Courtesy of Schuyler Janzen.

Position(s): 2021 Sales Manager, Summer 2020 Research Committee

Section(s): Business Department

Semesters at The Daily: 4

Whenever I look back on my time working for The Michigan Daily, I’m astonished by how much of my experience happened seemingly by accident. Though I am writing my goodbye letter as the leader of the sales staff in the Business department, things didn’t exactly start out this way.

On a painfully cold January night during my sophomore year, I made my way to a Daily mass meeting with the intention of becoming a sports writer. After successfully making it through the swarm of students trying to sign up for the sports listserv, I happened to run into the first two people who would have a great amount of positive influence over my time here.

Ryan and Anita, if you read this, I hope you both know that I had no idea what I was applying for until about a week after I had been hired. I just saw I was applying for a position that required good interpersonal abilities, so I played up my people skills in an interview and ended up getting the job. I knew nothing about the Business department until I met Ryan and Anita, who spoke so highly of their experience downstairs in the Business office that I figured I wanted to do whatever they were doing if they enjoyed it so much. 

It turns out their excitement was not unwarranted. Upon joining the Business department, I found myself among one of the most inviting and supportive groups of people I have been a part of on campus to this day. I miss seeing Mingi, Kevin and Ryan around campus so much that I earned myself the nickname Mr. Worldwide. But working in a demanding field like sales is no joke, especially for a student. I would have quit 100 times over out of frustration if I didn’t have someone like Analise to answer all my questions and offer all the tips she had picked up, so thank you Analise for being such a great resource and friend. 

Before we continue, I would like to acknowledge my brief stint as a sports writer. Though I never published a story, I will never forget my experience at the single game I got to attend. I had the opportunity to shadow Lily Israel at a water polo game where we sat one row away from the one and only father of Ohio State University, Jim Harbaugh, who was there watching his daughter play. I’ll never forget the picture I sniped of him — I managed to catch him as he was looking directly at me, yet he never knew I was taking a picture. Thank you Lily for the opportunity to catch this priceless moment in my camera roll.

When the pandemic hit a month later, with no sports to write about and no businesses to sell ads to, I feared I had seen the end of a relatively short stint at The Daily. COVID-19 may have pulled me away from The Daily if it wasn’t for a text from Tara asking me to apply for the summer committee. Tara — your text, along with about 400 games of iMessage darts, are probably the main reasons I’m still here in the Business department. Thank you.

My acceptance into the six-person summer committee alongside great people like Erin, Jack, Julianna, Zack and Tara is just another practically accidental event in a series of lucky opportunities that gave me the experience I have had over the past two years. I learned so much about the organization during that summer that I have carried with me into my position as sales manager. 

Most of the rest of my story here involves sitting in my apartment last year frantically scrambling to figure out how to do this job remotely. James, without your knowledge and guidance, I have legitimately no idea how I would have put together anything near a competent sales strategy. Your patience and willingness to help out me or anyone else whenever we were struggling is probably the only reason any of us are still here. 

To Claire, Jack, Brittany and Tara: I could not have imagined a better Edit/Business leadership team to work alongside this year. Your constant efforts to unite the paper and bridge the gap between our departments will have lasting effects years after we’re all gone.

Returning to the office this year has been both a blessing and an enormous struggle trying to figure out working in person again. I’m so glad we had the opportunity though, because without it I wouldn’t have been able to get to know Katie, Aaron and Anna, who give us seniors hope that the Business department and Wolverine Media Group will be in good hands once we leave. 

The Daily has been the best surprise of my college career. Thank you to everyone who shared this experience with me in one way or another.