Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Missed My Calling

I'm helping a friend by editing her master's thesis. And. I. Love. It. Not the thesis, per se, though modern day archaeology is very interesting and her thesis involves her work in Egypt for the past four years, so you know, that's cool and all. No, I love the editing.

There's a lot of work. Not all masters candidates have mastered the comma, that much I can tell you. But I just love the work. Why, why, why did I have to get all pragmatic and major in business? Why didn't I major in English or something? I would still probably be exactly where I am right now, doing the jobs that I'm doing, but I would have at least been able to dream that some day I could be an editor. If I never become published as an author, I would still love to work in the field, and my BA in Business Administration is probably not going to open those doors. Sigh.

But anyway, back to the editing. I've got the manuscript all marked up, adding commas here, deleting them there, changing words to preserve parallel structure, removing passive voiced statements, obliterating unnecessary words with a ruthless efficiency, yadda yadda yadda. She came up to sign out (we both work at the same place) and I showed her my progress, glowing with pride.

She says, "OK, that makes me really mad." My double take alerts her to the fact that I find her response less than thrilling, and she hastens to add "No, no, no! This is great. I'm really mad because I've *already paid* a professional editor over a thousand dollars to get it to this point."

My mouth drops open. Holy [insert your animal or bodily function of choice]. This has already been edited? By a professional? Who took her hard earned money? A THOUSAND DOLLARS? W?T?F? Seriously? How does one become a freelance editor and get paid to do absolutely nothing? Because sign me up - sort of. I want the freelance editor part, but I'd like to earn my dollars the old fashioned way, you know, by providing a valuable service. Unbelievable.


  1. Girl, I hear ya about majoring in something practical. I tell my girls all the time to never do that, but they just look at me like I'm crazy right now. And, jeez, she paid someone a thousand bucks to edit? How do I get one of those jobs?

  2. I'd think that your business degree would be helpful in getting an editing job. Publishing is a business. The Great Northwest seems to draw lots of folks who want to be editors, however, which keeps salaries down. That thousand bucks seems pretty amazing.

  3. I, too, dream of being an editor. I hold the English BA, but I still haven't found a job in the field.

    Well, I haven't really tried, but I can't imagine finding my dream job here in Louisville, and I don't want to move.

    It's Christmas Eve, so I shall stop moaning now.

  4. Melissa, it's true. All us business school students were so pleased with ourselves for being so smart to major in something that was listed as an asset in all the help wanted ads we saw, and then when we were hired places it turned out that all our other coworkers had degrees in things that were actually fun. To really do anything with a business degree you need an MBA. Which I don't need a BA in business to get. Arg. I could have majored in Drama and still gotten an MBA, my GMAT scores were great. Whatever.

    Travener: You would think! I interviewed for a technical writing job right out of college and didn't get it. Turned out that the person who recommended me for the job wasn't liked herself by her own boss (the hiring manager), so her recommendation was a negative mark rather than a helpful boost. Now that I've been in hospital and preschool administration, I wonder if that ship has sailed?....

    Amber, Louisville? My in-laws live in Frankfort. I'm pretty sure my brother in law was going to school in Louisville, is there a college there? I know he's not anymore though, he transfered to a school in Bowling Green. He's in a band that plays in Louisville all the time, called OSSM. What a small world!

  5. I would start by posting somewhere (Craigslist? Could you do that an *not* wind up selling sex?) offering your service to masters/PhD students, using your friend as a reference and charging by the hour or page. If you know one or meet one, inform a graduate level advisor about your services so they can recommend you to students. You would only need/have time for a couple a semester anyway. Good luck!

  6. WOW! That's terrible. I feel sorry for your friend but it's good she has you. Thanks for following me!

  7. They say you will be successful only when you are happy doing what you do. :0) Right on, girl! You'll have that strength in you already when you send out those manuscripts!! :)

    Uhm, I don't have a thousand dollars, but I'd gladly send you my stuff to fix. LOL :)