Ever since I quit my freelance editing/writing job a little over a year ago, I have continued telling people when they ask what I do that I am a freelance editor and writer. I’m not sure why. I guess because I still considered myself one, although I didn’t have any projects at the moment. I was focusing on my family and our move. But freelance means you don’t work for any one company. I could’ve had projects crop up at any moment. I also planned on starting some personal writing projects (still do). In fact, I had a few offers, but I wasn’t ready to go back to work yet.
A few weeks ago a friend, who is also a freelance editor, asked me if I was ready to take on some editing, as the company she freelances for was looking to add some editors. The project is editing scientific journal articles — right up my alley. I told her I’d like to hear more. So we had a nice long conversation on the phone about the project, the time it takes, the future expectations, and yes, the pay. I told her I’d think about it, get Jim’s two cents, and get back to her.
A few days later, I told her I was ready to take the plunge. She sent my contact information to her supervisor, and the ball started rolling. The first step was to send my resume and cover letter. Next, I had to take a test, a.k.a an editorial work sample. I had two hours to complete it (any more than that and I wouldn’t qualify for the job) and I could use a dictionary of my choice.
The anticipation of the test was excruciating. I hadn’t taken a test like that . . . well ever. I had no idea what to expect. But by the time the day and hour of the test arrived, I was calm. Either I would be a good fit for this job or I wouldn’t. If I didn’t pass, no biggie. I wasn’t actively seeking employment at this point. I was only applying because the job was there now and it sounded like something I’d enjoy.
The test consisted of three sections. The first asked you to minimally change sentences to make them grammatically correct. The second asked you to fix the punctuation. The third was a sample journal article, which you were supposed to edit. There were a few guidelines attached, which you were supposed to follow. Other than that, consistency was key. I completed the test in 1 hour 50 minutes. I felt good about it (except for a few comma issues), but man was I keyed up when I was done. Emerald had come home early from school that day, so she and I took a walk with the dogs to burn up my excess energy, and then she rode bikes with our neighbors while I chatted. And then the calm set back in. That was on Thursday.
Throughout the weekend, I wondered how I did, but didn’t really worry about it. I didn’t want to fail, because I didn’t want to fail. I like the choice to whether I take a job or not to be mine. Who doesn’t? But I was fine if this job wasn’t right for me. In hindsight, I think the reason I was so calm was that this test really was a sample of what the job would be. If they weren’t happy with what I did there, then I really wasn’t the right person for job, or it for me.
Yesterday afternoon, I got an e-mail telling me that I had passed and which project I would work on. I was told I would hear from my new supervisor separately and she would send all the materials and documents I needed.
This morning I heard from her. We have still not discussed how much I’ll work, but from what my friend told me, I’ll start slow, most likely with one article a week, which should take me half a day to a full day, I think. Perfect. That’s plenty for me for now, in addition to the volunteering I’m doing and all the things around here.
I need to go read this 269-page style guide and download some software, but I’m excited. It’ll be fun to use my brain for science again. Part of me has definitely missed it.