Living Well is the Best Revenge

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When F+W Media fired Megan Fitzpatrick on Dec. 5, 2017, there were people inside and outside the organization who gloated over the news. That statement isn’t news. I am qualified to tell you that you don’t get to be the editor of a magazine or newspaper without making a few enemies.

I’m sure their hope was that Megan would leave the woodworking media industry with her tail between her legs. Perhaps she’d get a job in public relations or with a business-to-business magazine. Those are honorable places to land, but they are a step down from the high-wire act that is editing a national consumer magazine.

But Megan didn’t disappear into an invisible job. And today, the shoe is on the other foot.

F+W imploded, went bankrupt and sold off its assets for pennies on the dollar. The people who gloated over her firing were dismissed or have dissipated into the ether.

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Megan, on the other hand, has just had her first article published in Fine Woodworking magazine (April 2020, issue 281). She is the editor of The Chronicle, the journal of the Early American Industries Association – a part-time gig. She is in high demand as a woodworking teacher all over the country. She publishes work through her own imprint, Rude Mechanicals Press, and copy edits Mortise & Tenon Magazine. She dove into commission work and now sells tool chests and other custom furniture pieces. And yes, she does some work for Lost Art Press (plus some other jobs that I’m sure I’ve forgotten).

She earned this work on her own merits, including the work she does for me. (I have a pile of resumes of people who want to edit our stuff. I am lucky to have her.)

As far as I can tell, she makes as much (or maybe more) money than she did at Popular Woodworking. And she’s a happier person, to boot (I am also qualified to tell you that editing a magazine is not a tonic for mental health).

Why am I telling you this? She cannot. She signed a non-disclosure agreement (an NDA) when she left F+W and honors that agreement, even though the company is kaput. I, however, never signed an NDA.

So congrats go out today to Megan. Who survived and thrived after a media company tried to kick her to the curb.

Sometimes, the nice person wins.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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76 Responses to Living Well is the Best Revenge

  1. Rick B says:

    Bravo!

    Like

  2. nrhiller says:

    Amen. Megan deserves all of this and more. She is principled, sharp as a tack, generous, talented, patient, professional, and damn funny. (And–perhaps off topic…and please forgive me, but it’s so true–GORGEOUS.)

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Kara Uhl says:

    Perfectly said about someone I admire to the moon and back, and aspire to be more like (and truly is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met).

    Liked by 2 people

  4. BLZeebub says:

    Ditto! I kept my sub to that rag for one year after she left and it became GARBAGE!!! She and you had that magazine up to snuff and the either/or for advice and reading between FWW and PWW. I looked forward to every issue and devoured it during y’all’s tenure. Good riddance to F+W and bravisimo, Ms. Fitz. Keep it coming, lady and gents.

    Like

  5. twoav8ors says:

    Thanks for the information. The magazine was a disaster after you guys left.

    Like

  6. Mike-777 says:

    Congrats Megan! Looking forward to the reading the article in FWW.

    Chris – in your opinion – if you care to express it here – Is Popular Woodworking in a better position now that it is owned by AIM? Does it have a long-term future as an independent magazine? I kind of suspect AIM will eventually fold PWW into Woodsmith Shop.

    Like

    • Hi Mike,

      I left PWW after my contract expired and have zero inside knowledge of their strategies or budgets. So I have no helpful information.

      Lots of people will speculate on forums and the like about what will happen, but I have found that it’s usually up to the grit of the editors and contributors to make any magazine worth reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That people were gloating is actually news to me. I thought they were merely fools, not assholes. Email me their names. I know a guy.

    I’m very happy Megan stuck with it. We’re all better off for it. And having her first Fine Woodworking article alongside one of Nancy’s — that’s the big time right there.

    Like

  8. Dan says:

    Awesome job Chris! Your speaking of the quality of character that Megan possesses speaks well of your own character and makes me even happier to know that I will be taking one of her classes soon.

    Like

  9. Josh says:

    Yes, indeed. Great post, Chris. My favorite yet in the Lost Art Press R.E.M. song title blog series. Megan is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ryan says:

    Two words… F#@k yeah!

    Like

  11. burningdaydesigns says:

    Hell yes. Amazing to see what Megan is up to and truly inspired by her grit and skill.

    Like

  12. Tommy Reese says:

    I’ve always thought that pop wood was a better magazine, when she was the editor, all of the heavy hitters of wood working had articles there and I consider her leadership the best .

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Richard Mahler says:

    You cannot keep talent down – it will find a way and make its way. Nice is also hard to hide and everyone will know it. Keep it up, Megan! May nothing but the best come your way.

