Friday, February 1, 2013

Job ad of the day

From Craigslist: "Gov't Contractor Needs Strong Writers Immediately (Reston, VA) . . . Qualified applicants will have 0-6 years of experience."

Zero years of experience represents "qualified." It's a race to the bottom.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

After one week of temp work

What stands out more than anything is just how much I hate PCs and Windows. Everything is easier to do on a Mac. Plus, I've gone from my 21.5" screen at home to a screen of about 15".

Monday, January 7, 2013

Am I still legal?

To work in the United States, that is. I'm starting a temp assignment tomorrow through one of the agencies that I use. Because I haven't done any work for them in six months (no thanks to them), I have to stop into their office to show them -- again -- two forms of ID to prove that I can work legally in this country.

Like my Social Security card or birth certificate has changed! I am not happy about this.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Internet data miners know that I job hunt

This was in my spam folder:

Monday, December 31, 2012


Can you say "age discrimination":

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

So if I were transsexual Hindu Inuit born in Belarus my chances would be much better than mine are.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Oh, c'mon

Why don't they just say they're looking to hire Superman or Wonder Woman.

Monday, December 10, 2012

More craziness from another job ad

"Overseeing the acquisition, ingesting, cataloging and archiving of digital media assets."

Feed me!


Remember the Seinfeld episode where Elaine broke up with a guy because he didn't use exclamation points and then Mr. Lippman told her to remove all of the exclamation points she inserted into a manuscript written by that ex boyfriend? Mr. Lippman would not like this copy (including the bolding and capitalization) from a job ad I just saw:


Must have own transportation to Work!!


Please reply to this AD and attach you Resume!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

To a prospective employer

F**k you for doing this as part of the application process! This is part of an application for a freelance resume-writing gig. Guess who didn't apply.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

More is better

"Finalists will be asked to complete an editing assignment at home and several timed copyediting tests during the interview process."

For a position in Arlington that I won't be applying for.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

We are not machines

Imagination shows a distinct lack of imagination in titling their post on Media Bistro.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

And f**k employers who do this, too

"Failure to complete all of the required fields may result in your application being disqualified from consideration. The information entered in the education and work experience sections are auto screened by the system based on the basic qualifications of the position."

The life and death of a coffee mug

Publications Professionals is one of the agencies I'm registered with.

After I passed their three-hour test, they got me a temp job in 2002 at K12 Inc. that turned into a permanent job. Shortly after I started that temp assignment, PP's prez stopped by to say hello and give me this coffee mug.

Since I quit the K12 job in 2007, PP has not given me a single assignment, despite my numerous requests.

I am going to figure out a most pleasing way to smash the coffee mug to smithereens.

By the way, could they have done a worse job with the selection of the "PP" fonts!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fauly copy editing

Article title on

"BMW issues stop sale on M5 and M6 models over fauly oil pump."

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The wording!

In an ad for an editorial manager:

"Candidates should be versatile in various disease states."

Monday, September 17, 2012

F**k you!

That's what I have to say to any prospective employer who does this:

"Resumes without specified salary requirements will not be considered."

Or this, along with a rejection:

"We would like to keep your information in our database for future consideration."

And especially this in the rejection:

"We have found another candidate whom we feel is the best fit for this position." 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Testing experienced editors

I hope editing is like riding a bike

You know, you never forget how. I haven't done any editing since 5/30, the last Demand Media article I did (of the six I did for them this year).

I can't believe that my Demand "Work Desk" online is even accessible, not that there's ever anything there. I never get any of the team emails, nor have I ever received one of those "come back to work for us" emails. Weird company.

I just checked the first and last Demand articles I did. There's a kind of poetry/symmetry/full circle about it:

5/13/09: How to Report an Employee Not Keeping Their Office Clean (yea, I let the title errors slide)

5/30/12: How to Can Meat Spaghetti Sauce (see above!)

Friday, September 7, 2012

My new cover letter

To Whom It May Concern:

I am very interested in the unpaid editorial intern position for which you are currently recruiting on every job board in the DC area.

I’d like to summarize my experience as a professional editor. I believe this will convince you that my skill set and background make me a perfect candidate for an internship — that is, to start all over again so to speak.

I have worked in the editorial field for 30 years and have held every position from proofreader to managing editor. I’ve worked in the public and private sectors, edited book manuscripts, and done online editing via a content management system.

My knowledge of editorial styles includes, AP, Chicago, GPO, and Harvard Law School’s Blue Book.

You might wonder why someone with my experience seeks an intern position. Allow me to answer that question.

As stated above, I entered the editing field three decades ago, at a time when editing was a valued profession that had very high standards. Since that time, the editing field has taken a 180-degree turn. The opportunity to work as an intern would afford me the opportunity to “retrain” myself to the current devalued role of the editor and specifically to the current, acceptably low level of editorial standards.

I should emphasize that I am more than willing to take as many screening tests as you’d like to administer and, if hired, there is no limit to how many hours I can work (including evenings and weekends). I am also willing to carry out any assigned task, no matter how menial.

I believe the attached resume, which contains a summary of my entire editing career, does not merit your review in light of the fact that you have so many applicants to screen.

Thanks in advance for your consideration.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Diminishing returns

When I entered the editing profession 30 years ago, I never imagined that it is one (the only one?) that actually devalues extensive experience. Have you ever seen a job ad that included "20-30 years of experience required"?

That plus being 68 years old means that my professional work life is effectively over.

I wish I lived in a country where seniors and experienced people are valued.

Friday, August 31, 2012

I just aborted yet another online job application . . .

that required applicants to include the year they graduated from college.

Applications of this kind should have the following statement at the top: "I'm too old for consideration. Stop reading here and trash this application."

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A rose by any other name

I hate ads like this one:

Monday, August 6, 2012

Then and now

I remember a time when I was about 18 when I had an interview for some job (probably a summer one). On the way to the interview, I stopped in to see my mom, who at that time was a buyer for a department store in Newark. 

As she straightened my tie, she said, "Don't worry. You always make a good impression."

I carried that confidence, along with a great deal of experience, into job interviews that I've had over these many years. And my interviews have resulted in many job offers. 

Now, because of my age, I almost dread job interviews. I can still make a good impression -- from my resume and on telephone interviews -- but when I walk into an interview, my 68 years accompany me.

