Michael Precker was a seasoned foreign correspondent and family man, "the last guy anyone would have expected to become the manager of a topless joint." The job just seemed more sane than journalism.
The Dallas Morning News reporter decided to switch careers after running into the owner of a local strip club at a charity event. She offered him a management job. He blew off the idea at first, but changed his mind after an unsatisfying reporting trip to Israel:
It got to be more ridiculous to hang on at a newspaper and less ridiculous to take this leap.
Wise: The newspaper industry is risky as it is; international reporting is even more dicey, as regional papers like the Morning News refocus themselves on cheaper local coverage and cut far-flung bureaus. Plus Precker is experienced and thus relatively expensive.
He took his buyout in 2006, before things got truly awful in newspapers.
And he got permission from his wife of more than 20 years. Maybe she liked that his new boss called her personally to make sure it was OK, or that she pays tuition for some of the dancers. Or that "The Lodge" won "Best Overall Club" at the Gentlemen's Club Owners Expo in Las Vegas last year.
Precker now does everything from writing press releases to picking up guest performers from the airport to crafting advertisements. It's not clear if he's responsible for the video ad up top, an homage to an old Sam Kinison joke. But he's definitely emerging as a folk hero to any number of ex-journalists. If Woodward and Bernstein were the template for derring-do within a journalism career, Precker is proof that adventure can still be found after one.
(Video: The Lodge)