A Quiet Office Is a Busy Office…Sometimes

It seems counter-intuitive, but sometimes, the best time to be in the office is when lots of others are on vacation.

August is a notoriously quiet month in journalism, especially in a Washington bureau. Congress is out of session, the President is on tour, the primary elections are basically in a holding pattern. Long story short, the office is very quite nowadays, and more and more people are going on vacation. My editor aptly calls it the Vanishing Bureau Act.

These quite days are double-edged swords. A quieter work environment allowed me to work on my own projects, like contributing more articles to Newsfeed as well as update LinkedIn, get active on Twitter, and keep up on the news.

But when there aren’t a lot of people around there’s still some work to be done. I had the opportunity to do assignments that normally are done by paid reporters. I’ve been honing my skills at interviewing and reporting while investigating various national, political issues. I can’t say much more than that until the articles run, but I hope over the next few days, with only two days to go before I have to leave to go back to school, I will have published an article on TIME.com that has national consequence. I was also given more responsibilities for the print edition, though understandably, more late-breaking stories pushed mine out of the running for publication.
Writing about OK-Go’s latest music video or the karaoke cab is fun, but it’s not quite the journalism I want to pursue in the future. This week gave me the chance to do some more of the work I hope to be doing after college.

A smaller office means everyone gets a heavier workload (unless there’s nothing to do. Multiplying a million by zero still equals zero). But there are opportunities to be had for those who are willing to step up to the plate.