I wonder what mom would have to say about that.

When caption writers blindly follow the rules

Friday, July 27, 2012

Reporters as their own editors

"But the positive vibes were short-lives, as Mickelson the missed cut at the British Open with someone less-than-stellar play that led you to believe something was still up with his game."

The non sequitur at the end is the icing on the cake. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The perfect clock

For those who work at home (from

Monday, July 9, 2012

I now pronounce you husband and wife

Under editing jobs today on Craigslist (click to enlarge):

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Job Application Hall of Shame

I applied for a telecommute editing job yesterday. The online application had no means to attach a resume. The only way to include it was to paste it into the one-line box below; it wasn't expandable. So when you pasted your resume into the box, it was one very long string of text.

If you wanted to check your resume, you had to scroll back all the way to the beginning. Guess who didn't do that.

What were they thinking? I have no idea what they see when they open an application.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

This Craigslist post speaks for itself

I needed help writing a book (md)

i have writers block, and i believe that the reason is because i am not a writer, but i have a good, actually a few good ideas (stories) and i believe they are good, and the people that i have shared the stories with believe so too, my problem is that i can tell you the whole story with details, but when it comes down to writing it i just don't know where or how to begin, so here is the catch, i don't have much money, how about if we fill some paperwork before i share my stories, then i relate them to you, it will only take a couple of hours of your time, and if you (the expert) don't feel that they are not worth it, i will pay you for your time, but if you want to venture with me on this, then you will have 50% of whatever the book makes of it, name your hourly price and at the beginning of the interview i will show you the money, if you are interested, well you will get paid when the book sells, if you are looking to get paid along the way while we write the manuscript then don't reply to this ad

Hello, to all who have read and replied to my post, and thanks to those who have replied with suggestions and advices, I will not be deleting this ad, but many of You and Your advices have opened My eyes, so I will apologize and retract from my offer, it seems that I didn't know what I was asking when I asked for help, I will be taking the advices instead of the help that i have been offered, again, I apologized for using Your time

Monday, June 25, 2012


I emailed my contact at one of my temp agencies in DC to ask if she had any work for me. (I've had all of six days of work from her this year, in Jan. and Feb.) She doesn't have anything for me. Here's part of her response:

Haha Hey there! [WTF kind of greeting is that!]

Thanks so much for reaching out [Can she be any more unoriginal.]. . . . What’s the latest with you and your projects? [It's none of her f**kin' business.]

A painful read

A movie synopsis on

FORKS OVER KNIVES examines the profound claim that most; if not all; of the so-called "diseases of affluence" that afflict us can be controlled; or even reversed; by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Business jargon

One of the worst I ever heard (not on this list) is "socialize this document." A manager at one of my former employers asked me to do that with a presentation paper I wrote for a meeting. I had to ask someone what it meant: distribute the document.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Oh, aren't they so hip!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


This past Sunday morning, if I had not arisen when I did, and if I then had not decided to go out for a photo shoot, and if I then had not decided to stop at Starbucks, and if I then had not decided to go to a nearby garden park for another photo session, I would not have arrived at the park when I did.

When I got out of the car, I saw a guy with a serious camera and tripod shooting close-ups. I've been thinking of getting a tripod.

So, if I then had not decided to speak with him about tripods, I would not have met Mike A.

If I had then ended the discussion with Mike after getting his opinions/suggestions on tripods and not asked him "what do you do?" [i.e., his job], he probably would not have asked me the same.

When I told him I'm an editor, he asked me what I edit. My answer included "government proposals." His eyes widened. 

He told me the following: He's an IT software engineer for an area government IT contractor (just like one for whom I was the senior editor) whose business has exploded in the past five years in terms of revenue and employees. He said they can't keep up with the hundreds of inquiries they get from the government and fellow companies that want to partner on proposals. He said that people like him who do the writing are also doing some of  the editing. He asked me to send him my resume and particulars and told me that he'd pass the information along to his manager. 

When I left, he said to me, "Don't forget to send me your resume." I did so as soon as I got home.

He didn't even acknowledge receipt of it. I know it's just Tuesday, but still . . . after all, we're photo brothers after speaking for about 45 minutes.

If the above hadn't happened, I would not have to deal with probably having my hopes dashed again.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Editors AKA Writers

The increasing number of proposal editor positions that also include writing proposal is very disturbing. Every place that I've worked on proposals -- FT and freelance -- had writers and editors.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Gem found online

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Not that I have any work to do in my home office, but it's nice to know that starting on Tuesday I can wear this "to work":

Monday, May 21, 2012

As much value as a seven-day weather forecast

Dear BUD,

Thank you for submitting your resume. Our management team is reviewing your qualifications and will contact you if there is a match with our current open positions. 

Meanwhile, using your email address and password, you can login to our careers website anytime to view your status and edit your application information. 

We appreciate your interest in XXX and wish you the best of luck in your job search.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Good Cleaner Needed !!"

[I'm so glad I placed a post on Craigslist re looking for editing work.]


I am in urgent need of a neat and organised cleaner that can help in cleaning my 3 bedroom house, the applicant must be 18 years and older , i will be paying $400 weekly and the house is located within the city, you will be cleaning for 2- 3 hours through the week.. i will like to hear back from you asap if you are interested.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

CNET needs a copy editor

"Intel has been on a quest to push ultrabooks as the latest and greatest technology. Last year the chipmaker created a $300 fund to aid hardware and software companies aiming to enhance the lightweight laptops." 

Good luck with that, Intel.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Temp agencies: a lower form of life than pond scum

Two weeks ago one of the agencies with whom I've worked contacted me about work that was pouring into their office from a client organization. They ran out of editors and asked me if I was interested. Not a word since. I call this "vapor work."

This agency, along with the rest of them, operate with even less humanity than the notorious pond scum that is Human Resources. They don't have to present themselves as representing the interests of employees vs. a company/organization. Nor do they, even superficially, need to purport to reflect a corporate culture that is concerned about employees.  

I believe that temp agency employees are the dropouts and failures of the HR profession who couldn't rise to the surface of the pond. And perhaps the most outrageous aspect of working for them is that however long you have an assignment they will receive their pound of flesh -- the roughly 33% (commission) as much as you earn.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wash. Post editorial jobs for May 1

There are 78 jobs; of those, 15 are for interns and 8 for volunteers. The latter effectively reduces the market by 30%.

