I lost my proofreading gig. They said I had missed too many “big things” and that while they understand that everyone misses things occasionally, misses should be “very rare.” I suddenly have a lot more free time on my hands.
Is it possible to feel relieved and heartbroken at the same time? I mean, the job wasn’t actually working out that well for me (mostly for Lego). I had to work three-hour shifts during the day, half of which—at most—would be during Lego’s nap. He’d keep himself occupied for maybe half an hour to an hour of the remaining time, but the end was always a struggle. “Book!” he’d say, thrusting one in my lap. “No, honey, not right now. Mommy’s working,” I’d reply. Multiply this conversation by twenty. Finally I’d cave and read the book so he’d leave me alone to work. As soon as I’d finish, he’d find another book (or the same one) and start all over again. Or want to go outside. Or hand me a toy to play with. Or beg me to nurse, sit in my lap, let him play with my mouse, or put on his shoes. You can imagine how effective a proofreader I was through all of this. I’m relieved to be able to spend more time with Lego now and to not have to face that battle every day.
The truth of the matter, though, is that I wouldn’t have been good enough for them even without Lego bothering me. They wanted someone who almost never missed a single thing, and I’m just not that good. I’ve never worked for someone who expected me to be that good. I liked the challenge at first, but it’s been really hard for me to have to admit that I failed. I’m usually pretty good at accepting my weaknesses for what they are and knowing my limits without letting failures get me down. But I consider editing and proofreading some of the things I’m best at, so I guess this particular failure got me down more than most.
I keep telling myself that no matter what you do (unless you’re an gold-medal-winning Olympic athlete), there will probably always be someone out there who is better at it than you are. Just because I’m not the sort of proofreader who can catch everything at one pass doesn’t mean I’m not good.
This wasn’t meant to be a call for sympathy. I just wanted to get my thoughts on paper so maybe I can get out of my funk.