Yes, our own Roger L. Simon is stepping down as CEO of PJMedia — but thankfully sticking around as “Roger the Writer” at the PJM home page and The Tatler.
Let me tell you briefly what kind of boss he was.
In PJ’s early days, we weren’t much more than a collection of bloggers with an ad network. As the company was preparing to launch, and I had no idea anything was going on, my phone rang one afternoon. I was immediately annoyed, because I don’t like to talk on the phone. But I picked it up anyway. The conversation went like this.
“Stephen? How are you? Great. Listen, it’s Roger Simon. Did you get the contract we emailed you last week?”
I’m already liking this guy, because he’s getting right to the point and not wasting my phone. Also, I knew him from his blog and a couple of his mystery novels. “I don’t know, Roger. I delete an awful lot of stuff. What is it?”
“We’re starting a blogger network, and we want you to be a part of it.”
“What do I do?”
“You keep doing exactly what you’re doing, and we put some ads on your page. Four times a year, we send you some money.”
“How much money?”
“That’s still more than I’m making now. Send the contract again and I’ll take a look.”
That’s how the whole thing started, with a quick phone call one summer day in 2005.
The next year was when my thyroid went nuts the first time, and I stopped blogging. I was so hyper and so angry and so depressed, I had absolutely nothing of interest to say. You might argue that I still don’t, but I was so depressed even I knew it. I never posted an “I’m sick” explanation, never called Roger, never said a word — just stopped blogging for six months. But I (ahem) did keep cashing the checks.
I’d broken the terms of my contract. PJMedia, Roger, had no reason to keep paying me. And 18 months later, when PJTV was born, he certainly took a risk bringing me on for an expanded role with the company. But he did.
Any boss who stands by you through that kind of thing is good people, a mensch. That’s the guy I’ve worked for and with these past seven years. And now that he’s laid aside the CEO mantle, I really wish he’d get to work on a new Moses Wine novel.
Hint, hint, Roger!