"Give us your tired, your poor, your hungry, your huddled masses yearning to work for free or for a pittance.”

Friday, April 27, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Maybe I ought to rethink my aversion to a FT office job

"My biggest accomplishment at the office today." (from

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lost in Translation

Enlgish/Japanese Translation Project (Washington, D.C.)

To-do list

Get a haircut and trim my beard for a job interview on Tuesday.

Those are two, among countless reasons why I prefer virtual work.

What is beyond "profound ambivalence"?

Whatever it is, I've got it regarding going back into an office job.

On the one hand, I now have complete control over my schedule/daily routine. On the other, if I were to get one of the FT jobs I applied for, I'd have to commute in rush-hour traffic almost two hours a day to toil in a office among a group of people which no doubt would contain some I don't want anything to do with; not to mention all the other BS that comes with a regular job.

The last time I worked in an office was September '09. It is almost unimaginable to see myself ending my two and half years of freedom.

Notwithstanding the need for income, my Little Man Inside is screaming, "Have I taught you nothing!"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On writing

From legendary sports writer Red Smith: "Writing is easy. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."

This suggests an item that should be included in the Welcome Kit for many of the hack writers hired by Demand Media, among other companies.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I can relate

Every time I have a Nutella snack, I have to control myself to not let this happen. One of the world's great foods.

In addition to not having self-control, the poster also has issues with commas!

Seriously, this is under "Writing/Editing" on DC Craigslist

Wanted: Trophy Wife. . .

I am looking to fill an immediate opening in my home, as soon as possible. The position will be demanding, but the perks of the job will absolutely outweigh the stresses of the day. Any applicants must be willing to perform a few simple day to day tasks. . .

First is to wake up every day in my arms. And even after we wake to lay there and enjoy that feeling of love and happiness. Before the kids bust through the doors, before the stress of the day even has a chance to make an appearance. . . just lay. After I am able to tear myself from your arms, you have an option: either enjoy a fine cup of loose leaf tea in bed, or by the fireplace. After. . . you make it through the tea, we get the kids ready for school, as a team. Pack lunches and snacks, get them dressed, breakfast as a family, and then off to catch the bus. At this point, I'll be off for the day for another day at the office. . . but I will never rush off without holding you in my arms as if it were the last time. . . and just when I am about to let go, hold you for a little longer.

At this point in the day, you have some flexibility. . . you could spend some time catching up on the book you are trying to finish. Or head straight to the gym, in the brand new company car (our your choosing of course). This may include, but is certainly not limited to, any number of Zumba/Yoga/Crossfit/etc classes desired. All membership fees and workout clothes will be included as part of your compensation package. After the gym, please make full use of the whirlpool tub to relax. Or, if you don't feel like the gym that day, head straight to the mall for some shopping or a pedicure or to get you hair done. . . all on the company credit card.

I hope your work environment will be suitable, as you will have your own corner office, with which you can fully focus on your writing career. Whether you are tinkering with a new concept, or putting the finishing touches on another masterpiece, this will be an ideal space with which to focus.

In the afternoon, you will have to pickup my son from preschool and perform an extremely important task. Have fun. Play in the playroom, take him to the park, play on the swing set, watch a movie with him. . . But be sure to save some of that energy for when my daughter gets off the bus. . .. And then the fun just continues. . . until I return home from the office. At this point I expect to be fully bombarded by my kids. . . dual hug style, knocking me to the floor, hands still full from just coming in the door. Once I regain my composure though, please be ready, because 8 hours of not being able to be by your side will be unbearable and my only thought in that moment will be to kiss you like it was our first and last kiss.

We'll take turns cooking dinner. . . and often will prepare the meal together. We'll eat as a family and listen to each other tell the stories of their days. After dinner, we'll spend time with the kids together. Playing board games, doing homework, practicing instruments, singing songs, doing artwork, reading stories, going for bike rides. . .. After getting the kids off to bed, please be prepared to receive a massage by the fireplace, while the stresses and noises of the day go quiet.

Other perks, in no particular order: surprise picnics, weekend getaways, nights out for movies/dinners/concerts/etc, my singing you songs and leaving you notes, unbounded support for you writing career, boots. . . lots and and lots of boots. . . A true partner, in every sense of the word. . . in life, parenthood, friendship, and love. Finally, it will be my job to create a life with you. . . completely and utterly consumed by both passion and love.


A fellow editor's reaction: "2 composition score for excessive use of ellipsis along with batshit craziness."

Saturday, April 14, 2012


EditorLive, which appears to be an online term-paper mill, is looking for editors.

Part of the application process involves a 30-minute test which includes questions related to your knowledge of "Chicago, APA, AP, MLA, CSE, and other style manuals."

I have nearly 30 years of editing experience and have worked with maybe half of those styles. I bailed after 10 minutes.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Job hunting is a bitch

What else is left to say! First I got the following email yesterday, called her, and then we set up a phone interview for today with the hiring manager. (I applied for this job a few days ago.)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: xxxx
Date: Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 1:08 PM
Subject: Head Start Editor (Website) Position
To: ""


We are currently hiring for the position of a Website Editor.Your resume indicates that you might be a good fit. I have attached a brief description below. If this is a position that interests you, please call me.
• Bachelor’s degree in English or Communications from an accredited U.S. college or university
• 10 years of experience with writing, editing and/or communications
• 4 years of experience with editing website content
• Proficiency with Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint
• Excellent editing, writing, organizational, follow-up and oral communication skills
• Highly-motivated, detail-oriented, quick learner with a professional demeanor
• Business/ technical writing education is a plus
• Head Start-related experience is a plus

I look forward to hearing from you.

Then I got this:


Unfortunately, I have to cancel your phone interview with Wendy. The new job requirements given to us now require Head Start experience. I truly apologize and we will keep your resume as we have other upcoming projects that may better suit your experience.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A "contact" job for a contact sport?

World Wrestling Entertainment is seeking an Editor-in-Chief.

Among the required skills is: "Knowledge of the structure and contact of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar."


For all intents and purposes

This is my new professional name:

Monday, April 9, 2012

I have a good feeling about this one

I just applied for a FT editor position that has the following as a requirement: "The employee is frequently required to talk or hear."

