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  • Writer's picturePat Szpekowski, APR

Career in your blood?

Do you feel your career is in your blood? I’d love to hear your story. Here’s mine.

As an advocate of hard working journalists and our local newspapers, which serve as the stalwarts of our democracy, I have often wondered what stirred this passion.

As a child, I wrote newsletters for a fan club I started for an NHL Chicago Blackhawks player.

In high school, I was our newspaper’s editor. At my first job in advertising at a Woolco Department Store in Dover, Delaware, my favorite task was meeting with the newspaper rep from the Delaware State News.

On my return to Chicago, my job in the ad department at Belscot Retailers led me to reading and scanning hundreds of local newspapers across the Midwest. I couldn’t get enough.

Then, I became an advertising account representative at the Cardunal Free Press Newspapers in Carpentersville, IL. That small building housed the humming printing press. To me, it perfumed the air.

It's in my blood, literally. I never knew my father. He died just six months after I was born. He was a brave World War II veteran and from what I heard, he was at Normandy Beach. I can’t even imagine what he saw and experienced.

In a quiet moment maybe five years ago, I finally looked at

my Dad’s death certificate. His occupation at the time of his death? It read, “printer”.

It just sank in. That handsome soldier’s gift to me. A love of print and ink and everything that goes with it. Silly? I don’t think so. It’s in my blood. Thank you, Dad.

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