Just for the hell of it, let's assume for a moment the Mayans are right and that the world will come to some sort of screeching halt on Friday. Now if we were absolutely sure of this we'd all quit our jobs and spend our last hours with the people we love the most. (Though a few managers I know would not, since the concept of love and human kindness eludes them.)
But the rules of this little game we're going to play this week do not allow you to hang it up and wait for grim reaper. No, you have to stay at your post, doing packages and live shots until the clock strikes twelve. I can see the teases now. "Fireball on the way! After the game!"
So seriously, what would you do if you only had one week left? If you knew that on Friday you're going to come face to face with the great News Director in the sky?
You know damn well what you'd do. You'd be on your best behavior, like a five year old trying to make Santa's nice list by not being naughty. You'd do your best to impress the man upstairs, pulling out all the stops to avoid a trip on the elevator that's headed down.
So this week, just assume we're all checking out on Friday. And try the following:
-Find at least one story that makes the world a better place. It's Christmas, so that shouldn't be too hard. Maybe you'll even find more than one.
-Do a random act of kindness for someone in your station who needs it.
-Put the knives away in the newsroom. No jealousy, no snide comments, no gossip.
-Ditch the bias. Be an actual journalist.
-Help someone in your station. An intern, a rookie reporter, whoever.
-Do every story as if it were your last. Doesn't matter if it's a chicken salad package; put your best effort into it. Knock out a great standup, use tons of nat sound, and write like there's no tomorrow. Literally.
-Praise someone in your newsroom, and do it in front of the staff. A photog who shot some great video, another reporter who did a great story.
We'll all probably wake up on Saturday and the world will still be here. But it might not. Why take the chance? If we're all gonna check out, why not do it on top?
And if we're still here next week, your apocalyptic to-do list might have changed you for the better.... in fact, it might become your permanent to-do list.