This way to the egress for NYTimes’ Greenhouse
Famous 19th century showman P.T. Barnum posted signs that read “This Way to the Egress” when he noticed people were lingering too long at his exhibits. He reasoned, correctly, that many people didn’t understand that “egress” was another word for “exit.”
New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse has used the same title for his goodbye message to his colleagues. He has accepted the newspaper’s buyout.
I’m writing to let you know that I’ve decided to take the buyout after 31 years at the Times. This has been one of the toughest decisions of my life. I love the Times, I love my job, and I love my colleagues here. And I love that every single day of the year people in this building try their hardest to put out the greatest newspaper (and news website) in the world. No bull, it has truly been an honor to work with all of you.
I recently turned 63, and I had always thought I’d stay at the Times until age 68 or so. And I had even told my wife that I’d be happy to stay until 75, if the Times gave me four months off a year. But the Times made a generous buyout offer that was hard to refuse. That and the fact that two good friends — both also 63, both terrific journalists — died over the past few months really pushed me to take this step and begin my next chapter.
Also, I realize that I need to slow down, at least somewhat. I work too damn hard — that’s my fault, not the NYT’s. I’m one of those jerks who is entitled to five weeks’ vacation, but who usually takes just two weeks. Now maybe I’ll finally take that trip to India or China or South Africa or Machu Picchu — places I’ve longed to go.
As for my next chapter, I plan to write another book for Knopf — yes, about workers — and I hope to continue writing some for the NYT, but this time as a humble freelancer. I also might do some teaching. And my wife and I will finally get to spend that full month in Provence that we’ve always dreamed of. I also look forward to seeing what else comes my way.
It’s been a pleasure — and an honor.
Stay in touch.
And keep on keeping on with your wonderful journalism – and holding all those damn folks accountable.