Friday, May 18, 2007

Warning: Whining Ahead

This has been sort of a "Is anybody out there?" kind of week. Sometimes my job is mildly soul-sucking. I mean, I fill a LOT of magazine pages every month. Some are better than others, of course, but sometimes it all starts to look like dummy copy -- random words the art directors use to fill the space where the text goes.

And I don't have any hard and fast evidence that anyone besides the people we interview even reads the articles. I don't do the flashy features, with stories on prominent people. I do the sections, where you can find 10 things you didn't know about retirement and estate planning and a 30-page list of meeting facilities. Plus my name isn't even on most of it; I don't write usually, I just edit. Sometimes every other word, but that doesn't come with byline credit.

I guess there are advantages to being invisible, but it seems like if I bust my ass getting 10 articles into an issue that it'd be nice to know someone had actually consumed that content. Or more to point, it'd be nice to have my part in it recognized. But I don't know how that happens unless someone is observing me rather closely. I guess I kind of suck at laboring in obscurity.

5 comments:

Lollie said...

I'm here and I appreciate your work (blog work really - and your comments too, but I'm sure I'd appreciate your major contribution to the pieces you put out).
I had a kickass week at work, on a personal level. No one else really knows abut the stuff I learned/conquered in my web coding crap, but I'm pretty happy with myself. I guess that is all we can ask for.

Night Editor said...

I know exactly what you mean. I get so tired of editing other people's words; helping THEM shine, like I'm the streetcorner shoeshine swinging old socks and spit. I guess lollie has it right in saying "I'm pretty happy with myself." It may be all we can ask for. If it helps, I'm getting so I skip over all that flashy feature stuff and head right to the top ten lists and indexes of good finds. Why just today I had to look up such a list and it directed my entire Sunday! Voila! You have more influence than you might realize.

Sassmaster said...

Thanks y'all. I know that I have to find my own reward in my work, but there are just those days, eh? Such kind commenters I have.

hammersox said...

It's amazing how much the world of work has changed over less than the course of a typical lifetime. Fifty years ago (when we were still manufacturing things), we felt oppressed by the eagle eye of the man watching our every move. Today, it seems like most of us get hired to perform tasks so that management never has to be concerned that they are necessary - "Don't bother me - we've got people for that." Hence, the litany is familiar for many of us - no sense of how long it takes (or what's involved) to do major tasks, e-mails and reports that no one ever seems to read, feedback only when disaster happens, and the like. You're not alone in being alone. It doesn't matter what the industry is - it's the common refrain of postmodern life. But there's some good news in all this. It leads to people appreciating us more for who we are than what we do. Not a bad longer-term consolation at those wonderful moments when the everyday frustration subsides...

cK said...

Huh. What magazine do you work for, Sassmaster?

Just keeping the fuse lit,
Major Jackass