Claiming Acclaim

The most conflicting acclaim I earned as a journalist at Chicago Tribune was the General Excellence award in the 1980’s conferred by the company on an employee who displayed, well, general excellence.

I didn’t deserve this award the year it was bestowed, at least by my own estimation, which is really all we can go by. The year I received this acknowledgment was a year I burned out. I wasn’t familiar with that term but knew what burned out felt like. Or rather, what feeling nothing felt like.

Generally, I wasn’t excellent. I was a sleepy female in career clothing. My employer wasn’t responsible for this. I was. I worked hard and long by choice. I don’t know why this resulted in a visit to numb-land but it did. I did the work but was oddly, decidedly, most definitely absent. When I learned I was being honored for doing well I might have felt guilty if I was feeling. I wasn’t.

I do cherish this acclaim now. Brushes with fame warrant gratitude for their rarity if nothing else. I just wish I had been there to enjoy it.

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About Mrs. Fitz

Hello! I'm Michele Fitzpatrick, a Chicago writer. Like our town, a work in progress. As a journalist, teacher and writing coach I think all of us live our stories and sharing them creates moments that remind us we're connected. And that is enough.
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