Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"In the Real World"

Dear Graduate School Professor

Please stop referring to the 'real world' and the experiences I'll have when I get there. I've been in the real world for several years now. I am not paying you $3,000/quarter to fill a syllabus with real world type situations. You're filling the undergrads (and unemployed graduate students) heads with false notions of editorial analysis and linear review processes that are simply fantastical.

I'd love to have the control and importance to actually receive a manuscript with time to thoroughly review, consider, and edit it. I dream of a conference with the writers when we can discuss the organization and structure of a publication and even spar over the serial comma. What 'real world' does this happen? The majority of the time I'm handed twelve pieces of pre-approved content in nine different formats three days after it was due to the printer and told to make it happen yesterday. I don't worry about complex sentences, I worry about deadlines and SLAs. My biggest issue is not  a stubborn writer; it is a page that dropped off of a PDF in the fourth draft but didn't get caught until press time. I'm fully embedded in this 'real world.' 

 Furthermore, Graduate School Professor, when were you in this 'real world.'? As an editor for a relevent publishing company, I have not yet had to justify my actions to the writer. I've had to cover my ass to the client on countless occasions. My explanations are usually followed with emails and PDFs to prove that I was told to make a change to document.My interactions with writers and clients are CC-ed to at three supervisors (yes, I have three supervisors and maybe four bosses) and all have end goal of  on time and error free. 

In what 'real world' did you exist before joining the cult of the academic where editors were revered as experts? You should rename that section to "The Editor as a Scapegoat." The only time I've had to explain the alternate uses of the passive voice is when trying to defend my ego against a particularly rude email and/or missed order. 

So while we sit here in class at 8:23pm and undergrads are asking mundane questions such as 'so, what if the writer, like, you know, doesn't like listen to you and then they're stuff is like, wrong and people, readers, whatever like read it or whatever. Like, what do you then?" I'm silently screaming, YOU DO IT! THEY PAY YOU AND SO YOU DO IT AND YOU MOVE ON AND WITHIN TWO MONTHS YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT SEMICOLONS ANYMORE. 
And I'm also making to do lists and strategies for how I'm going to handle the 20 emails in my inbox, the 200 pages of an Economics proof I need to check, and the 2 chapters I have to read for your class. Graduate school has been more of an exercise in time management than it has been in professional development. 

Professor, your 'real world' and my real world conflict. My real world is funding your current world. Please join me on the side of practical, true experience and restrain from ideals and theories. The only place ideals and theories work are your 'real world' of old. 



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