    Like

  14. Sam Cody says:

    Good for you, Megan! As Joseph Campbell once said: “Follow Your Bliss and it will put you on a path that was always there waiting for you”. It’s better to be human than a suit with a tie. All the best!

    Like

  15. Well-effing-done, Megan! Thanks for exercising your non-NDA, Chris. Cheers!

    Like

  16. That is really nice. I like hearing about nice people. Thanks.

    Like

  17. jbakerrower says:

    Sometimes karma works within a lifetime… Good for Megan!

    Like

  18. How many characters can I type into this thing? Not enough to express how great it was to work with Megan when I was writing for her.(and not enough to express how much people can suck.) She was and continues to be one of the most principled and professional, lighthearted and pleasant people that I can call a friend. Congrats Megan! Can’t wait to get my issue!

    Liked by 4 people

  19. tommywolber says:

    But now I know about these great new Craftsman tools I can get at Lowe’s!

    Seriously though, congrats to Megan!

    This comment is sponsored by Squarespace, Craftsman Tools, and a random mattress company. Be sure to like, follow, and smash that notification bell.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. hgordon4 says:

    Awesome. Just awesome. :>)

    Like

  21. This is the best post I’ve read in years! Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Kevin Adams says:

    As John Wayne telegrammed Barbara Walters when people were hoping for her demise as the first female co-anchor, “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” Megan’s intelligence, skill, hard work, and humility are just top shelf. And after all that, she is KIND and that’s worth more than anything in my book. Keep being you, Megan! Cheers!

    Like

  23. Richard Garrow says:

    While I have never had the pleasure of meeting Meghan, she has always taken time to respond when asked a question. Meghan was always nice on IG as well. Meghan is a true trooper and I for one am so happy for her. I wish her all the best as I know she will shine.
    Thank you Chris for letting us all know it is greatly appreciated.
    Richg

    Like

  24. Steve Southwood says:

    She is one of the finest people I have ever met. Good job Megan

    Like

  25. Bob Groh says:

    Thank you for the update. I was a longtime subscriber to Popular Woodworking and enjoyed Ms. Fitzpatrick’s writing, skills and attitude. So very glad that she is continuing on with woodworking.

    Like

  26. coldpie1 says:

    Why on Earth was anyone unhappy about her work at PW? When I heard she was let go, I assumed it was for cost reasons (magazines aren’t doing so hot right now, I think).

    Like

  27. Two reasons I quit subscribing to PW was the spate of firings, particularly Megan’s; plus they seemed to be expanding the power tool focus.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Patrick Kennedy says:

    Hear! hear! and good on you Chris for lauding Megan’s achievements and good works.
    Congratulations Megan for the well deserved article and thank you for inspiring and educating folks in the trades.

    Patrick

    Like

  29. tpobrienjr says:

    Now I have a good reason to buy an issue of FW.

    Like

  30. wardtw says:

    Mean recently made a very large tool chest for me and the quality is superb. She was very helpful both before and after the build. Honest and talented people generally land on their feet and Megan is a good example of that

    Like

  31. Erik Hinkston says:

    Totally expected this outcome, very satisfying to see it come true…

    Like

  32. Chuck says:

    Every once in a while, the good guy (used in non-gender-specific manner) wins.

    Like

  33. kv41 says:

    I’m glad she’s doing well. She’s a credit to her gender.

    Like

    • BLZeebub says:

      She is a credit to humanity! She just happens to be a femme by accident of birth.

      Like

      • oldbaleine@gmail.com says:

        Hope this doesn’t crash your party, but biologically speaking, it’s males who are the accidents of birth. It’s that “Y” thang.

        Like

  34. Keith Mealy says:

    It’s a pleasure to know Megan for many years. Sometimes, nice guys finish first!

    Like

  35. Leonard says:

    A formidable woman! I’ve always enjoyed her writing; sharp, pithy, sassy. Damn funny too! Anyone who can write about carting tools around in a gently used car, or a complete remodel on a 100 year old house and make you laugh can tell a fine story.

    Like

  36. woodgeek says:

    Congrats Megan. Good on you!

    Like

  37. Steve P says:

    Great news, well deserved! Is that the $5.87 saw bench? I kind of prefer the older traditional sawbench. Although I saw somebody make a stackable set of them that looked kind of interesting. Though I am kind of liking the idea of making one and an ATC the same height to use in conjunction as a “pair”. I am halfway through my traditional sawbench build. Haven’t started a chest yet, as I also like the dutch chest. Decisions decisions(long time sufferer of analysis paralysis)

    Like

  38. William B. says:

    It is nice when nice happens to nice.

