Really, it has -- except when it hasn't, which has been fairly frequently these past few weeks. Several recent developments have cemented my stance that this year will be my last in Jakarta.
The Head Swede is gone and the Head Geordie looks set to follow him in December, if not earlier. The newsroom's leading redhead isn't having her contract renewed next month, so that's another pair of hands we'll be short. Is anyone coming in to replace her? No one can say. That's three out of the four people I like who are regularly in the office who are confirmed to be gone at some point this year. We'll also be losing 75 percent of our copy desk in August and have to coach up a whole new bunch ... assuming said bunch actually arrives.
Then there's the paper itself. Fearless Leader is more determined than ever to shoehorn in more of God's Pet Projects into the print product, and his malign influence is spilling over into other sections. Knuckles were rapped after we dared to run an investigative piece as our Sunday cover story rather than yet another day of Charmin-soft coverage of the local jazz festival (which just happens to have one of our publishers on its board of directors). Any pretense of independence is long gone; we're a Parent Company mouthpiece, same as everyone else. I don't care if other outlets in Indonesia have it worse -- that doesn't make our situation any less bad. What's worse, it's hard to care about the product when quality is so clearly secondary to those running this joint.
Oh, and did I mention the bump in my housing allowance I was promised is now off the table? Supposedly there's still a pay increase coming my way ... assuming HR ever puts a contract in front of me to sign. I, not surprisingly, am not hopeful.
I'm not of a mind to deal with this anymore -- not that I can't, but I won't. I've given this place twice as long as I've given any other full-time employer, but enough is enough. Anyone who's paying attention knows we're being stripped down and turned into a slightly more colorful version of our main competitor (and it's not because they're wildly successful -- it's because they're cheap). That's as good a signal as any that it's time to move on. I'll miss a handful of people here, but I definitely won't miss Jakarta, our management or having the rest of the organization actively working against us. I need to look out for myself, and that starts with removing myself from a bad situation.