A Wise Investment

In early December, I interviewed for a science editor position with a company whose employees all worked remotely. The interview went well, and the interviewer told me, “Your editing test was fantastic! What you did is exactly what we’re looking for. If we offer you the job, when would you be able to start?”

For a month, I heard nothing, and to be honest, I wrote the interview off as a good experience. At least someone recognized my ability to edit and edit well. I’d use that good karma to move forward in finding more editing projects, big or small.

And then one morning, a few days after the new year, I woke up to to an email that read:

Dear Christina,

I’m thrilled to welcome you to the X team as a Science Editor. Please take a moment to review and sign the document by clicking on the link below.

What in the world? No call from HR. No emails from the interviewer. Nothing to discuss the next steps in the process. When I clicked on the link, the payment offered wasn’t clear: was that for full-time work? How many articles does one work on in a month? How could I find some answers?

Long story short, the offer letter included an “error,” and no one could tell me how many hours a week I’d be working. (Their response to my inquiry? “The hours will really depend on how well you manage your time and your work.” No kidding.)

In the end, I declined the offer. And while I think a lot about whether or not that was the best idea—after all, we have two kids going to college next fall—I also think that it’s nice to get paid what you’re worth.

But what I’ve found out is that for editing, very few people want to pay. The same people who buy Starbucks each morning and eat out twice a week; the people who pay for piano lessons and cleaning companies and high-end shoes; those who take on car payments and head to the movies each Saturday night. These people don’t want to pay more than the equivalent of $5-10 per hour for skills that take years to hone. Why is that?

I don’t have time to go into the research behind that question, but I’m sure it has to do with tangible and intangible products and perceptions and all the rest. What I’d like to say is this: time is money, as they say, and my time is worth something. My rates aren’t astronomical; I often run specials; and because I am a teacher at heart, my critiques help you walk away with a better understanding of your work and how to edit yourself in the future.

A wise investment? I like to think so, and I think my clients would agree.

Picture of clock and coins by Nattanan Kanchanaprat at Pixabay.com.

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