    Like

  39. Peggy Schneider says:

    Thanks for this post, Chris. Megan is awesome, and I’m so happy she has come out on top!

    Like

  40. Pascal Teste says:

    Congratulations Megan! Looking forward to reading your article in the next Fine Woodworking issue. Thank you Chris for the information on Megan’s course through the woodworking editing world.

    Like

  41. David Rivers says:

    Meagan is a badass. Living well *is* the best revenge. It seems that the people associated with Lost Art Press from Chris, miss Nancy, et all, are doing very cool things in wood. Yea! This fan is happy for y’all.

    Like

  42. tsunamirx7 says:

    Well said, I thought the magazine was wonderful under Megan as editor and was disappointed when she was let go. I can’t wait to read her article as well as Nancy Hiller’s in FWW.

    Like

  43. Winston Stone says:

    Very nicely stated Chris. Congratulaions to Megan, well done!!

    I must admit my last couple of issues of Popular Woodworking have be not on par with issues under your nor Megan’s stewardship. I mean welding a stand for a chop saw station, really?

    Anyway all the best to the both of you.

    Winston Stone

    Like

  44. Kerry Doyle says:

    Thank you for expressing aloud that which I have always wanted to articulate. I have yet to meet/interact with Megan but i fear I’d be even more smitten of her abilities and genuineness.
    For some, their calling is to not be wrapped in the tentacles of constricting organizations which stifle creativity and leadership.
    As i recall from a few years back, Megan was also an adjunct instructor and on the pHd track. Glad to see that reality may over ride academia.

    Like

  45. Jason Dean says:

    Glad to hear Megan is living well! Popwood was a concrete router table of its former self after her departure.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Bob Glenn says:

    After Megan left Pop Wood, the magazine became trash. I still have whats left of my subscription, which will not be renewed, and when a new issue shows up at the house I leaf through it and it quickly goes in the recycle bin. I am so glad to hear that Megan is surviving proudly. Bob Glenn

    Like

  47. Steve Baisden says:

    I left off my subscription to PWW when you and Megan left. It’s not worth the paper it’s written on now.

    Like

  48. Mike Siemsen says:

    I guess I had better get her that tiara I promised her!
    It is good to see people prosper outside the mainstreem.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. dboy2029 says:

    And cue the Avenue Q song “Schadenfreude” (singing that to what’s left of the kaput magazine). Oh, and congrats to Megan as well.

    Like

  50. Kurt Roeder says:

    PW is still my favorite monthly woodworking magazine. It would be a shame if it completely went away. I hope that they can continue to keep the quality up without Ms. F. Occasional guest writing would be great, I miss her writing style. I have to say though, I would never go back to a work environment like that.

    Sometimes things have to change. Sometimes they don’t, so please excuse me as I curl up with my copy of “Mechanic’s Companion” for an hour. Thanks, Megan.

    Like

  51. As a fellow magazine survivor of the post-apocalyptic publishing world, I say bravo! And kudos to fine woodworking for seeing an opportunity to swoop up amazing talent. I may have to subscribe to them now.

    Like

  52. Dennis Yanan says:

    I’ll be honest, i let my subscription to PW lapse probably 4 or 5 years ago due to economic reasons, so I didn’t know that Megan had left. ‘I’m sorry to hear the circumstances, and the fact that people were gloating about it. I can not, and refuse to understand that type of reaction. That being said, as others have commented, glad that she’s been doing well on her own, and that she’s back as a contributor. I will say that the few times I’ve looked at the magazine in stores lately, I wasn’t that impressed with the articles. May have to look at them again and possibly subscribe again.

    Like

  53. David Muertz says:

    Megan got the last laugh. After you two left the magazine turned into a piece of crap. Family Handyman is now better than PW. Best career move she was ever forced to make.

    Like

  54. It was pretty easy to see when PopWood started sliding down hill.I quit renewing at that point and fortunately I only had a few months left on the current one.

    Megan, I’m so proud of you! It’s been fantastic to watch you grow into a fantastic woodworker over the years. I love seeing all of your commission works and classes on IG. I loved taking a class with you back in 2018! Can’t wait for the next one.

    It’s so good to see you bouncing back from the PopWood crap they dumped on you. But I have to admit… it was just a liiiiiiiitle bit better watching them implode shortly thereafter. We all know why it happened. Karma sucks, PopWood. Way to go, Megan.

