March 22, 2009
Goodbye, For Now

The good news: I'm starting a new job tomorrow at Premera Blue Cross as Senior Communications Manager for Media Relations.

The bad news: I'm signing off of the blogosphere for the foreseeable future.

That wasn't an easy decision, but it's the right one, and one that has been under consideration for several months.

While much of the growth of modern news & opinion consumption is online, earning a buck in that medium isn't easy. Short of being a blogger of national scope or being on the payroll of a significant journalistic outlet, you can't make a really good living at it.

I've always been amused by those on the right and left who presume there is some sort of man behind the curtain providing funding for blogs like Sound Politics or Horses's Ass. There isn't, and ads at such sites aren't bringing in even five figures of annual revenue. For my part, I haven't been paid a dime for blogging at SP.

That leaves outlets like Publicola, and even Crosscut and perhaps the SeattlePI.com, relying on contributions and/or "angel investors" to compensate underpaid staff. That's easier said than done (and probably raises questions about objectivity and independence depending on how diversified such financial bases can become). Either way, while I explored a number of options to make blogging work in the wake of my post at the U.S. Department of Education in the Bush Administration, all of them required highly entrepreneurial and financially unstable efforts at consulting and/or creating something like a right-of-center Huffington Post for the Pacific Northwest. For good or for ill, that's not a realistic option for me, with a wife and kids for whom I am currently the sole provider...especially in the current economy.

I owe it to my new employer and my evolving family duties to focus on those responsibilities. Heck, it will take some time to adjust to having the word "Senior" in my title at 33 years of age. On a more serious note, I'm incredibly grateful to have landed a quality job in the current employment environment and am excited for the opportunity.

Meanwhile, it has been an honor and a pleasure to be part of the conversation here at Sound Politics. I remain deeply indebted to Stefan for the opportunity to join the contributors and grow significantly in doing so. I have enjoyed the experience immensely and thank the reading audience for partaking of what I proffered.

Some personal highlights from, in no particular order:

1) The chance to speak on issues for which I have great passion, such as this essay-length post in 2006 on anti-terror policy or recent posts on education here, here, and here.

2) The opportunity to push back against flawed arguments in the local media, this contradiction of Joel Connelly being but one example.

3) Impacting events by driving or accelerating conversations. One high profile example: posts related to Diane Tebelius's run for re-election as WSRP Chair in 2007 created quite a hornet's nest. My original coverage (in part here, here, here, and here) led to additional scrutiny from Stefan, including here, here, and here. Tebelius was dethroned as chair, though not before trying to get me fired from my day job at the U.S. Department of Education, via a less than classy complaint to the White House via the RNC. Needless to say, I was not upset to be the one left standing with a job after that (which is an interesting outcome, if you take the time to think about it).

4) Sharing a personal side...heck, I wasn't shy about a public invite to the small church my family calls home.

More broadly, regular readers by now know my passion for swimming. Likewise, readers who also partake of KJR-AM sports radio know about this blogger's 2005 Bigger Dance contest victory, which led to a number of posts, including this piece of work that was read on the air by a richly bemused Mitch in the Morning. If you read that post, you know a bit of my mischievous side...I was after all declared a "sicko" by Dan Savage of all people.

5) Taking part in the 2008 election cycle. The scope of events in the unique primary and general election seasons, both nationally and here in Washington state, was one for the ages for anyone truly interested in politics. It was an honor and a pleasure to share it with you.

6) Last but not least, I enjoyed immensely knowing that this man fell hard for this April Fools joke.

There are certainly more highlights - or lowlights depending on your perspective. Either way, it has been a wonderful experience and I count myself blessed to have been a part of the leading conservative blog in Washington state. If there is one thing I've learned while blogging, it's that the reach of Sound Politics is well beyond a deep presence in Republican circles. It stretches well into the political & media establishment of our region, which is most clearly not dominated by conservatives. I have heard many generous words of respect for the quality of the product from some interesting people who will not soon agree with a right-of-center ideology.

Looking toward the future, it seems inevitable that there will be emerging voices on the right in the online world of the Northwest. It's simply where the action is at in the modern media environment. That might be in blogs, in might be in some online entity much bigger. Either way, I look forward to watching them flourish.

For those interested, you can still reach me at ericearling at gmail dot com, or via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

In the meantime, I wish all of you in the loyal readership well, and Godspeed. It has been a true pleasure for me and I hope worthwhile for you as well. Take care.

Posted by Eric Earling at March 22, 2009 09:47 PM | Email This
Comments
1. Good Luck with the new job.

You will be missed.

Posted by: David on March 22, 2009 09:44 PM
2. I wish you success with your new job....GOD Bless.

