Well, it was probably inevitable.

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.


  1. Oh, I’m sorry. Frankly, though, if *you* were good enough for them, I don’t know who would be. You’re thorough and efficient and one of the best editors/proofers I’ve worked with.

  2. It’s not ridiculous; it was just a job that was over my head. It was like when I tried out for Women’s Chorus at BYU and didn’t make it. I’d gotten a trophy for being outstanding senior vocalist in my high school and had gone to all-state choir. I expected to be a shoo-in, but the world is bigger than my immediate neighborhood, and I just wasn’t good enough. I guess things like this are good for keeping me humble. 😉

  3. In my opinion, your strengths are more along the lines of writing and substantive editing than flawless proofreading. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

  4. You have chosen Lego over perfect proofreading. That says alot in my book. Lego is a very lucky little boy!

  5. I had similarly conflicting feelings after quitting each of my two most recent jobs. It felt so good to be out of those incredibly stressful situations, but I sure wasn’t look forward to finding a new job and making do until then.

    Uh, just like right now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.