    Like

  55. Tom Bittner says:

    Funny how new management “knows better”.
    I had a similar thing happen to me in my last job where I spent just a few months shy of 20 years selling my services and time.
    Sometimes you don’t do things you don’t realize you need to do in order to grow.
    I never thought of revenge, I just couldn’t bring myself to sue and then tie up my life in litigation and bad feelings.
    I just wanted to get out of the rut I was in and they gave me the excuse. Turns out I didn’t need them after all.
    I have been living life well ever since I left, one of the best decisions I ever made but I didn’t fully realize it at the time.
    Just another life lesson, good for you Megan, I greatly enjoy your insights and content.

    Liked by 1 person

  56. jglen490 says:

    Congratulations, Megan. Though we’ve never met, and likely never will, I always enjoy reading what you write. I’ve come to like FWW, as they seem to have a good balance between tamed electrons and quiet hand work.
    Always the best to you, and keep up the great work!

    Like

  57. Jacque Wells says:

    Merit earns its rewards — and its satisfactions.

    Like

  58. kdbarton01 says:

    Congrats to Megan! She’s one of the nicest persons I’ve met period.

    To PWW; Karma’s a %itch.

    Like

  59. Michael O’Brien says:

    I have read recently that there are three things you can control in life: your attitude, your effort and your actions. Megan has done those consistently with great success. The times when I have had a small problem or question either while she was at PWW or currently at LAP, she was quick to respond and help me. Thank you.
    Well deserved Congratulations Megan.
    Cheers

    Like

  60. dale knab says:

    I thought something was amiss when people started disappearing from PW………I could live with Chris leaving(perhaps saddened slightly) , but the earth stopped when Megan left…..so did the subscription !……..thanks Chris for telling the true story
    dale

    Like

  61. DR_Woodshop says:

    Well said, Chris, and well done, Megan.  I’m happy to take a class with Megan at any time: even a simple silverware tray.  

    Like

  62. aashiv57 says:

    Well Done! Thank you!!

    Like

  63. Rob Porcaro says:

    Good for you, Megan! Your kindness, intelligence, and love of the craft always made work with you a pleasure back in the days when PW was good, thanks to you and Chris. Too bad the suits ruined a once-excellent publication.
    May you long continue to find joy in making sawdust and sentences.

    Like

  64. ShopCat says:

    In an alternative universe: one of the best analysts in computer security is Bruce Schneier. He literally wrote the book on cryptography – Applied Cryptography. It is so good that the NSA/FBI/CIA tried to have it banned, and Bruce got pretty heavy harassment. Before all that he was a researcher at the old Bell Labs, which to their folly in one of their business panic modes laid him off to reduce costs. The Labs was THE LABS, lots of Nobel Prize winners, great benefits, a Masters just to get in the door as a low-level tech. Like many, he thought his world had come to an end. Instead he went on to become one of the greats. He may be controversial to management, but he is completely respected by practitioners. In the intro to Applied Crypto he relates this story, and includes a thank you note to the Labs for firing him. She’ll probably do just fine.

    Like

  65. Matt Nye says:

    Great post, Chris.
    Megan, always enjoyed your explicit writing and I’m sure I enjoyed the implicit writing (editing) more than I knew.
    Congrats on the success and appreciate your contributions to the community.
    Matt

    Liked by 1 person

  66. Dave says:

    Go Megan!! Hated what happened to PWW after you left, and even more how they treated her. Note to future exploiters of high quality craft publications built by others: Never use the words “Quick,” “Easy,” “Fast,” or “Tricks” on the cover. Much of your audience is looking for the opposite of those things.

    Really glad to hear she’s landed on her feet (like an oh-so-talented feline) and looking forward to more of her awesome contributions at Shwarzomedia Empire and beyond.

    Like

  67. Jeffrey Silverman says:

    And she is a nice person

    Like

  68. I’ve been a big fan of Megan since I worked with her during WIA 2015. Just a very nice person. I’m so happy that she has succeeded since her departure from Popular Woodworking. The magazine went downhill from there and I let my subscription lapse. I was so glad to see her contributing at FWW. Congrats, Megan.

    Like

  69. Indy Mike says:

    I had the pleasure of taking a class with Megan at Marc Adams school.She was a great instructor, and I look forward to the opportunity to take another class with her. When she left Pop Wood, the magazine turned into a steaming heaping bowl of not worth a crap. I have been hoping that it would become better, but it has not happened. I am looking forward to her article in Fine woodworking magazine. Congratulations Megan.

    Like

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