Posted by: Daniel on March 22, 2009 09:58 PM
3. Dittos to #1. But, who's gonna fill the vacuum created by your departure? I don't need to give numbers to tell how often this site will be updated once you stop posting.

Posted by: DopioLover on March 22, 2009 10:05 PM
4. Thanks for all your hard work over the years Eric. I'm sorry you're stepping back but I'm hopeful that one day you'll be able to return. Best wishes.

Posted by: Mike Sheridan on March 22, 2009 10:08 PM
5. Hey Eric -- congratulations on the new gig! I can't say there's much where I agree with you on the political side, but I appreciated your dedication and willingness to engage in civil discussion.

Good luck at Premera.

Posted by: scottd on March 22, 2009 11:05 PM
6. Eric- Thank you for your thoughtful posts about many topics (especially education) and your willingness to engage in civil debate. Good luck in your new job. (P.S. Can you find out why Lifewise won't cover me fully when I go to the Swedish Ballard ER? :) )

Posted by: Bruce on March 22, 2009 11:09 PM
7. Congratulations on your new job! I wish you much success and fulfillment.

You will be missed.

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskjold on March 22, 2009 11:27 PM
8. Best wishes on the new job. Yes, you CAN get a job, even in today's job environment. You just proved it, SENIOR ;-)

Posted by: Michele on March 23, 2009 12:13 AM
9. Good luck, Eric. And while you're there, can't you tell them to fight back against the Physician's Group that's running endless commercials against Premera on KTTH?

Posted by: Angela in Bothell on March 23, 2009 01:03 AM
10. Eric: Best of luck in your new job.
Hope you can still find time to stay involved in Republican politics at some level.

Posted by: Methow Ken on March 23, 2009 04:21 AM
11. Great to hear Eric. It's been a blast.

Posted by: Medic/Vet on March 23, 2009 05:49 AM
12. Have enjoyed your posts and I wish you well in your new employ. You're right - focus on your family and vocation is of paramount importance.
As someone said when you check out of this planet doubt you'll say 'I wish I would have spent more time at the office, or blogging'. Family (& friends) is what really counts. As a local radio personality states 'you are trading your life's energy for remuneration', what's more important (to you, at least) than your 'life's energy'.
Finally, remember you never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul...so ENJOY!

Posted by: Familyperson on March 23, 2009 06:12 AM
13. Good luck Eric. Hope you'll drop in a comment once in awhile, and let us know how you are doing.

Posted by: Unkl Witz on March 23, 2009 06:35 AM
14. Thanks for your dedication to SP, Eric, and all the best in the future.

Posted by: Saltherring on March 23, 2009 07:09 AM
15. No question you will be missed but earning one's way is the way it should be so very best of luck in your new endevor.Try not to be a total stranger.

Posted by: Art on March 23, 2009 07:25 AM
16. No question you will be missed but earning one's way is the way it should be so very best of luck in your new endevor.Try not to be a total stranger.

Posted by: Art on March 23, 2009 07:25 AM
17. Excellent choice, Eric. Seems like a no-brainer to me. You must truly have enjoyed your blogging experience. Too bad you couldn't have been picked up on a national scale.

Posted by: swatter on March 23, 2009 07:32 AM
18. Congratulations on your new job Eric. You will definitely be missed here. Cheers.

Posted by: Palouse on March 23, 2009 07:56 AM
19. Best of luck! I've always enjoyed your posts even though I often disagreed. Hope the new job works out well!

Posted by: giffy on March 23, 2009 07:58 AM
20. Sorry to see you go...just as sorry to learn it was you that took the trip to the swimming championships. I'm a big fan of Mitch and a big fan of SP, but hadn't put two and two together.

Anyway, I've much enjoyed your work over the last few months. Best of luck and for the love of god, go to the World Series next time.

Posted by: Sean on March 23, 2009 08:16 AM
21. Good luck Eric..
Do you have a good Health Insurance plan??

Posted by: Mr. Cynical on March 23, 2009 09:07 AM
22. And Eric, he is a free quote for you to use in your new position. Kind of a "get started" gift:

"If you think Health Care is expensive now...just wait until it's FREE!"

Posted by: Mr. Cynical on March 23, 2009 09:10 AM
23. Great news, Eric...Congratulations! I will miss your thoughtful commentary here, but know that we'll still be hearing from you in one form or another. I'm sending you my very best wishes for success in your new role.

Posted by: Renee Radcliff Sinclair on March 23, 2009 09:19 AM
24. Here's wishing you all the best in your new endeavor Eric.

