Adamczyk: Why they won't let me speak to graduates

Ed Adamczyk

If Mr. Sean Spicer ever passes through Western New York, I’d be pleased to buy him a beer, and I suspect he would not object: his wife Rebecca is senior vice president of communications and public affairs for the National Beer Wholesalers Association. Mr. Spicer was the presidential press secretary until yesterday, when he resigned, apparently in objection to a decision the president made regarding the personnel and structure of the White House press office.

After six months of remarkable degradation from journalists who shouted questions, heard the answers and knew he was lying; lying without knowing it because he was inadequately informed by a president whose demand for loyalty is evidently a one-way street; performing in daily press briefings that were televised live because they had a sitcom’s supply of passion, problems, getting deeper and deeper into jams, humor in the disbelief of journalists who were being fed that specifically Trumpish form of the truth, and a designated schlemiel in Spicer for a star – that delicious Yiddish word used in its literal sense, defined as a bungler/victim for whom nothing works out.

Ever tell someone news he doesn’t want to hear, and he gives you his negative opinion of the situation in a way that suggests you’re to blame for the problem? That was Spicer’s job, every day, and he attempted to wallpaper the issues/difficulty/alleged crimes of the White House with excuses, evasions and lies. I regarded him as a jerk for the first few months, after which I felt sorry for the guy. The poor schlemiel.

So, exactly one day after six months of this stuff, he resigns. CNN told the story of one of their reporters, talking with him at 9:45 a.m. on Friday; nothing out of the ordinary. Within an hour, Spicer was out of work and likely more relaxed and breathing more easily.

It took years, but I got to understand the feeling. If your life is defined by the phrase “trapped in a job,” believe me, I understand. That was me, in a long-term employment situation in which the good outweighed the bad – so I kept telling myself – and which offered me more than adequate pay, adequate health care and the promise of a pension. Nothing to complain about, to be sure, but it Offered Nothing Else.

So I retired, and left that place of employment like an arrow flying from a bow, in search of jobs that required a capability in writing, and I found one. I loved the work, loved the people, couldn’t stand the boss, so after one year I resigned. Just walked away, convinced I could do better. This sort of action surprised even me. It felt the way being reborn in the Lord probably feels, to those who’ve experienced it. Some people experience that feeling regularly, but for me it was new, and a thrill.

I’m the kind of guy who holds onto things: like the French, who prefer 24-hour car races and three-week bicycle races, I’ve known a 30-year career, a 40-year marriage, 15 years in the same car, a lifetime of believing I’ll get in shape someday. Simply walking away because I was fed up was not in my nature, but I tried it and it worked. What a feeling!

It should be pointed out that each of my colleagues in that writing shop eventually did what I did, got fed up and left. That business should have a revolving door installed.

It goes without saying that such an employment move should not be entered into rashly, but it wise to have the capability of knowing which is the last straw and when it is applied to the load. And what to do about it thereafter.

Mr. Spicer evidently had his fill of taking it from his boss and shoveling it out to the press. He was a press secretary without honor, largely because he was the front man for something dishonorable. His reputation suffered because he was the point person for a disreputable administration. As fed up as the press was with him, he was fed up with his job and his boss. So he walked.

I salute him, with a beer, and a statement for newsprint, microfilm and Internet immemorial that like many people, I know how it feels to be in such a position. And I know how it feels to be free of it.


Contact Ed Adamczyk at

Recommended for you