I have a friend who calls my job a Chandler Bing job. When she says that I tend to get a bit defensive because to me it sounds as if she is saying my job is boring. But she’s not saying that. She’s not trying to be mean, in fact what she means is that even if I can explain my job in the easiest, simplest way possible, nobody will understand what I do.
So I thought about this yesterday, while on the toilet of course, and thought I’d better write a blog entry about what I do so in the hope that I can explain exactly what my job is and to try to shed the Chandler Bing image.
Job title: Freelance Online and Print Publishing Manager (don’t be deceived by the word ‘manager’ – this refers more to project management than people management).
Work for: Oxford University Press and Bloomsbury Publishing
Please keep reading, it gets better, I promise.
Work on: academic monographs that get published on a subscription website owned by OUP, mainly published by OUP but also by other University Presses. I also work on or have worked on Trove Law (law higher education titles online), Very Short Introductions Online (fabulous little books about a variety of subjects from the eye to the earth) and Oxford Handbooks Online. I also am a Listings Editor for the annual Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. Still awake? Then read on.
What do I do every day?
Besides drink coffee in coffee shops in town, you mean? Oxford Scholarship Online (OSO) is the main love of my life (we have a bit of a love hate relationship sometimes but it is mostly the former). For OSO I maintain all forthcoming and past title lists, update the database of forthcoming titles, attend phone meetings, liaise with editors and production staff in Oxford and New York, work with the datateam in Oxford, and circulate lists to Sales and Marketing and royalty departments every month. I also commission and check abstracts and keywords. I check OSO titles on a pre-live server every month. I might also write and / or check abstracts and keywords for other University Presses (e.g. MIT Press, Chicago University Press) or for Trove, or occasionally VSIs. This is the part of my work which makes me feel clever and academic, as if I really am mingling with great minds.
For the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook: I am responsible for all the book publishers listed in the book, the art agencies, the national and regional newspapers and the card and stationery companies. I have to email them all every year and gather updates to their entries. I update their entries in a database and from this proofs are generated which I have to check. I also have to research new companies to add. This is the part of my job which makes me feel like a trendy trade publisher, as if I am mingling with the likes of Oliver Jeffers, Nathan Filer and Terry Pratchett.
I get it but then I get it because I’ve been doing it on and off for around seven years. More importantly, are you still awake and if so, do you get it?
Do I like it?
Yep, I love it! I am so lucky that I can work from home for the same wage (if I were to measure my old full-time job by the hour) I’d earn working in Oxford in-house. I can still take the children to school, pick them up, do a part-time foundation art degree, go to school plays and sneak off for the odd coffee in the middle of the day. And I get the odd day trip to London or Oxford where I can pretend I am important with a laptop on a train.
Do I mind being thought of as a bit of a Chandler Bing?
Not at all! I love having a job nobody gets.