Thursday, August 03, 2006
So, as some of you may or may not know I work in publishing – specifically magazine publishing. Those of you that have been paying more attention than others know that I have spent my short career in the independent press. What an education it has been!* I work in the independent press because here, more than in a large company, I have the chance to learn a lot. Also, I have a certain amount of power over the final product that I wouldn’t have at the large companies. Finally, any large company turns into a large burocracy. Working in one of those at my tender young age is not a good idea for me as it would be terrifically boring and at the end of the day all I will have to show for it is this blog.** For this I make certain trade off. The main one being a salary that is equal to the volume of work I do. Whatever, I have made my choice. One day, it will pay off. And, I wouldn’t change that choice now.
While working in a small magazine wouldn’t have too many perks, one of them is the free books, About six weeks ago I got Toby Young’s new book “The Sound of No hands Clapping.” I also have on my list to read Stephen Lewis’ “Race Against Time” and I just found Peter Behrens’ “The Law of Dreams” which is supposed to be good, but it may be about the Irish sweepstakes of misery and, frankly I saw Angela’s Ashes.
My other perk is that I get this laptop, to which I download Coronation Street and my new favourite televised obsession “Celebrity Love Island.”
*Now, just to be clear, I don’t work in the independent press for any political or social statement. I don’t think large media companies are evil (except for Fox “news”) But, I do sometimes cringe at the embarrassing or transparent or decidedly simply editorial published in some large newspapers and magazines (and I say “decidedly simple” because it seems to me that some writers who rant for attention have made the choice to stop thinking beyond a certain point, or at least, they write like they have stopped thinking).
**Indeed before I discovered the blog world, before I started in publishing I worked for the Ontario Public Service. Swallowing two and a half years of my young adulthood, the OPS took years of my life I will never get back. At the OPS I discovered that a large office full of bored administrative staff is not the place for a young ambitious person. Every idea was passed on, every initiative was thwarted . I was once told to stop working because they could not have that project finished, as they had not budgeted for it. In fact, my job – which consisted of absolutely nothing – existed to inflate the budget the department was getting in the first place. To add the scandalous frustration was the multitude of barriers to career advancement. I wanted to get into communications, yet union rules and the amount of employees doing nothing peppered through any office (they were often ‘working’ the job for a year before it was posted) made movement almost impossible. While the stereotype of the lazy government employee reflects unfairly on a lot of people, some do work very hard and put in long hours at the ministries that administer our public lives, at the level of office administration there exists an untouchable yet bored, secure yet unmotivated workforce. Some are not so unmotivated. To make this log aside even longer, I once worked in an office where a man was actually running a small business – a dance studio – from his desk in the OPS. You know what happened to him? He was given a warning and moved to another area. Also, the employee paper runs a story – every issue – about an administrative employee who has just published a research heavy book. In fact, I recently heard a story that some writers who work for the OPS brag about the response they get for their book once it is reported in the employee paper.