“Way back in May—my gosh, it’s been literally months!—I mentioned that I’d been busy with not editing. (Boy, has that changed! Yikes!) During that time, I was beginning to climb new mountains. Well, I’ve made it “to the top” of one of those mountains: recording podcasts! The view is gorgeous, and the sense of accomplishment…”
“A job ad that advertises a job that doesn’t pay isn’t worth your time.”
“Maybe the topic was horrible, or the person was. Maybe you messed up the job, or forgot about it entirely. Maybe the hours were inhumane and the demands impossible to predict. Any conscientious editor will encounter a few of these situations if they stay in the profession long enough. In fact, any professional will. Sometimes …”
Sometimes, we have no idea who we are and where we want to be. Loads of things can help: introspection, travel, books, making mistakes …
Personality tests can offer insight, as well, and because of that, today I’m presenting the University of Cambridge personality test. It’s free, it’s quick, and it’s scary accurate (plus, you don’t have to register or give any personal details).
My results? INTJ, which will come as no surprise to anyone who has met me. To see my current career on the list of popular choices for INTJs gave me a sense of peace. Sometimes, we all need evidence that we’re on the right track.
Throughout my editing career, I’ve been tasked with rush editing projects. The term is defined differently depending on who you ask, but it typically means a project that needed to be completed yesterday.
I’ve taken on a 50+ page marketing project with a next-day deadline. I’ve also tried my hand at news editing, with an ideal turn-around time of 20 minutes per article. I loved the site, the people connected with it, and the idea of trying something new. And anyway, how hard could it be?
For me, a mentor is basically Dumbledore: a wise, composed, compassionate teacher with a sense of humor who is somehow able to see a few steps ahead. (Note: the beard is optional.)
It’s the way she answers my questions, teaching me why and how.
It’s the challenges she presents, daring me to take that one extra action, because who knows? Something wonderful might happen.
It’s her calm demeanor, whatever the storm (including a corrupted file masquerading as a 200+ page manuscript).
It’s her words of encouragement, her gentle way of picking me up after a stumble, helping me shake off the dust, and then encouraging me to get back on track—never doing it for me, mind you, but instead making sure I know I’m supported through it all.
It’s her self-deprecation, her subtle way of reminding me that she’s a human being, too, rather than a superheroine (though I swear she needs a cape).
Most of all, it’s her belief in me, steadfast and nurturing without any condescension (even when I trip toward stupidity).
My mentor wants me to learn, grow, and figure things out on my own. But she’s there for it all, too: a steady, cheerleading force of nature. For me, that is the definition of a mentor.
So how do you find one? Chances are you already have; you just haven’t realized it.
Who is the first person you turn to when you have a problem you can’t seem to solve?
Who is the first person you think of when your career seems stalled and you don’t know the next move?
Who calms you down, lifts you up, and helps you get back on your feet?
Who has been there, done that, and lived to tell the tale?
You can always ask someone to be your mentor, but I don’t think that’s strictly necessary. What matters most is that you team up with someone you can learn from in a positive way who makes you want to keep pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone just enough to grow.
A true mentor wants you to succeed—not for selfish reasons but because they truly believe in your ability …
For me, what began as a mentor/mentee relationship has turned into a friendship, and I am now able to give back. She taught me that, too: reciprocation. For that—and for her—I am more grateful than I could ever say.
“Every editor eventually faces the question of ‘damage control’ and over a long career, may face it more than once. Preparation is the best way to address the issue.”