They Really Do Like Me

English sentences with red penThe job of a proofreader is often the least appreciated at any organization and goes far beyond the scope of making sure the word public isn’t mistakenly spelled pubic.

Don’t laugh. I’ve caught that error in the past.

We are fact-checkers, legal liaisons, and basically a safety net between the organization or its clients and the public. In my case, the public is the auto-buying consumer who will review details of specific models in order to make an informed decision. After all, a car is a big purchase and things have to be right in general and in the eyes of the Legal Department.

But often the job demands ridiculous requests from any number of internal people who don’t realize or understand how the Creative Services Department operates. Sure, it’s easy for them to add a copy block to the middle of a brochure and think nothing of it – unless that block requires disclaimers, in which sometimes everything will have to be renumbered from that point on. You should see my notepad on my desk with said renumbering notes scribbled all over it. A real work of art.

And it takes time – a lot of time – to get this done right along with other changes and sent back to the Production Artist. A pat on the back for getting it done under a time-sensitive deadline? Forget it, pal. Just take your lunch and be back in an hour.

Flash-forward to today’s daily huddle in which Project Managers, Production Artists, and Proofreaders go over projects currently funneling through so that we all have an idea of our priorities. It’s also a time to make any other announcements that might affect the team.

Once projects were discussed, one PM spoke up and informed us that she had given her two-week notice and when her final day would be. Shocking to say the least as she has been with the company for some time now, and we lost another PM last week. We’ll be down two experienced PMs come July and will have to start the onboarding process with two fresh faces at that point. No pressure with everything we have going on.

When she was done with her announcement, I spoke up in order to bring attention to a recent change in the formatting of the websites we build.

“Before y’all run away, I’ve got something to say too.”

And the looks on the faces of everyone in the room were priceless. There were gasps, sighs, and other sounds of disapproval before someone said something.

“No no no, don’t even tell us you’re leaving,” one PM said, mouth agape. There were other mutterings in the background I couldn’t decipher but I can assure you they weren’t expressing joy. All eyes were fixed on me – and looking rather bulbous. I laughed, smiled, and paused a moment to build up tension – but didn’t really answer their question.

“You’ll know when I’m moving on,” I said. “But that’s not what I want to talk about.”

Always leave them guessing.

I then went into detail about the topic I wanted to discuss and gathered some input. In fact, it’s such a mess that it will require a second meeting tomorrow in order determine how to streamline the process.

With that, the meeting was over and all were relieved to learn that I wasn’t going to be the next one to make a hasty exit and they expressed it nervously. It makes me wonder what’s going on or if I should see what else is out there, but a longer commute would hardly justify the difference in pay, if any.

But just based on the reaction of all in the room it’s safe to say that, despite my impressions of being part of the most unappreciated department in the office, I’m a little more respected than previously thought for the job that I do.

And being in a position where kudos and thank-yous are rarely expressed, it felt good to get that kind of feedback and to know that we are an integral part of the machine.

What People Think I Do: Proofreader’s Version

There’s a meme floating around and I’d be quite remiss by not taking advantage of it.

Take note, however, that this assessment is based on my extremely limited capacity as a proofreader in my current position for a company that will remain nameless.

Click on the image for a larger version.


You like? Make your own at but you might want to screengrab your image (like I did above) before you save it. Both of my copies were pixelated after downloading so I had to do them again. Lame!


Dear Facebook application developers:

If you’re going to take the time to create a game that involves spelling, you might want to make sure yours is correct. This is especially true if I want to brag about my accomplishment on my Wall.

Peace and granola,
Mr. Disgruntled Unemployed Proofreader Guy


UPDATE: This is about as funny as the time when I caught the word “public” missing the L in a catalog I was proofing.


This Aggression Will Not Stand

Anthony and his friend Vanessa regularly play for at least an hour each day once she gets home from school. And for the most part, despite Vanessa being three years Anthony’s senior, they get along very well.

But something happened yesterday that threw a wrench into their playtime. Whatever it was, Anthony felt that an apology was in order for what had transpired. He did just that and Vanessa replied by leaving the following note in our mailbox:

“Anthony, I except your apology.” They then went back to playing as if nothing happened.

Aw, kids. You gotta love ’em, and can’t really fault Vanessa too much for using the wrong word here since except/accept tends to fall into the same category as affect/effect, complimentary/complementary and to/too. You might even go so far as to add are/our to that list.

Coming from the mind of a child, I can find such a mistake acceptable especially in regards to the situation. Nothing too serious and she wasn’t being graded on it. It was, for the lack of a better term, cute.

Continue reading

Career Change

As I continue to search the classifieds for a job, I’m beginning to think that the time I spent as a magazine writer and proofreader was just a big joke.

I realize the market sucks right now but I figured that with a little over 3 years spent in each occupation that I would at least get some kind of feedback from some of the jobs for which I applied (which have been many). So far, I haven’t heard squat from any of them and with that comes the self-doubt that I was hoping I wouldn’t put upon myself.

Yes, when I got the writing gig I did have a friend that was already working at the place, so knowing an insider definitely helped. You Hollywood types know what I mean (*wink*wink*). But as far as the proofreading job went, that was all me…albeit a me that looked like Jabba the Hutt at the time

And it’s not like those are the only jobs I would take; those are just preferences. Lord knows I’ve already applied at several “regular” places in addition to applying for writing and proofing jobs.

As a result of being overlooked for my preferred jobs for which I definitely felt qualified, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s time to seriously quit looking for something in either of those fields and, at the age of 40, turn over a new leaf and try to tackle something different.

You wanna know how desperate I’ve been? I accepted a part-time, $10-an-hour job from AppleOne to cold-call people and set appointments for consumer surveys. Now I don’t know about you, but I hang up on assholes that call me for that same shit. But just as I was looking up the location on Google Maps, AppleOne called me and said that the company completed their calls ahead of time so I didn’t have to go. I was kind of relieved.

But yeah, that’s how bad it’s been. And to further prove the point, here’s a list of some of things I’ve been considering:

  • Car salesman: No experience required, full training and benefits. And I can drive cars all day.
  • Consultant for a weight loss program: I’ve been there so it wouldn’t be hard to motivate people or convince them to lose weight.
  • A dog sanitation service, or poop-scooping: Crap in; crap out. It’s really pretty simple.
  • Avon: Seriously, people, I need something! And hey, I wouldn’t be the only guy selling the stuff.

But whilst I continue to get ignored by everybody on the fucking planet, I got my unemployment paperwork filled out and returned, so I should be getting checks very soon, along with the food stamps.

And that’s a good thing because the items I listed on eBay have yet to get a single bid, my HubPages articles have yet to make me more than one red cent, and the fridge is looking pretty freaking sad right now.

Now before I head on over to scan the classifieds again, does anybody have any other suggestions? Note that drug dealer, pimp, etc. do not count.

But if this keeps on…

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