I'm an editor and writer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I have more than 11-years experience in the print journalism and editing industry.
I'm a wordsmith. I take information and make it understandable to the reader, based on the target audience. My work entails writing, proofreading and copy editing text that will be used for a variety of things, including websites, brochures, powerpoint presentations and other things. It's common for people to think that editing and writing is extremely easy. They think that it takes me about a maximum of an hour to write an article and edit it, then I'm free the remaining of the day. The truth is that writing and editing is a process that takes time.
I'm extremely satisfied with my job. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my job satisfaction a 20. I see no areas in my job that need changing to unleash my full enthusiasm.
My job definitely moves me. I'm in love with it so much I don't consider it work. I consider it a hobby. I've definitely found my calling. I can't see myself doing anything else.
My current situation is unique because I work with a federal agency. It's a more laid back atmosphere, than the job of an editor at a newspaper. The print journalism industry is one that you have to cut your teeth in first before moving on to the more prestigious and higher paying jobs. However, if you're passionate about the field, starting out at a small weekly newspaper making a low salary wouldn't bother you. It didn't bother me.
While in college, I switched from broadcast journalism to print journalism because I was camera shy. If I could go back, I would have stayed in the radio industry because people always tell me I have a nice voice.
In my current job, I learned the hard way to familiarize myself with the subject matter. I have to edit lots of text that includes information about toxic substances. I learned the hard way that there are chemicals with similar names, but are completely different. I once edited a document that discussed carbon dioxide, which chemical formula is CO 2 and carbon monoxide, which chemical formula is CO. I didn't realize that the document was about two different chemicals, so I changed everything to CO 2.
The single most important thing I have learned outside of school about the working world is to limit socializing time with co-workers. Not only does it take away time from doing your work, but it can label you as a slacker among your co-workers.
The strangest thing that has happened to me while working as an editor and writer is when someone took an article that I wrote and edited, deleted my name and attached their name to it.
I'm excited to get up and go to work each day because I'm making a difference in people's lives by giving them information on diseases and disease prevention. During the swing flu outbreak, I volunteered to work in CDC's 24-hour emergency information center editing press releases. It made me feel really good and proud.
The challenges that I face weekly on my job are working with authors on extremely tight deadlines, tracking down authors to clarify and explain something that they wrote and dealing with arrogant authors who get upset when you change something that they wrote. It can really make me want to pull my hair out.
My job can sometimes be extremely stressful. However, I think it comes with the territory. I maintain a comfortable and healthy work-life balance because I never take my work home with me.
My salary range is $35,000 to $45,000 a year. I think I'm paid enough. However, I will welcome more money. I'm happy living within my means.
I take an average of two weeks vacation per year. I think it's enough vacation time.
You can get hired and succeed in print journalism with a college degree in any field. Although degrees in English, communications and journalism are common, I've worked with editors who have degrees in mathematics, business and other fields. Also, I've worked with editors who don't have college degrees. However, it was their experience that got them hired.
If a friend was considering my line of work, I would advise going into it for the love of the industry. I would also advise getting experience anywhere they can. Look to small weekly newspapers to get your feet wet as an editor.
If I could write my ticket, I would be a lead editor in my division within five years. A lead editor is a supervisory position that manages a team of editors.
This is a true story as told to JustJobs Academy which houses career interviews and job search advice for professionals in any industry. Visit to read about how to search for the perfect job and get promoted once you’ve found it.