North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL


May 27, 2014

Danielle Cater: ‘Girl in the front’ loves her job

NORTH JEFFERSON — I’m 33 years old. Yes, I just admitted that. The reason I throw this fact out there so freely is that I have now, officially, been working for the North Jefferson News for over 10 years. That’s right, almost 1/3 of my life has been spent behind this desk. (And yes, I’ve had the same desk all 10 years.)

When I was first hired on at the newspaper I had worked at a daycare/school for five years and had just completed my college education with a bachelor’s degree in Christian education. I was hired on as the office manager, but there was no one to manage. It was just a fancy title to make me feel better about being a secretary.

As the years rolled on, I watched employees come and go. I watched my bosses come and go and yet, here I sat, still at my desk in the front of the office, trying to help every customer who came through the door.

After about seven years, our general manager took a different career option and my publisher called me to a meeting. I thought he was going to ask my opinion of who should take over our location as manager. Would you believe he actually asked me to be the general manager? Up to that point, I was frequently refered to as the “girl by the door” or “girl in the front office.” But what made the difference is that I had been that girl for 10 years and I was starting to really grab hold of the way things functioned around here.

Through the years I had been a photographer, sports editor, columnist, ad sales representative and many other extra positions while maintaining the title of office manager. If you work in a small office, then you can attest to the point that everyone must know how to do everything around the office, or it would sink the first time someone got sick or took a vacation.

Of course there were times I wanted to throw in the towel and storm out the door. I’m still human, and I don’t know any human who hasn’t wanted to quit their job at some point. But thank God I didn’t.

As I sit here writing this column, my heart is warmed to think of the people in this office who share their day-to-day lives with me. We spend more time together than we probably spend with the members of our family. We are an office of only four employees and when you deal with numbers that small, it’s important to have unity in the ranks. We have to help pull each others’ load quite a bit around here, and I am blessed with the absolute best partners to take on this task.

We’ve made it through office fires, fights, laughs, long nights, election seasons and even early deadlines while maintaining our center of friendship. There is a respect that

each one has for the others in this office and it’s truly refreshing to be a part of it.

We have stories that we will tell for years to come, and we have stories we will never share again, but through it all, these guys have published a great product and I am so proud to put in 10 years with the North Jefferson News.

So, yes, I am still often refered to as the “girl by the door” but I take it as a compliment. I didn’t want an office in the back, I wanted to stay here in the front so that I see our customers when they turn in circulation renewals. I want to continue to answer the phones so that I can help our customers in any way I can.

We each have a purpose in life and I have been blessed to spend the last 10 purpose-filled years of my life with this newspaper and with this great staff. If God blesses, I’ll still be working here for many years to come.

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    A sad scene took place on Sunday at a church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The founding pastor of Calvary Chapel stepped down from his position of head pastor due to “moral failing which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church.” This church is home to over 20,000 members who worship together in 10 locations across Florida.

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  • Danielle Cater: Old dogs can learn new tricks

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  • Commentary: Bad vacation attitudes won't last forever

    In these photos, everyone else in the family is smiling as if this were their favorite vacation of all times, but I am huffing with my arms crossed and a literal frown on my face.

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