It’s Saturday. It’s been almost a week since I sent Andrew off back to the US, and I stayed behind, trusting that God knew what He was doing putting me in London. I think He did.
The internship is fantastic. The dress code is “smart casual,” which can be interpreted in American as “business casual.” I’ve traded my jeans and Rainbows (and sunshine, for that matter) for slacks and heels (in the gray rain). Every morning I join the Londoners waiting on the platform for the Underground, or the “Tube,” to take us to Work.
For me, Work is being the epitome of a grammar nerd. Fixing comma splices and misspelled words sounds like torture to most, but doing something you’re good at, and you enjoy, and you’ve trained for, is satisfying. Not all can say that they’re actually using the degree they earned. I’m very blessed to say that I am.
So. Here’s what I’m doing:
I spend the morning copyediting–essentially, proofreading a manuscript that’s been submitted for publication. I didn’t realize how much power I have doing this job. Changing something as small as a comma can completely change the meaning of a sentence. I have to try to preserve as much as I can of what the author meant. But I’m not the author, and I read things differently. I don’t think that the author’s intended meaning is the only way something could/should be interpreted, but I feel that as an editor my first obligation is to the author, who has put him/herself in a vulnerable position by letting me touch what they’ve worked on for years. Let the audience interpret as they will once it’s left my hands, but while it’s in my hands, I am aiding the author. Let me just say to all the English majors, never underestimate your own power as someone with authority and knowledge about written words, arguably our prime method of communication. We have a responsibility to use our knowledge ethically. Ok, done preaching.
In the afternoon I get to do the more “fun” part of the job. You know the quotes on the backs of books that say, “This is the best book of the season because of x, y, and z”? I get to contact people who are authorities on the subject of a certain book (i.e., if the book is about the global economy, I contact professors, government officials, businessmen, and other authorities on economics) and ask them to read the book before it is published, and to send us a short endorsement of the book. I become the face of the company to those people. I take care of all their needs (if they have trouble accessing the file, or need more information about the author, etc.). My emails to them must be professional, because impressions inform our relationships. Having someone write an endorsement is a great way to start a relationship with them, to open the door to possibly even publishing their own work some day.
It may be basic stuff, but I see the importance behind it. I know I’m really contributing to the company, and I have quite a bit of responsibility, even though I’m “just” an intern.
On the whole, my first week’s impression is very positive. The jury is still out, obviously, but I have enough knowledge to say that I’m excited to see what happens next.