You timely posts on the topics of the day and your insight will be missed. You deserve a thank you.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on March 23, 2009 09:25 AM
25. Best of luck Eric. You've kept up a valuable head of steam at SP and despite my critical nibblings I salute you and wish you well.

Posted by: Insufficiently Sensitive on March 23, 2009 09:37 AM
26. Best of luck on your new job Eric! It won't be the same here without you.

Posted by: lookoutwife on March 23, 2009 09:46 AM
27. It's good premises, not good luck.

Eric, you should not be making any apologies for your communication skills that are landing you a job in tough times. Good people, with real skills, are always valuable. You contribute to the destruction of real value when you give sanction to the myth that you are lucky, instead of recognizing your hard work that got you where you are. Godspeed.


Posted by: Jeff B. on March 23, 2009 10:10 AM
28. Good luck Eric! You rock!

TJ

Posted by: TJ on March 23, 2009 10:36 AM
29. Congratulations Eric!

You are a wonderful communicator, who writes with style, panache, and a thoughtful appreciation of multiple viewpoints.

Prosper greatly.

--Jack

Posted by: Jack Turk on March 23, 2009 11:12 AM
30. Eric - Thank you for the countless blogs that helped inform, challenge and inspire. Wishing you the best at your new position!

Best regards,
Mike

Posted by: Mike Friesen on March 23, 2009 12:10 PM
31. Good Luck, Eric.

Can you please encourage the folks at Premera to work it out with the folks at Proliance Surgeons. I fear I am going to need some Ortho Surgeries and both surgeons are there.

It's just as bad as having to find a new hairdresser! I want my regular ortho surgeons, and right now, Premera and Proliance are at odds with each other.

Thanks!

Posted by: Rae on March 23, 2009 12:50 PM
32. Good luck Mr Earling. You are going to work for my insurer. A new job, new possibilities.

Posted by: pbj on March 23, 2009 01:15 PM
33. Eric: Congtratulations and good luck in your new job.
While I don't usually agree with your politics, I have enjoyed many of your posts. I hope you can help Blue Cross advocate for people who need health care. This blog will certainly miss you - the other commentators really are not up to your higher standards.

Posted by: correctnotright on March 23, 2009 02:03 PM
34. Best wishes, Eric! I would exhort you to go knock 'em dead but that would be counterproductive in the health care industry.

Posted by: brent on March 23, 2009 02:12 PM
35. Congratulations and thanks for the memories, Eric. It's been truly great!

Posted by: Michelle on March 23, 2009 03:13 PM
36. Good Luck on the new job!!

And, good luck finding a parking space at Premera. I used to work there. Parking is a pain.

Posted by: Michael H on March 23, 2009 06:35 PM
37. Without Earling this blog may go the way of the PI. I can feel 'b-o-r-i-n-g' settling in.

Posted by: slumdog on March 23, 2009 06:44 PM
38. Good luck at the new job. I've been thinking of applying for a job at a major corporation as CEO. My main selling point is that, as CEO, I can run the company into the ground in half the time and for half the money that some of those over-stuffed suits over at AIG and Merrill Lynch would charge.

Heck if you want your company run into the ground and the curent management gets $10,0000,000, fire them and hire me: I'll ruin your company for $5,000,000. What a bargain!

Posted by: Politcally Incorrect on March 23, 2009 08:25 PM
39. Dude. Only 38 responses? You should have mentioned Ron Paul in order to get the numbers ginned up to around 200.

But in all seriousness, going to miss seeing you here. Which is why I'm glad you're on Facebook:-)

Posted by: Don Ward on March 24, 2009 04:53 PM
40. Congrats on and good luck in the new job, Eric. I can only echo the sentiments from the other posters above that your thought provoking contributions will be missed here at SP. Thanks to you and all the other contributors (Shark, Pudge, Jim, Don, Warren, et al) here at SP for your time and effort.
In doing so, you've made this site a regular stop in my on-line adventures (and many others for that matter).

Cheers!

Posted by: Rick D. on March 24, 2009 06:46 PM
41. Best wishes for you and your new adventure. Your contributions to SP were greatly appreciated.

TC

Posted by: tc on March 25, 2009 07:25 AM
42. Congrats, Eric. Best wishes and God bless you in your new job. Looking forward to hearing more from you in the future. You've done great work here and it's been appreciated.

Posted by: Lynnwood Evangelical on March 25, 2009 08:25 PM
43. may I echo the same--best to You & Yours--good analyses--thoughtful writing; much appreciated; you have MANY friends; thanks for your efforts--you'll do well!

Posted by: jimmie howya doin on March 27, 2009 09:13 PM
Post a comment
Name:


Email Address:


URL:


Comments:


Remember info?