Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Who, Me, Waffle?

One of the (few) things that makes me want to stay at my current job is a forthcoming book by a prominent Harvard English professor. Because my boss is super-busy, I'd basically be editing the book, much as I've been basically editing "his" other two titles. The book is perfect for me: the subject matter is right up my academic alley, and the professor (a Pulitzer winner and New Yorker contributor) would be an amazing contact for me to have, especially if I could impress him with my work on his book. It would also be helpful to know him if I wanted to, oh, say, get into Harvard's English department. Which I might want to do.

This makes me want to give my current company the chance to make a counter-offer once I've got the job offer on the table, but I don't think they'd be able to give me what I want (essentially, an exclusively editorial position with minimal administrative work...and more money). I'm not sure they can make that offer. Then I think about how little of my average workday the new book would take up. And it's little. Much as I've been enthused about the book I've been editing lately, it hasn't entirely alleviated the day-to-day hassles and irritations of my job, like the fact that I'm both bored stiff by and not all that great at its administrative elements.

And then I just do not know. I'd actually been kind of hoping this book wouldn't be on the schedule anytime soon, which would make my decision much easier...but the estimable professor was in today, and confirmed that he can get us manuscript by August, for a spring '09 pub date. Which means I could see it all the way to publication if I stayed.

(I was behind the door when God passed out the decisiveness, by the way.)

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Could you work on the book as a freelance editor if you jumped ship? (this may be a stupid question - i don't know the publishing industry at all) Could you network with the professor as long as you're at your current job, and keep up some e-mail contact afterwards? There must be some solution that would allow you to keep the rewarding contact AND your dignity in the better job. Maybe asking for a counteroffer is it - but beware. Most people who accept a counteroffer leave anyway, just as unhappy as they were before.

Working Rachel said...

It seems like most of your work angst is related to pay and the nature of your responsibilities, but I'm not sure if there's other stuff going on, too. If you think an editorial position would make you happy at your current company, ask for a counteroffer. If there's other stuff (politics, crappy work environment) I don't think one book will make it worth staying, no matter how amazing the author. (I say this as someone who worked with titles I loved...including some authors who totally awed me...at a company I hated. I'm very glad I jumped ship!)

GG said...

I totally understand about the decisions. I'm in the same boat, on the opposite side of the hiring table--who to hire, how far to negotiate, how to arrange things, etc.

I'm sure you'll make a good decision. If there's any small advice I can offer, it's to go with your gut.

michelle said...

I'm not sure how much bearing editorial work would have on your possible admission to any graduate program - you'll be evaluated on your own ideas and your own writing, not your ideas about someone else's writing.

michelle said...

A follow-up to my comment above: why not talk to your college professors (the ones who will write your letters of recommendation for grad school applications) and ask them about this?

Laura said...

I say, worry about this if and when you get a job offer from the other company. And don't forget to consider all the possible great contacts that could be waiting for you at the new company, that you would be passing up if you pass on the job.

Not to mention all the other great advice left in the comments here.

eking out said...

It might be worth sticking it out. I'm not sure if you'd be given a comparable opportunity at one of the new jobs right off the bat. This sounds like sure thing to me. Then again, I am plagued by inaction in the switching jobs department, so maybe you shouldn't listen to me :P

Anonymous said...

Even if you assume it will be futile, please make sure you at least talk to your current employer about being willing to stay if they can match the job responsibilities and pay of whatever other offer you are considering. I've learned repeatedly in life that you can sometimes get surprising things just by asking. And here's my perspective as someone who has been in the hiring role: it's really good to find highly competent people who are a joy to have in the workplace, so it's worth the investment (and the savings of not having to do another hiring search) to keep the good ones.

Phil A. said...

"Choose but choose wisely...for there is one cup that will you give you life...the others will take it from you."

-The old Knight (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

"What's the most you've ever lost in a coin toss...Call it!"

-Anton Chigur (No Country For Old Men)

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