At the risk of jinxing myself, I'll say that I think my ship is about to come in.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Diminishing Returns

I just applied for a FT editor position that requires 2-3 years of experience. I've got almost 30 years under my belt.

There is no longer any way that I can "dumb down my resume" to a point where it will get me in the door for an interview for most jobs.

The chances of my getting this job are nil.


This is what I think about an agency that got me one week of work in four months:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Non sequitur

"Steve Jobs Hated The New Apple TV UI, But Apple Changed It Anyway" (from the Cult of Mac website)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The writing on the wall is more like broad brush strokes

I found out that one of my former supervisors—real salt of the earth—started his own publishing consulting business. I emailed him to see if he had any freelance editing work. He responded, in part:

"I have a domain, an email based on my domain, an LLC, an EIN, and business cards. I have absolutely everything except clients. And ambition. I'm short on ambition and I don't have any clients. But I'm happy."

Happy about what I wonder.

I've milked everything I can think of out of the NoVA area, to no avail. I have an unshakable feeling that my editing days are numbered. That in itself would not be a terrible thing. The problem is I can't figure out another way to earn a decent buck.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I see what you're doing here

The American Institutes for Research has an ad on Craigslist for a test development assistant.

At the bottom of the ad, AIR writes, "Email applications will not be considered." But then the ad instructs the reader to visit its website, search on the job title, and apply through the website (read: via email).

Obviously, "Email applications will not be considered" means via the "Reply to" link at the top of the ad—the common practice for most CL posts.

Maybe the apparent dead end is a way to separate the potential wheat from the (clueless) chaff.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Passive voice

I'm not obsessive-compulsive about PV, but I think this New York Times headline really sucks: "U.S. Sergeant Is Said to Kill 16 Civilians in Afghanistan"

There's no question he did it: "Stalking from home to home, a United States Army sergeant methodically killed at least 16 civilians, 9 of them children."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Aborted job application

I started to apply for a job online, and then faced the crap below (click image to enlarge it), which had sections for several jobs. I just can't. WTF is a resume for! Plus, is there any area where we BS more than "Reason for Leaving." Maybe pay.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mr. Redundant

An editor looking for work via his Craigslist post claims to have "experience in shortening papers for specificity and brevity."

Big deal. Now shortening for lengthiness would really be something special.

Friday, March 2, 2012

"Early" is perhaps the new "never"

I had a second interview last week for a PT editing position. The following is part of an email I received in response to my "thank-you" email:

"Teresa and I will be de-briefing early next week and will be back in touch as we make our decisions."

Well, early and mid week have passed, and it's now late in the week. And nary a peep from them.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nut jobs need not apply

One of the requirements listed under an editor ad on Craigslist:

"Looking for stable, responsible, drama-free person."

Many people think that editors are nuts. I guess the company in question recently had one such wacko.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I think we know where this is headed.

Madonna's forthcoming CD is "MDNA." If you're that well known by just your first name, why bother with spelling it out.

BD (the artist formerly known as Bud)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"All applicants MUST include salary expectations."

F**k every employer that includes that in a job ad.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

For Sale

Whoever posted this ad doesn't need a computer. He needs an English teacher:

"The Dell Inspiron E1505 notebook is a great condition. It already pre-installed Window 7 Home Premium Operating System. 1.73 Ghz Processor Speed, and Intel Core 2 of the Processor type. If you will be interested in adding upgrades memory, hard drive disk, etc then, you will be responsibilities paying on your own. I am highly recommend you need to be consider do choose a free Microsoft Essential Security download through website for free Anti-Virus Program."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"Attention to detail a must"

Is that really needed as a requirement in ads for editors? That's what we do by definition.

Testing applicants—as well errors in resumes and cover letters—will weed out those who demonstrate an inattention to detail.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It's better to give than to receive. Not.

From the Washington Post ads under "editor":

Ask not what an employer can do for you, but what you can do for an employer. The editing job market has taken an ugly turn.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Overkill: Editor Testing, cont'd

In a Craigslist post by Publications Professionals LLC in Fairfax, VA:

"ALL candidates must successfully complete a 3-hour-long battery of tests of their English-language, editorial, and proofreading skills."

I passed PP's test in 2002, which led to a temp-to-perm position. I was hired after three months, worked at that company until 2007, and then quit in a huff over my nonsensical reassignment driven by politics. I evidently have been blacklisted by PP ever since; my many inquiries re temp work have been fruitless.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The never-ending testing of our skills

Regardless of how much experience an editor has, he will usually be required to take an editing test when applying for a job. It's insulting, among other things, in that it effectively dismisses all previous experience.

And what's even worse than being tested is being tested twice.

I sent an email to BARE Intl., a company for which I did some freelance editing in the past. BARE sends out mystery shoppers for its clients, and the shoppers submit reports that are edited before submission to client companies.

Here's part of the response I received:

My records indicate that you have not edited for BARE since January 2010. Based on that fact, I would be happy to process your request to be re-instated as a freelance editor to take on editing assignments (when the next one becomes available), but I would need the following documentation from you first:

1) a copy of your most recent resume
[Apparently the resume that BARE has that summarizes 27 years of editing experience won't suffice.]
2) a completed skills demonstration test [I already passed the test.]
3) a signed Independent Contractor Agreement [BARE has my signed agreement on hand.]

I have many lines in the sand that I will never cross. Double-testing is one of them.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The cheap bastards at is running ads for a variety of virtual editorial positions, including for FT copy editors at $12/hour with no benefits, and for a FT Assistant Print Manager. I responded to the latter ad as follows:

$30K/year with the specified requirements, full-time and no benefits?

You asked for a graph about my favorite movie character. It's your company, aka Scrooge.

Shame on you for undervaluing and exploiting the editing profession to the extreme.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This title writer deserves a raise and a promotion.

"Company you've never heard of acquires copy and paste clipboard-molesting jerks to create an even bigger pile of shit" (from, 1/25/12)

Monday, January 23, 2012


I tried to apply online for an editor position today.

After uploading my resume and filling in a host of boxes, I was prompted to create a password in order to establish my account—in my view a totally unnecessary but nearly universal requirement for online applications.

Despite my repeated attempts to create an acceptable password—upper/lowercase, length, use of numbers and special characters—every password I typed was rejected.

