Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Proofreading Work

So it's been 10 years since I began my career as a proofreader. I'll admit that, even though I had an English degree, I hadn't really thought that proofreading was something I would do. Sure, my collegiate career had begun in the track of grammar and composition (as opposed to literature, because even though I love to read, I felt the mechanics of English would be of greater help than how many times I had read the great classics), but I probably fancied myself more in the "I want to be a writer" frame of mind, than anything else.

Well ... anyway, I was in need of a job, and found a great one, where I stayed for seven years. Granted, there were times when I really got stressed and burned out and wanted to change so badly. And I thought what I really wanted to do was work in an ad agency and proof all of their creative, because I would love to be in a creative environment such as that, since that's the way I am. But boy, was I surprised! For a brief stint, I did just that. Usually, at ad agencies, there's one proofreader. Depending on the size, maybe more than one. And they're overworked, highly unappreciated and don't get one ounce of creativity to circle through their minds.

Maybe I'm just an anomaly -- a proofreader who is actually creative. And who has a personality. Seriously! I interviewed at a placement agency late last year and was told by my interviewer that I had a great, outgoing personality, which, she said, is not usually the case with proofreaders, mostly because, she thought, proofreaders tend to be the only ones in their department/company and don't get much interaction with others.

Which brings me to my current gig -- freelance proofreading. I'll be honest, trying to make a go of it myself has been ... not really lucrative. The nice thing is that my own personal investment (as far as money) has been minimal (some inexpensive business cards, a few books, red pens/pencils, etc.) -- waiting until I had some money coming in to really indulge in things like a company name/logo, web site, etc. I have tried calling, emailing, sending resumes via mail, well ... it's slow going. However, over the last month or so I have been working extra hard to find and make more contacts. So far, nothing, but ... I am still trying. We'll see how I am in a few months, because at that point I may have to consider going back full time somewhere.

Except, I dread that. See, a few weeks ago, I went on a temp assignment for one of my placement agencies (I'm with three, in case anyone cares to know) at a "marketing company." They have a decent-sized group or proofreaders and have the amount of work to justify it. I was there to help out during the week as they had people out and needed the help. Oh my gosh. I was BORED out of my mind! The work was easy enough, but ... boring. And, you know, I could maybe deal with boring, simple, tedious work ... if the atmosphere was a little more ... fun? Okay, I get not really talking to the temp or getting to know me much. I mean, I'm just going to be there for the week, right? And, at first I thought maybe it was just me ... and then I realized ... they don't really talk to each other much, either! They're quiet and stick to themselves and when they do talk, it's with low voices -- which I could understand if they were in the middle of many other areas, but they have one side to themselves and they have tall cubicles so that talking in a normal voice would be OKAY -- and usually about work. Then I realized what that interviewer had meant. I counted down each day and each hour before the assignment was over. I mean the people were nice enough, but ... they weren't really engaging or personable, and really, for 10 years of experience*, I am worth more than they were paying me! LOL. But, at least it was money.

However, I have to say that not all temp jobs are the same. A few months ago I had THE most awesome experience with temping. I went to a company that designs and makes high-end outdoor furniture and fabric. (I have a 365 of my time there.) Even though I was in their marketing department that is quite small, the feel of the entire company is ... amazing. There is a friendly, creative vibe that really resonates with everyone and throughout the entire company (which is shown in one way, with the owner bringing his two giant dogs to work with him every day). They had rooms devoted to fabric and fabric creation, even containing looms so test fabrics could be woven. How cool is that? Then they had a back area where actual fabric was being sewn together for different items. I was given a tour of the place and met some nice people and was awed by the creative design rooms filled with swatches of fabric so designers can go in and piece looks together to their little hearts desire. It was amazing. And even people I didn't know would see me in the hall or the break room and stop me to introduce themselves. The people in the marketing department talked to me and each other, and not just about work, about their actual lives. I was only there for about a day and a half proofing their spring catalog (which, in and of itself was pretty basic), but I wished I could have a full time job there, it was that cool of a place to work!

It's so interesting how different environment can make a job seem palatable.

And as I've done these temp jobs and other small freelance assignments, I do know that I DO want to do this proofreading thing from home, if I can make it work. I really want to try to exclusively read books, but I can do other things. I don't know if I could truly find a proofreading job full time that would fulfill my needs of a person. I have the proofreading thing down!* (Which doesn't mean I don't have things to learn, because I do. I used AP Style for a long time and am now having to learn Chicago Manual because that's what publisher's use. But those are nuances.) Now, if I can only translate my desire and work into a full-fledged business that brings in decent money.

You see, I realized that while I can do the stay-at-home thing and live okay on Brian's salary, if we truly want to move forward in our lives, we need money to save (not necessarily be a two-income family, but use my income to put into savings for a house and the future) -- and that's where I come in. Which is why I'm working harder on my business, while Brian is trying harder to help me at home (so I don't feel like I have to do it all).

So, one of the things I did to help me sort of visualize success, is to think of ourselves in a home, me with a room/study that's the office I work out of. I have it planned (for now): dark wood floors; purple paint on the walls trimmed in black molding -- perhaps one wall with a cool wallpaper treatment, with dark/black furniture pieces; a comfortable office chair in a delicious fabric; chairs that would work for anyone visiting in my office, but could easily be taken out to incorporate into the rest of my home if any additional seating would be needed; a few mirrors on the walls to bring light in, along with some art and other wall accessories, including a memo board to hold important info (along with some photos); and, depending on the size of the room, either a sleeper couch so I could relax, but also some room for overnight guests OR a comfy chair and ottoman for a comfy place to sit while reading or on the phone (this would be for a smaller place). Although, maybe I COULD have both if the space was VERY large. (But, if so, I would have to change the colors a little to be more complementary.)

I put together a mood board (using olioboard.com) to give a visual representation of what my dream home office would look like (at least, what my mood is expressing currently). And, I'll be honest. I found a lot of high-end pieces that I loved (like from Horchow or Haverty's) that unless I do REALLY well in my business I couldn't afford. But, part of me thinks that even if I COULD afford it, would I really buy one exquisitely executed purple velvet chair, much less two, at $1300 each? Well, probably not. But a girl can dream, right? (Besides, you never know when I'll run into a thrifty, similar piece that I can redo. Ah, more dreaming.)

I left off smaller accessories, like lamps and a side table for the couch or chair, mostly because of the time finding and putting this together. Besides, I doubt my home office will end up looking like this -- except for the purple walls and black trim and molding. I am not budging on that. For now. ^_^

* Disclaimer: While I may be a proofreader, and I try to read over my posts before I publish them, this is my blog and I have my own writing style that may not be exactly the norm (like my use of ellipses ^_^, oh, and anime smiley faces). And, the occasional typo does slip in. So ... sue me! LOL


Original template © to Ourblogtemplates.com

Back to TOP