Previously, on "From the Morg"...

Seventh rule: Give everyone you meet the benefit of the doubt at first. Go in to new situations with an open mind and a clean slate. If you treat someone with respect and get crap flung at you, itís entirely their problem, not yours. From there itís up to you what course of action fits best.

And the Eighth and final rule: When thereís nothing else you can do, laugh. I canít stress this enough. Remember a lot of things and people in life are petty, whatís the use in becoming part of that? Keep smirking and youíll confuse a lot of people who donít think they have a reason to.

This is where I choose my course of action. This is where I keep smirking. I feel a bit like Matt Hardy at the moment, right down to the Punisher shirt. If you don't know who he is, don't worry - that's why they call them inside jokes.

I had a great job, that I loved. That is well documented. For the record, I had a column in the Wanganui Chronicle's 'Whatever' page, purposely aimed at appealing to the youth of Whanganui. I hit notes with people from the get-go, my debut article helping to spark up the District Council's youth initiative. I brought humour and topics of interest every week without fail.

Meanwhile on the rest of the page, a married balding guy living in London wrote in every week about meeting minor UK celebrities and his wife getting breast implants. A girl now living in Palmerston North settled most of the time to drivel like a diary she's getting paid for. 'News' items ranged from releveant (local bands, teen drinking) to cheap tabloid snippits about celebrities people stopped caring about 10 years ago accompanied by giant space-filling photos.

I amassed quite the fanbase. People I would never meet otherwise would email me or stop me in the street and say that they loved my recent column, that it spoke to them. Still others commended me on speaking up on issues that commonly belong to the 'silent majority'. Even people who didn't agree with things I said were willing to engage me in friendly debate and actually became more avid fans in the process.

The titles I have on my columns here on the ICEsite never made it to print. Instead of "Enter: Sandman", I was billed with the headline "It's freaky stuff when you need that sleep". My Anniversary column was labelled "Happy Birthday to Morgs". Five months late on that one. Instead of "Obstacles to / of Fame", I got "Computer glitches, distractions and comparisons". If that's not rivetting journalistic talent... wait, it's not.

My last, and 50th column "Eight Rules" did not make it to print at all. My avatar, name and contact details were slapped next to honestly one of the worst pieces of professional writing I've ever had the misfortune of reading. That is the last memory most of Whanganui has of me. The next thing I know, I've got an email in my box saying that significant changes are being made to the Whatever page, and 'unfortunately' I'm no longer needed.

Okay, it's perfectly within their rights to drop me. It's a freelance agreement. I knew that going in, but I always figured that losing a job had to equate to poor performance. I've always been self-concious, checking in every month or so to make sure that everything's copacetic. I've heard nothing but good, until after I've been dropped and now apparently there was a high level of reader criticism.

I have to wonder exactly who the criticism was coming from. My target audience? Somehow, I don't think so. The worst I've ever heard from anyone was an anonymous poster over at LawsWatch who said "I was put off by your consistent slagging off of people and things about which you appeared to know very little". That in itself was just darling, but I digress. If I'd been receiving heat from readers to the point where it's a contributing factor in my release, shouldn't I have been made aware of this at the time?

Regardless, significant changes have been made to the Whatever page. It's no longer a cheesey tabloid. It no longer features original content of any kind. It has been stripped of anything interesting or relevant. What's taken its place is advertising and 'teenie-bopper' content. I guess it's a good cost-cutting exercise to cushion recent strike action.

So where to from here? I'm not about to stop writing, though I do feel content in leaving the FTM series at an even 50. The bottom line is that I am now in need of gainful employment, and I'll do my damndest to keep getting paid for doing something I'm 100% into. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who continue to work jobs they hate or are unsuited for, so I don't plan to make anyone suffer due to my lack of motivation. As far as I can see right now, you can look forward to a new series from me here on ICE starting next week - The Hunter Method.

Thank you for joining me.
                                        --- Morgs

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