I wonder if the website got beyond alpha testing. That employer will be underwhelmed by the number of applications.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I got an emailed job rejection today from Deloitte. It came from

I guess Deloitte got tired of the "fuck you" responses.

Monday, January 16, 2012


I just finished a temp assignment on a government proposal submitted by an IT company.

A bizarre, never-seen-before error that I had to fix repeatedly in the proposal was that one writer placed a comma before and after "as well as."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bound and gagged

I've got a short-term temp editing assignment to do proposal editing for a government contractor.

Before starting I had to sign a nondisclosure agreement.

When I arrived I was given a visitor pass and swipe card to use when entering and going from one floor to another. I have to wear them on a lanyard around my neck.

Junior Copywriter Needed in Fairfax County!

If Seinfeld's Mr. Lippman saw that Craigslist post, he'd say, "Get rid of the exclamation point. Just sayin'.

Also spotted in the post:

If so, this job is for you!

Must be positive, optimistic, and enthusiastic!!

If you are interested in this exciting opportunity, please send your resume to the email address above and reference "Junior Copywriter" in your subject line!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Yahoo! needs a copy editor

In a story about the Saints win over Detroit:

“We were pulling out all the stops,” Brees said. “We play aggressive. We’re not going to apologize for that. That gives guys in the huddle a lot of confidence. We’re not going to pull the reins back. It’s pedal to the medal.”

Friday, January 6, 2012

Third time a charm?

Next week I'll be taking an editing test for a copy editing position I applied for at The Motley Fool.

TMF is located in an office complex that I've been to before—twice to take editing tests, both of which I failed.

The first time was at the Rand Corp., in the same building as TMF. The test was to edit some report about the Middle East. It was filled with Arabic names. Rather than having my wits about me and inserting a note re "check spelling of names," I looked up as many as I could in the hour (I had access to the Internet), which left me no time to edit the document. Failed.

The second time was at the Society for Human Resources Management, across the street. I was given a sh!tload of related news reports and told to write a summary along the lines of a newsletter briefing report. I had an hour. I couldn't even get through reading the material in that time. Close to the end of the hour I got up and left. Failed.

So it's the third time is a charm vs. things come in threes.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's nice to know that nothing's changed.

After freelancing for more than two years, I am job hunting again, including looking for FT jobs.

Here are snippets from a series of emails between me and a prospective employer who has a copy editing position available.

To me: The test is a one-hour, timed test, and you will need access to a computer, internet, printer, and scanner.

From me: I don't have access to a scanner. 

To me: Do you have access to a scanner?

From me: As I indicated in my previous email, I don't have access to a scanner.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

This person doesn't know the meaning of "edit."

On DC Craigslist:

Editing a book (work at home)

Looking for a student majoring in English or comparative lit to edit a book translated from Polish. This has to be done quickly, ideally by year-end, starting immediately. Principals only.


I had to respond to the post:

I can barely believe your post. You're looking for someone -- a bilingual student -- with no editing experience to take on a book manuscript, in translation no less. You've got a lot to learn -- that is, everything -- about editing and publishing.

In one short ad, you have reduced the value of experience in the editing profession to virtually zero.

Maybe you'll find a little "editor" in your Xmas stocking Sunday morning. More likely you'll find pieces of coal.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Racing to the bottom: $12.50/hour


Journatic is a news content provider that provides editorial services to some of the most respected news organizations in the world. We are looking to immediately fill the position of 'Project Manager' for our news briefs. This is full-time, remote position. The pay is $26,000/yr., no benefits.

Consider applying if you:

-Can think creatively to find solutions [If so, there's no way you'd apply for this position.]

-Understand quality assurance [QA isn't achieved at entry-level compensation.]

-Can measure and report Journatic performance to management [As if management would care; the company's pay structure is a barometer of that.]

-Can recognize and speak up about issues as they arise [How about we start with how you're exploiters.]

-Can manage numerous data/content projects in varied locations simultaneously [Sure. Why not! Someone will end up performing management magic on slave wages.]

If qualified [you'd be an idiot to apply to these greedy bastards] and interested:

1) Send your resume to jobs (at) journatic (dot) com

2) Include the words "Briefs Project Manager" and the number 138829 in the email subject header

3) Explain in one paragraph the answer to the following question: "If you could have dinner with one famous American, past or present, who would it be and why?" [A better question would be, How can you bastards sleep at night?]

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Last night I had a dream in which the main "character" was a street named "Freedom Road."

Being trapped in the whirl of hustling to get freelance work is a bitch.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WTF did you contact me?

I received the following (with some more details) on Dec. 12 from an Aquent rep:

"I found your resume in our database, and you look like you'd be a great fit for a job opportunity I have available for a part-time Editor/Proofreader.

"I'd like to share more details with you. If you're interested, drop me a note and I'll give you a call."

I emailed her. No response.

I called her. She said she'd send me an email with a number of different times from which I could choose, so she could call me at a convenient time for me. No email.

I've subsequently sent her four emails, expressing my interest. No response.

Clearly, she contacted me solely for the purpose of meeting some kind of quota.

I will continue to send her emails, just to be a pain in the ass.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mother love

A Reddit poster wrote, "My Mom like's to paint rocks!"

Mom should also take a look at her kid's writing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

HR going by another name

An email I got from Aquent yesterday brings back vivid memories of what I experienced countless times over many years and call "the temp agency tease," as in "we've got something perfect for you yadda yadda yadda."

I called the Aquent rep yesterday, and rather than talk with me about the position, she said she'd email a list of times she could call, and that I should pick one. I still haven't received the email.

I have no doubt that temp agency reps have an incentive to make a certain number of contacts a week, month, or whatever. I know of what I speak. I've dealt with many of them. I have an interview this week with The Creative Group in DC that might very well turn out the same way.

People who work for temp agencies are in effect HR folks, and we know about them. I think they're recruiters who couldn't make the cut into the more prestigious and higher-paying agencies. This is not cynicism; this is the reality of temping through agencies.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Advertising with forked tongue is looking for a staff writer. Its ad on includes this mixed message:

"Our ideal candidate has also cursed at an editor and threatened to resign at least once because some idiot wanted to change his or her perfect lede."

But later in the ad: "We don't focus on output. Instead, we try to develop good writers. We believe if we can help you write better, everything else will fall into place. We'll challenge you to push yourself and grow, but we also offer support through coaching and mentorship."

