Portrait of an editor
I couldn’t help but think “But it’s my job” when I got her e-mail saying that we all get caught up in our own pressures and not to be afraid to ask for help.
I had three magazines on deadline last week. It was hectic and I took work home at least three nights. But, it’s my job. And I didn’t complain and I didn’t ask for help. Because it’s my job. I knew when I was hired that I worked for four different magazines, that the pressure would often be a lot to handle, that deadlines would overlap. I knew it and I still said yes, I can do that. My job is often feast or famine, but I’ve learned how to handle it.
So when another editor said to me that she worked a lot of extra hours last week, I said, well, so did I. But, this isn’t a pissing contest.
Yes, I am fiercely independent, and damnit don’t ever tell me “you can’t do it” because I’ll die trying to prove you wrong. But I certainly know when I’m beat. And last week wasn’t it.
You know that line from the movie Michael when John Travolta tells Andie MacDowell that he knows why she’s there and it isn’t to walk the dog? She wonders how he knew and he says: “I pay attention.” That’s sort of how I live my life. I pay attention. I pay attention to what’s going on around me. I pay attention to things that aren’t going on around me. I simply pay attention. (Sometimes I just pay!)
I watch people, note their tendencies. No, I’m not a stalker, not even close. The people who get ahead don’t complain, don’t get into pissing matches, pick their battles and know when to ask for help. I’m proud of the fact that I can work for four magazines in four similar roles, be a mom to three incredible children, a wife, a sister, a friend and a host of other parts of me and still manage to watch Grey’s Anatomy, talk to my folks for 45 minutes, pick up milk from the store, give the baby a bath and read and edit five stories before going to bed. Sure, sometimes I’m not so great at it, but is everyone ‘on’ all the time?
I’m not trying to kill myself getting it all done, and I’m not trying to prove anything by “doing it all,” but it’s my job. And I’m proud to do it my way.
Right before Thanksgiving, my sitter’s daughter needed to be hospitalized. It was bad, bad timing. I had a deadline that week and no backup sitter. No. 1 and No. 2 went to friends’ houses, and No. 3 came to work with me. I took work home, I worked hard at work, I said ‘no’ when my colleagues went out to lunch. And I got the magazine done. And quality didn’t suffer. Yet, I was questioned. All I could think was that it was my job to get it done. All I could think was what would the other editors have done. All I could think was that in the face of adversity, I still met my deadline and I did it well. Because it’s my job and I love it.