OK, well, I should be putting an Arisia proposal together right now. Well, TECHNICALLY I said I was going to do my Census post-class self-study today, so I should be doing that, but for reasons that will become clear in a few moments, Fuck That.
Sooo... the week before last, I think it was, I applied for a job as a...junior researcher, I think it was, at [Boston Research Consulting Firm]. VERY unusually, from my experience, the department head subsequently got back in touch, albeit mainly to tell me that I was horribly overqualified. (Which was possibly true, but a) I'm switching careers, kinda, so that's expected, and b) Hey, it's a job.) Usually, even if they DO get in touch to tell you you're overqualified, that's the end of it, and you're left feeling like "Well, fuck." In THIS case, though, he said he was going to forward my résumé on to Matt, the head of their Editorial department, because they might have some freelance editorial work down the line. And that could STILL have been the end of it, but Matt actually DID email me, to say "...please let me know your bandwidth (how many hours a week you would be available to edit our research content) and let’s set up a time to talk." So I write back, and then don't hear from him for over a week, while I sit around wondering what the heck has happened THIS time.
On Wednesday, after asking myself What Would My Dad Do?, I took a moment before Census training and called Matt's number to ask more or less exactly that question, and in due course we set up an appointment for this morning.*
So I get there--it's the fifth floor in a faceless office park in Waltham--and have to wait a bit, and then meet Matt and get ushered into a conference room: all of which was expected. And THEN we spend like fifteen minutes chatting about German History--which was definitely NOT--before we get down to the nitty gritty of what the job entails. As I had expected, it was going to be more of what I've been doing for [cheapskate client in Germany], namely taking stuff written by experts and editing it so it's actually decent prose.
What I had NOT been assuming was an on-the-spot job offer.
And then came the moment I had been hoping wouldn't happen. "So what do you think would be a reasonable starting rate?" he asked.
Oh Shit. I mean, I know I've been horribly underpaid in the past, but this is a potentially globalized field, and I don't want to get to greedy, because I REALLY want this job...
"Let's start me at $15?"
Matt actually laughed in my face.** "Well, I'd LIKE to employ you at that rate--or at any rate my bosses would..."
"What can I say, I've been really underpaid!"
Anyway, I somehow managed to recover from this screw-up,*** and we agreed that I should start at their standard starting rate for editors.
...which is $45 per hour.
Pause to let that sink in.
I'm going to be working part time, but still.
I guess I should have learned from Harvard Business School that any time you add the word "business" to a job description, they jack up the salary.
* At this point in writing this, I took a pause to go look at what was probably a juvenile bald eagle, sitting on a tree about fifty yards down the shore. As you can guess from the preceding, I'm in Maine again.
** You probably just did too, given that $15 was what we figured MRE should have been paying me, and this is a much more highly-skilled job. (Though it's also a much more pleasant one, and you can't outsource [University]'s mailroom work to someone with good English in Mumbai.) What can I say, I panicked. Fortunately, [see above]
*** I should perhaps note at this juncture that Matt is yet another person who got a PhD but then decided he didn't want to teach, AND got it in German studies, so PART of all this was that he took pity on my post-academic floundering.
That sounds more self-pitying than I feel, I guess: the OTHER part is that I'm hella good at editing papers in questionable English, and amply demonstrated that I'm experienced in the same in the course of the interview.