So it’s supposed to be normal that I found my first day at work terrifically confusing and not fun at all. And I do admit, now that I’m one week into work, fuzzy things are beginning to look clearer to me, though I still have so much to learn…
The company I work for is a small one. At least, the office where I work is. They have branches in other states, but this is supposed to be the main one. I’m not sure how many people work in the office, but I know everybody in the editorial department. They are all females. I also know some of the administrative staff. They are all also females. I really have a knack for staying in an all-female environment, huh? Even though I studied in co-ed schools, my good friends were all girls. When I did part-time jobs, my colleagues & bosses were females too (bookshop, boutique selling leather handbags and shoes for ladies, jewellery kiosk, boutique selling luxury qi pao, telemarketing). When I read English in college, most of my classmates are girls too. If you still know me when I’m 50 and I’m still unattached, here’s your answer 30 years before that! (Nope, don’t have any male friends outside of school or work, except Durian, but he doesn’t count, we hardly ever meet.)
Okay, digression over. My bosses are male and scary to me. Not because they are male, but because they are bosses. My immediate superiors are females. They were the ones who interviewed me, so you might say I feel most connected to them. My colleagues… they are nice (one of them is also a fresh graduate in my college, she started work two months before me), they let me join them for lunch, but… they speak Chinese. They do speak English, but it’s their lunch break, and their mother tongue, so Chinese is the lingua franca in the conference room (where we have our lunch after buying it from the food court outside the office, 5 minutes’ drive away). I can understand Cantonese, but with Chinese you might as well speak German. So whenever I join them for breakfast or lunch, I will either be reading my book or the newspaper. Which makes it really meaningless to try to fit in for fitting in’s sake, isn’t it? This isn’t high school! There are other colleagues, but I don’t know them yet so I can hardly ask if I can join them for lunch, with my renowned conversational skills.
My job is basically trying to achieve the impossible. Well, impossible because I’m not skilled in it. I have to make sure there are no mistakes whatsoever in the books I edit. Which are English books, of course, given that I read English at college. I edit reference books for school students. They aren’t textbooks, but they are used to complement the school syllabus on the students’ own initiative, whether for tuition classes or for self-study. Some teachers use them in classes too as workbooks. I’m in charge of a series of 5 practice books which should be due out in the middle of next year. I haven’t even edited a whole proper book on my own and they put me in charge of a whole series…
So these are my first set of books I will edit. The whole process takes almost a year from now. Which means I would think I’m officially ‘experienced’ once my first set of books are out in the market because I would’ve gone through the whole entire process by then. My probation period is for 6 months. I’m encouraged to make as much mistakes as I can in probation period because I wouldn’t be encouraged once I’m a confirmed staff. But if I would be confirmed in February and my first set of books are only due out in the middle of next year… I wouldn’t be totally capable on my own, would I? This feels like a lose-lose situation to me. I want to be confirmed as quickly as possible (for I may have a chance of a salary increment) but I need more time to be fully independent.
My job, besides trying to achieve the impossible, is to liaise with writers, artists and typesetters to make sure the book comes out nice and perfect. I have to watch out for mistakes by at least 3 parties. I decide the font, the layout. I use the dictionary a whole damn freaking lot to make sure timetable does not have a hyphen in between as typed by the writer in a manuscript. It’s not enough that I know, I’ve got to make sure it’s in the dictionary. I’m basically in charge of everything that goes into a book. Which in theory sounds quite appealing, but it’s not when you don’t even know what to do… I mean, the premise of being in charge is that you would actually know what to do.
I want to talk some more about work, but this post is a bit longer than I expected and I’m bored of it. It’s the weekend, no talk about work! Unless you leave a comment, that is. 😛 We can talk work the whole day, haha!
(Now you know why I’m moaning so much about my work, huh? I mean, it’s about as dry as sawdust, editing schoolbooks… Anna Wintour has glamourised the editor occupation too much!)