Guess what: You can't have it both ways.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Breaking bread . . . and perhaps limbs

I've concluded that far too many writers who select articles about building dining room, kitchen, and other tables must not own any tables, and perhaps have never actually seen one. For example, on more than one occasion I've seen the direction to attach the legs but without any mention that they should be at or close to the corners, or at least placed in a way that stabilizes the table.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Someone at needs to learn how to shorten a post for an associate editor

"Foreign Policy is currently looking to hire an ass..."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tit for tat

Writer note: "Please see ref#1 before changing multi-station, because it’s important that we maintain our technical accuracy/legitimacy."

My note to writer: "AP style, which we use, trumps how a reference treats 'multistation'; hence the changes that I made."

RTFM if you want to "maintain our technical accuracy/legitimacy."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"How to Slice an Orange"

I just copy edited an article with that title. I had to bring all 28 years of my editing experience to bear on that challenge.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pet peeve

When writers use "ground" rather than "floor." Maybe they live in dirt huts.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Say "cheese"

From Mr. Redundancy: "a built-in camera for taking pictures."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Featured: Bad Intro

"The iPhone 4 is a popular, fully-featured smartphone that features a number of features..."

Thursday, May 12, 2011


This is what Demand copy editors refer to as a TFPT (10-foot-pole title): "How to Not Sync an App Without Deleting It"

Your guess is as good as mine.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Editing test, a first

I sent a cold letter of inquiry re freelance work to a publishing company in NoVA, after seeing a craigslist post for a managing editor position (I think that's what it was; in any case it mentioned managing freelancers). I got a response today, with an 8-page editing test. Among the instructions was this: 

"3. Please supply a document-specific style sheet; it should show (1) a list of specific vocabulary terms and word spellings/usage particular to this document; (2) conventions for number usage; (3) acronyms used in the document; (4)  hyphenation usage (specific hyphenated terms) in this chapter; (5) special symbols used, if any; and (5) a query list (referencing the approximate line number where the query occurs within your edited file)."

I don't think so.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Titles for dummies

"How to Open Schlage A-Series Locks": At the risk of sounding like I have an idiot bias, who doesn't know that you insert the key and turn it. That pretty much was the content of the article.

Friday, April 22, 2011

One for the ages

A fellow Demand copy editor sent an article back to the writer for a rewrite. The writer then bitched on a Demand forum about not understanding what the copy editor wanted.

The copy editor posted her reaction on a Facebook group that some 120+ of us have formed:

"Hmmm...unless by 'not sure' he meant that he has no idea what I was saying, which since I was saying that I had no idea what he was saying, would be ironic."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My article copy editing day begins

First up is a "How-to" article: Under "Things You'll Need" are "Potectuive gloves" and "Googles."

ETA: Excedrin.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sneaking in?

This photo is my LOL of the day. It's the image used in an article titled "Fixing a Squeaky Stair." The question is, Why does she not want to make a sound?

Neither left nor right

Thanks to one of the few writers who acknowledges that not everyone is right-handed: "Hold the trigger end of the drill in your dominant hand and place your other hand under the front of the drill."

Pulling no punches

One of my fellow article copy editors included the following note in a rewrite request to a wordy writer:

"If you're going to use that many words, make sure each one has a job to do."


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Where gun opponents fear to tread

I just copy edited an article titled, "The Best Way to Clean a Muzzleloader Shotgun."

Couldn't wait to finish it.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


When a writer's bio reads like an obit: "After learning electronics in the U.S. Navy in the 1980s, xxx spent a lifetime in the construction industry..."

Maybe it just felt that way.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


You know that horrifying experience of driving in the middle of the night, suddenly waking up after you've fallen asleep for a second or two, and then realizing that you might have just driven through a red traffic light you can see in your rear-view mirror.

In that vein, I just woke up to the sight of the approval screen of an article on how to change the combination on a Master Lock. I need to reread it; I have no recollection of editing it.

Shiver me timbers

First article edited today: "How to Make Your Own Sword Cleaning Kit."

I picked it in honor of Edit Like a Pirate Day.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

In a nutshell

One of my fellow copy editors for Demand Media pretty much captures what it's like to edit bad writing:

"Today, I wish my job were to tell writers what's right about their articles, instead of what's wrong. Then I could just say 'Nothing,' and move on."

Friday, March 25, 2011

From TitleBot mania to Storyville

Wherein I transform the work of article title writers into a summary of a short short story.

These (actual) titles were in my queue today at the same time (all "Thanks but No Thanks" titles, not selected): How to Put a Hole in a Rock, How to Live Without a Lawnmower, Places to Buy a Single Red Rose, How Can I Make a Family Tree Look Like a Tree?

A poor, tortured loner with an aversion to lawn care escapes into his secret world in a boulder, where he soon meets his maker. His sister, the lone survivor of the family and known for her inability to even draw a stick figure, sets a solitary rose in a vase on her desk as she begins the task of putting to paper a diagram of the family's lineage.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

DIY projects rule

"Building your own barbecue can give you the look of a professionally made grill without the expense."

I'm there; I always wanted to look like a pro grill.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Unintended consequences

‎From a DIY article: "Adding stain to a wooden beam after distressing it with other materials can give you an old weathered look."

This is most likely not the result the homeowner is looking for.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"John Deere" makes my blacklist

For a while, I was selecting articles about JD products. Many of them were written by a woman who included the following note with each article: "the [yes, lowercase] second reference is my husband who is a service manager at a John Deere dealership with 15 years of experience. He gave me the additional information not found in the manuals."

He did not, however, give her guidance on run-on sentences and the basic rules of punctuation and capitalization. I tried in several notes to her included with my rewrite requests. Fail.

To paraphrase the Soup Nazi, "no more John Deere for you!"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Baby steps

When I send an article back to the writer with a rewrite request, he has four days to resubmit. If he doesn't, the article expires but I still get paid for my work on it.

This is from the writer's bio in an expired article: "[Mr. Expired] is a freelance writer and began writing at the age of 18."

Kind of a late start, wouldn't you say. Apparently he hasn't learned how to rewrite yet.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lefties left in the lurch

As someone who writes and shoots pool lefty (slightly ambidextrous), I protest in the harshest terms possible the right-handedness bias of many writers.

