quitter.
Looking at Bertetto — her youth, her lack of experience outside of her current company, her (seemingly) quick rise to leadership status — you may question our choice. Well, hold on to your hats. Bertetto may well be our youngest Publisher of the Year. (I haven’t had time to go back through the many years to verify that.) She has more than paid her dues, shown her abilities and earned her honors. She has the real stuff.
Bertetto came to her current position after working her entire career at Trib Total Media and living her entire life in the Pittsburgh area. She knew her company, her industry and her community well enough to put a plan in motion that would carry Trib Total Media into the future with a reader-oriented, yet sustainable model. But that plan took a lot of sales effort on her part to make it happen. Her entire board of trustees was against her.
Trib Total Media’s chief legal officer and self-proclaimed “No. 1 fan” of Bertetto, Joe Lawrence, said, “She just stayed persistent. She just kept at it. She wouldn’t let them divert their eyes. Most people would have quit. I would have quit,” he said. “They just kept telling her, ‘No, no, no. That’s ridiculous.’ She faced a lot of sexism. There was a lot of, ‘You’re too young.’ She was young, and she was female in an industry that was a lot of men.”
Being young and female in an industry of men can be daunting — and ugly. I’ve been there. Bertetto didn’t quit; instead, she won the board members over and today is busy putting those plans for a sustainable future in place. They may not be all the way there, but one thing you can depend on — Bertetto won’t quit.
U.S. General Douglas MacArthur was famous for saying, “Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.” This resonated with me — probably because I’m at the age where I’m finding wrinkles on my wrinkles. However, after getting to know Bertetto, I can attest that her soul is wrinkle-free, and one thing she’ll never be is a quitter.
Robin Blinder is E&P's associate publisher and vice president of content. She has been with E&P for three years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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