Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Should I Buy It?

Let me recap for anyone just tuning in.

For 15 years, I lived in big cities. Big big big. There were cabs and trends and people with silly-colored hair. There were dogs named Steve and people named Apple.

Then two months ago, we moved to the middle of nowhere. There is one restaurant. There is no book store. Everyone has the same area code. There are about three last names total.

This is what I thought I wanted, until I got here and realized going to the middle of nowhere? When you want a nice weekend to relax? Great. LIVING in the middle of nowhere? Where there are no sidewalks or poetry slams or secret clubs with no sign that you have to just be cool to know exist? Not so great.

And I hate poetry slams.

So last week I had a job interview at an ad agency, doing pretty much the same thing I did back in LA. Of course, the ad agency is two hours from my front door, in a real city.

I had pretty much decided I was not going to take the job, when today they sent me a copy editing test. Which is kind of insulting when you've been a proofreader/copy editor for 10 years, but still. They have to make sure I am not an impostor.

Here is my dilemma. I can take the test and just see what kind of money they offer me after I pass the test. Fine. So I waste an hour of my day. Who cares? The PROBLEM is, if I take this test, I have to go online and spend $25 for an online style guide. I have 12 million style guides here at home, but this ad agency uses a style I don't have.

(A style guide is not a book about hem length and whether patent leather is okay. It is something proofreaders use to determine whether it is correct to say 2 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. Different style guides have different rules about this. 2 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. can cause proofreaders to cut each other.)

So do I spend the $25? If you are REALLY just tuning in, you should know that I am not supposed to be spending extraneous money through the rest of this year.

Now, I could use this style guide for my freelance work, and I could write off the purchase. But really, I am spending $25 to take a test that will lead to a job that there is a 90% chance I will say no to. Unless they offer me $60,000 a year.

(For those of you in, say, New York, I know you are thinking, "$60,000 a year? Why is that your cutoff point? Because you can stay on welfare and have two incomes?" Actually, snotty New Yorker who I already resent and you do not even necessarily exist, $60,000 here is equivalent to nearly $120,000 in Los Angeles. So shut up.)

Okay, so help. What do I do? Do I take the test and buy the style guide? Do I email the ad agency and tell them I have a fancy job here in this town as a church secretary and forget you? Do I call them and say, "This is not worth my time unless you tell me I get 60k. Will I?" And I will actually say "k" just to be annoying.

What say you?

21 comments:

chacha said...

Ok, new commenter here (arrived via Frankie - we are college buds). Obsessed with reading your blog, btw (maybe b/c I have OCD with finances, but I digress...)

Anyway, I say pay the $25. Tax man will give you back at least $8. And who knows, you may need that style guide later for freelancing.

June Cutoff Cash said...

Thank you, chacha. And if you are a friend of Frankie's, you may actually be in New York, in which case I apologize for calling you snotty.

Catherine said...

I like the idea of leaving as many options open for as long as possible, so I'd go ahead and get the style guide -- you might need it for future freelance work, anyway (and out of curiosity, which guide is it?) -- and ace the test. That could lead to a great job offer and they might be more amenable to negotiate things like telecommuting, etc.

If you don't try, then there's no way any of this can happen, and you did seem kind of psyched about the job possibility.

June Cutoff Cash said...

It's the AP styleguide, which is probably the most common one. Oddly, I don't have it. I have Chicago and APA, but not AP. So I guess, as a proofreader, it would beHOOVe me to have it.

chacha said...

Actually, I am the reader from Oceanside/Carlsbad... though I was a New Yorker for a stretch of time (but have been in LA and now SD for 7 years now).

I have spent the last week reading from January all the way to October (btw, I love that thingy on the side nav you have that shows all the visitors...) :o)

Anonymous said...

Say yes until you have to say no.
That's my freelance/work motto.
So get the guide and ace the test.
Besides a hamburger costs $25 out here
and you don't learn much from that.

Kelly Garrett said...

Buy it!

Bronwyn said...

I would buy the guide. Do the test. See what happens. It's always good to keep your options open, you'll get some money back on taxes, you'll have a style guide (by the way, what IS the style? I'm an APA/MLA kind of girl, but I suck at all of it). If they offer you $80K (teehee) then you'll be laughing. And if they don't, and you do great, you have the opportunity to tell them that you've taken a better job as the church secretary. :-)

Bronwyn said...

well, I should have read all of catherine's questions/comments and your responses! They are all the same as mine. D'uh!

Burbanmom said...

I say you let us all Paypal you a buck to get the style book. We'd love to hear how you do and $1 is pretty cheap entertainment.

- Erin

Anonymous said...

Can you see if the local library could get it for you? Sometimes they have inter-loan options. Depends on how soon you have to have the test done, I suppose, as it could take a couple of days. Just another option, though!!

Nancy said...

Do it!

Kellie said...

Who knew so much went into proof reading! Geesh!

Nadja said...

Buy it! Open a door! Take a chance! Btw everybody should have the AP style guide, unless they are forced to have the Bloomberg one in which there are NO adjectives... but that's a whole other story.

Anonymous said...

Spend the $25 / $25.00 / US$25 / {Twenty-five and no/100} already.

Tee said...

Buy it and consider it an investment--for the future.

fully operational battle station said...

Do it. You know you want to.

Jamie

dcrmom said...

Go for it! Let's see what they offer ya!

Blue Skies said...

For the cost of gas to drive two hours each way you surely could buy all the style guides you want and freelance (and work at the church) instead!

Anonymous said...

I suppose you posted this blog to receive permission to do something you really want to do, but are feeling conflicted over doing. I think the real question is do you really think it's extraneous spending or not? Is this an excuse, a loophole, to purchase something? Are you perpetuating a fantasy because you're bored or need some other form of validation? Maybe it's worth the twenty-five bucks, but don't let people (even if it's the majority) convince you to do something you know in your heart is against what you set out to do in the first place. Just some thoughts.

peppy whitemore said...

June, I agree with the consensus so far. This would not be extraneous spending, but an investment in a "tool" which will create future return. At least that's what Daisy tells me when she buys a new mouse or external hard drive, or my thought when I purchase some new fangled clamp or something of that nature. Just do it! So maybe you take the job or not. At least you will be putting your best foot forward and seeing where this road might lead.