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wotd: Land of Nod, brought to you by EditorLive

land of Nod \land-uhv-NOD\, noun:
A mythical land of sleep.
Nothing like going to bed humble.

The school year is coming quickly to an end, which for me means a summer of no pay. I could have worked summer camp, but balance my pay with what I'd be shelling out to put Jack in summer camp somewhere and it's just not economically sensible. I've been cruising Craigslist and tucsonhelpwanted(dot)com for offbeat opportunities that might earn me some pay without incurring further economic hardship. I found an intriguing ad placed by EditorLive, a 24/7/365 on-line academic editing/proofreading service. I spent the evening polishing up my resume, creating a cover letter, and distilling PDF files of both of them. I even set up a new, more "professional" email address and tested it. After dinner, I settled in to take their proprietary test, estimated to take 20 minutes.

It took me 38 minutes.

I've done copyediting and proofreading in the past---for academic textbooks, no less, so I figured I'd have the skills necessary to edit and proofread academic papers.

Wrong.

It was hard.

Halfway through, my mind was reeling. Who knew there were so many manuals of style, with such nitpicky requirements for formatting in-text citations and what to call your reference section? Really, I did know this, but thought I could cheat, googling MLA, APA, and CSE styles to do my best to answer these questions. The grammar and puncuation questions were biting, so painstaking in their convoluted construction, just to tap your knowledge of possessive plurals and possession of gerunds, should you lay or lie on the sofa?, serial commas and comma splices, often mixing so many grammatical connundrums into one sentence that my initial reaction as a writer was to simply chuck it and rewrite for clarity.

Not seconds after I'd finished the last questions, a polite dismissal screen popped up:
We have reviewed your editing assessment, and, although you did well, we cannot extend an offer of employment to you at this time. You scored below our cut-off score for part-time editors (95% accuracy).
I scored 27 out of 42, a measly 64.3%. I barely passed a test assessing something I thought I was good at.

So off I go to the land of Nod, eating humble pie.

Comments

Posthumously said…
So funny! I just finished the same test with the same results. No job for me. I, too, thought I was an expert in academic writing. All I can say for both of us: We are probably better off; the stress of MLA, APA, Turabian, Chicago (which, as an alum, I thought the latter two were the same), et al, would have sent me over the edge. LOL. Enjoyed your blog very much! Thanks
ingulfed.com said…
My god, you're right. BRUTAL. How exactly are Turabian and Chicago different? (Like I knew what they were beforehand...)

And then they give you these ABCD 1234 lists in a way that makes it just about impossible to even read the question.

I wonder if the timing matters...? I expected an alarm was going to go off when I ran over, but alas, just that sad mark of our failure: you missed the cut-off for a part-time gig.

Oh well.
Unknown said…
You dodged a bullet. I worked there -- for several years. (I am partly responsible for the editing test.) Would not recommend that sweatshop to anyone.

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wotd: temporize

temporize \TEM-puh-ryz\, intransitive verb:
1. To be indecisive or evasive in order to gain time or delay action.
2. To comply with the time or occasion; to yield to prevailing opinion or circumstances.
3. To engage in discussions or negotiations so as to gain time (usually followed by 'with').
4. To come to terms (usually followed by 'with').

It's easy to tell yourself that you'll write a daily blog entry using the word of the day from dictionary(dot)com as a prompt, and equally easy to temporize your daily entry by waffling over what to write about, or evading your obligation by procrastination. There. Bedtime.

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40 observations on the eve before my 40th birthday

Indulge me! In no particular order:

1. I love making pinatas. I've made a pinata for Jack's birthday for the last five years. The Death Star, a jellyfish from Spongebob, Patrick Star from Spongebob, Plankton from Spongebob, and just this year King Pig from Angry Birds. I've been commissioned by a friend to produce another Angry Birds Pig pinata for her son's birthday. I'm gonna do it.

2. Right now three of my ten fingers hurt when I type. I don't bite my nails (unless one is already broken) but I do pick and pull at my cuticles. I've developed acute paronychia, a bacterial infection, at those three finger tips. The one that hurts the most is my right thumb. Space bar hell. I've done this to myself since childhood. When I'm pulling and nipping at a hangnail, I know it's going to hurt but I go ahead and do it anyway.

3. I consider myself substantial: in body and in mind. I am robust. I have zeal. I just don't have any confidence.

4. My brain stop…