I always change "hold the xx with your right hand and twist it with your left hand," for example, to "hold the xx with one hand and twist it with the other hand." Just sayin'.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

From a Mr. Wordy article

"Some people may discover when they forget their combination that they cannot find where they stored the information sheet that came with the lock that had the combination on it."

That was painful, wasn't it.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Writer's comments

Article writers often include comments to us copy editors if they feel that doing so would help us in some way.

Another Mr. Obvious (and there are so many) carries on that proud tradition in his writer's comments for "Landscaping for Above Ground Swimming Pools." He wrote, "I just wrote about what I would do when landscaping around a pool."

I don't know how I could have proceeded without that context.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Discriminatory title of the day

‎"Above Ground Garden Plans": How about the subterranean gardeners? What are they, chopped liver?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bad writers will be the death of me.

From an article on troubleshooting a refrigerator: ‎"if the ice maker is not fulfilling both of these responsibilities"

There's nothing worse than an irresponsible ice maker.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Of the 1000s of titles I've copy edited, this one comes the closest to setting up a joke.

"How to Change a Light Bulb on a Harley-Davidson Ceiling Fan" -- A whole lot of rigmarole led up to a big finish: "Unscrew the existing light bulb by rotating it in a counterclockwise motion. Insert the new light bulb by rotating it in a clockwise motion."

Somewhere out there is some poor soul, sitting in the dark, perhaps with his family, whose life will be immeasurably improved by something I'm proud to have worked on.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Category fail or not? You decide.

"What are Ways to Get a Boyfriend" is listed as a Criminal Law article.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tool Time

"Replace it by unscrewing it frmo it's harness using a screwdriver if it is broken."

This writer is broken, and I'd like to use a screwdriver to . . .

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Confound modifiers

I don't know what their problem is, but almost to the idiot, the Demand Media TitleBots fail to hyphenate compound modifiers.

I've got a blood-pressure spike at the moment.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Vague to the extreme

Arguably the weakest link in the Demand Media article-generation chain are the title writers, proofers, and those who do QC of titles. Here's a perfect example:

"How to Become an Instructor." Everyone who eyed that title before its release should receive a good thrashing. And I mean that in the harshest of terms. Seriously. No hyperbole.

FT job vs. freelancing

No contest. Here are my top 10 pros and a couple of cons:
Weight down
Blood pressure down
Sugar level down
Cholesterol down
Stress down
Sleep and work when I want to
No commute
No dry cleaning bill
Work with people I like (me)
Staff meetings I actually enjoy (self-reflection)
Two major drawbacks: Medicare health coverage sucks; can't get a handle on the income tax area

Monday, February 7, 2011

The joy of freelancing

Stayed up until 2 this morning to watch "The Social Network" (highly recommended). Woke up a bit too early, doing some work for a while, then back to bed to catch up on sleep. And so it goes at the office today.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Oh the humanity

If corporations can be persons, many writers apparently believe that people can be things.

Most of the how-to articles that I edit have a section that lists things you'll need to complete a particular project.

And I'm getting sick and tired of seeing people listed under "Things You'll Need.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Swimming pools

Over the past weeks, I've copy edited scores of instructional articles about pools. And what I've learned, more than anything else, is that there are countless pool owners out there who are more than a few gallons short of a full pool.

They don't know how to fill or empty a pool, or how to cover and uncover one. And don't even get me started on filters, pumps, skimmers, and chlorine, etc. I pray these people know how to keep their kids safe.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Simply. Can't. Deal. With. This. Now.

‎From an article on swimming pool maintenance: "Resolve even the smallest leak in your pool filter before it turns into a bigger leak. Leaks can indicate damaged parts; over time, and possibly very quickly, the damage becomes larger and, in turn, the leak becomes larger."

Maybe later when I might have the stomach for it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

More title vagueness

"Company Responsibility for Employee Engagement": Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I sure hope none of the health/fitness/exercise writers whose online articles I edit read Otherwise I might find a variation of the following in an upcoming article: "she worked me into her spring break cardio plan. im mondays and wednesdays."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Zen and the art of conscience maintenance

I just copy edited an article on Weed Eater strings. It had five sections like this one: "The 0.080-inch, 40-foot replacement Weed Eater strings are available in three different formats: the Tap N’ Go I L.H, part no. 952-701589, which is compatible with Weed Eater models BC 24W and 30B; GTI 19T; HP30SBP; TBC57; XR105; XT 125KT and 125T; and YP140, as well as the Tap N’ Go II Dual Exit, part no. 952-711564, which is compatible with the Weed Eater BC3100."

I've heard tell that some copy editors might not check all the "facts" in this sort of material. Can you imagine being that irresponsible! We're talking weeds here, people.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An article title path not taken

"Thousands of Red Bumps on Legs": IMHO, anyone who actually continues to count beyond several hundred might also seek treatment for OCD.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sentence du jour

‎"Lightweight rowers must be careful not to gain too much weight otherwise they will find themselves no longer illegible for lightweight competition."

And we all know how painful that can be.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A year and a half of online article editing

From ratting out a coworker (5/13/09, How to Report an Employee Not Keeping His Office Clean) to keeping high blood pressure, etc., at bay (10/20/10, Sodium in Sunflower Seeds), in the words of the Grateful Dead, "Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Editing is life; life is editing.

An editor friend of mine is a half glass full, make lemonade out of lemons kind of person. I'm the opposite; perhaps that's why we get along so well-- you know, opposites attract.

I was bemoaning the fact that a proposal I'm editing is absolutely brutal. I told her it's like the worst nonfiction MS you can imagine that has been accepted by an acquisition/development editor who cares only about meeting a quota and not a wit about what Acquisitions traditionally has done.

She said that it sounds like what we try to with each project: making the best of a bad situation. (For two and a half years, I was a colleague of hers, as a freelance editor where she still works as a freelancer -- at a nonfiction publisher in NOVA. So we've both seen our fair share of MS's that never should have been accepted and/or turned over to Editorial.)

After this recent conversation with her -- a variation on the same theme we've kicked around ad nauseum -- it occurred to me that, indeed, editing does imitate life, and vice versa. Our profession would make for an interesting career day, n'est-ce pas?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

From a writer bio

Now this is the kind of credential I like to see in the writers I edit: "xxxx has been telecommuting and freelancing since 1994."

