“I think I might want to be an editor at a publishing house.”
“Well, but first you have to actually like other people’s writing.”
Insightful job advice from my girlfriend to say the least.
Since graduating almost two weeks ago, I’ve been giving my future job prospects a bit of thought. A lot of people ask me what I’m going to do with my newly acquired English degree, and most of them assume I’ll go into teaching in some way, shape, or form. Although I do plan to take the CBEST exam so that I have the opportunity to substitute teach if I need to, teaching has never really been my love. I even went through the teaching credential degree path at my university, thinking that would be the best use of my degree, but the deeper into the program I got, the more I realized that the courses directly related to teaching English were the ones that interested me the least.
My love has always been writing: I’ve been doing it avidly since I was in high school, and although I often neglect my so-called “pleasure-writing,” I always feel good when I just sit down and get my thoughts down on paper (physical or otherwise).
Additionally, I have an unhealthy love of grammar and the rules of English. It’s sick really. I’m a religious listener of the Grammar Girl podcast, and I would probably flip my lid if I were ever to find a first edition copy of Strunk & White (even if I don’t agree with everything they recommend. That’s why I enjoy helping my friends when they’re looking for the right word for a sentence or want someone to skim their paper for grammatical errors. I like giving order to relative disorder. The colon and semicolon (and the dash!) are some of my favorite pieces of punctuation in part because few people use them.
And to top it all off, I just finished a stint as a copy-editor for the university newspaper, which – although sometimes monotonous – was very enjoyable because I was using these skills on a regular basis.
But my girlfriend brings up a very valid point: I don’t like other people’s writing. I hate reading bad or even mediocre writing, something I learned over two semesters in a creative writing course. There’s some terrible writing out there, and the worst part about it is that some of it gets published! Although the idea of working at a publisher does sound appealing, I certainly would need to get over my distaste for mediocre writing to keep from bloodying up the manuscripts with my all-powerful red pen.
On second thought, that might be incredibly satisfying work!