We all know that telecommuting is one the most highly prized and widely respected feathers in the caps of the best writers of our time.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Millions of words

I was curious about the number of words I've edited in my online article editing job. Here are the numbers:

I've edited 5,560 articles @ 450 words/per (assuming that average) = 2,502,000 words. To put that number in perspective, it is about three times the number of words written by Shakespeare (884,646, according to the "Folger Shakespeare Library").

In scanning some of the Bard's quotations, I found one which could apply to the untold number of god-awful articles that are returned to the writers for a rewrite: "We cannot conceive of matter being formed of nothing, since things require a seed to start from... Therefore there is not anything which returns to nothing, but all things return dissolved into their elements."

Monday, October 4, 2010

When I first became aware of the editing profession

It was around 1973. I was working at Planned Parenthood HQ in NYC.

On the elevator ride up to my office one morning, there were two guys having an esoteric discussion about the use of a particular word, or it might have been about using one word vs. another. I thought to myself something like: Imagine that, having an entire discussion about a word. These guys must be editors, and this is what they do for a living.

That was the first time I even thought about editing and editors. And here I am 37 years later and into my 27th year of editing.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Forest for the trees

I just edited an article by a writer who is unable to discriminate.

He followed the rule relating to spelling out numbers below 10 to a ridiculous and infuriating (for me) extreme. In his article on the nutritional value of the 3 Musketeers bar, he wrote Three Musketeers in every instance.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Unnecessary Q Marks Dept.

Recent BBC headline (I see air quotes): Twin blasts in Baghdad 'kill 23'

Not actually killed? Not 23 people? What?

Search engine minimization

Article title: "How to Loose 13 Pounds in 68 Days"

Putting aside "loose," where in the world do those numbers come from? Is there a person alive who would have those specific weight-loss goals? Search engine minimization if I've ever seen it.

Echo Writing

An article I edited contains: "It also has a veggie burger as a vegetarian option. It also has a veggie burger."

I'd suggest a piece of Wrigley Doublemint gum as a refreshing chaser after the burger.

Not a good sign

The first article I opened up to edit this morning begins with, ‎"Loosing weight around your stomach . . . " And so my Friday begins.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"I'd rather be sailing"

No doubt you've seen that expression on bumper stickers.

Well guess what, mateys, you can do just that while you're playing golf. So throw your block and tackle and other nautical gear into your golf bag, because according to an article on golf terms that I just edited (and returned to the author for a rewrite), golf courses can "contain oceans."

Just think of it, you'll be able to yell "fore" and "hard alee" during your next "good walk spoiled," as golf has been called. The article, which was filled with errors, scored a hole in one (i.e., the bottom of a 1-5 scale).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A writer with low self-esteem?

I edited an article today that had "Asso." as the abbrev. for Association. Fitting.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another Title Fail

I passed on this one in my queue for online article editing:

"The Calories Burned When Swimming in a 25-Foot Pool"

It must be written for readers who are members of teeny tiny itsy bitsy aquatic facilities.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Everywhere like such as"

She's right up there with the countless writers who don't know the difference between "like" and "such as." I am astounded by how many there are.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Self-interest vs. self-plagiarism

One of the "gatekeeping" responsibilities I have for the online article editing I do is to look out for writers who self-plagiarize and report them to the company.

When I first started this work, I took that responsibility seriously. And then I realized how much time it took, and the extent to which it could impact my hourly earnings.

Therefore, I never pick two very similar titles within roughly 24 hours. No doubt that writers grab them to make their work easier, and any self-respecting self-plagiarist would be a fool not to do the same.

I'm more interested in maximizing my income than I am in wasting time to determine whether someone appears to be guilty of S-P, and then having an internal debate about morality and my responsibilities.


Call me a rebel, but I'll continue to wear my white T-shirts in my home office after Labor Day.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I love the smell of an Expired in the morning.

I have two options for the articles that I edit online: edit and approve for publication, or edit and return to the writer with a detailed rewrite request.

If a writer receives a rewrite request, he has four days in which to comply. If the article isn't returned to my queue by the deadline, it has expired. I do, however, receive payment for having worked on it. The writer does not.

Every once in a while an article is so bad, and the rewrite request effectively asks the writer to start over, that he abandons it. This is often my hope; I simply don't want to spend another minute on an article that isn't likely to be much better the second time around.

I checked my queue and list of "Reviewed Work" this morning. My hope was realized: an Expired.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Brotherhood of the Frayed Pants

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of the last day of my final full-time position.

In countless ways, as previously described here in excruciating detail, being the senior editor in that particular proposal center was the worst editing job I've ever had.

I worked there for 20 months but knew within a few after starting that it was a bagfull of wrong. The question was how long I'd last.

I set my target resignation date to roughly coincide with my retirement in terms of Social Security, and my plan to have in place freelance editing work to supplement my SS income.

That done, the next decision was how to "mark" my progress toward September 2.

Some people fast until whatever, others don't shave or cut their hair. I chose a haberdashery approach. Specifically, I decided to wear the same pair of pants every day for the roughly 12 months leading up to the Last Day.

The fact that they, and I, made it, albeit somewhat worse for the wear, is a tribute to will power, tenacity, and fine craftsmanship.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Don't tread on me

Here's an article title that popped up in my online editing queue that never should have seen the light of day: "How Fast & Long Should I Walk Without a Treadmill?"

I'd proffer that it depends on whether the treadmill will feel (1) slighted if its pace can't keep up, and (2) lonely and abandoned as you disappear into the distance.

Out-of-body experiences

Many writers of the fitness/health articles I edit are apparently instructing the readers to have OBEs.

Their articles are peppered with phrases such as "lay yourself down . . ."

I will collect these and include them in my next book, "Zen and the Art of Article Maintenance."

Post-tornado fitness workouts

Has your house been carried away by a tornado? Are you wondering how you can continue your at-home exercise routine? Not to worry.

Many of the online articles I edit have been written with just you, and other victims of Mother Nature's fury, in mind.

You see, the articles indicate that even without your now missing, beautiful floors, you can remain buffed. The exercise instructions include phrases such as "lie on the ground," "sit on the ground," and "kneel on the ground."

So go ahead, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and throw yourself right back down on the ground. At least you have your health.