Seven years ago, a colleague and I became part-time technical translators for a publishing house that prints bilingual scientific journals. A couple of years after that, we started working in the same room and occasionally comparing translation notes and grousing about the poor quality of writing in the articles we were translating.
Quite often, my colleague would wish that the particularly inarticulate authors were forced to "go through" an editor who she'd worked with when she was younger first, a legend in our field of plasma physics whom many were afraid of because of his sharp tongue and profound knowledge of the subject, and who also, if you managed to stand up to him, would teach you to write and formulate your thoughts remarkably well.
And in those moments I felt a yearning, a wish that I could be something similar. Not someone to be afraid of, but knowledgeable and capable of working with the written word not only as a corrector, something my innate literacy easily permits, or a beta, like I was on and off on fanfiction sites, but a true editor.
For years, this wish remained something so far-fetched I always wanted to chuckle derisively at myself whenever I remembered it. Indeed, me, an editor in the field I can barely call my own? A field in which, however much I felt it was expected of me, I could never find the drive to become and independent researcher? The same field whose "language" is mathematics, a subject that has always been my weak spot? A field in which, in a single word, I have always felt small?
And yet this year, I am making a step in the direction of that dream. I can feel the rightness of it in my very bones, and I am excited, absolutely terrified and not at all afraid all at once.
Our department's Scientific Secretary is retiring and I will be trained to replace her. So far, I have discussed the duties the position entails twice with her and with our chief, I cannot quite envision them all yet.
I will have to be a go-to, both from "below" and from "above", to help ascertain that the higher-ups' directives are known and fulfilled and that the paperwork my colleagues need is ready and in order, participate in organizing the internal annual conference of our department, dabble in editing end-of-year and intermediate reports, do who-knows-what at Scientific Councils which I now only attend in the rare events of PhD presentations, simply be aware of who works where and does what, and I do not know what else.
I will have to be attentive, organized, aware of explicit and implicit deadlines and policies without letting them overwhelm me as has frequently happened in the past. I will have to work with a lot of people and need to build and affirm boundaries around my personal time. I will have to sometimes be strict (about deadlines) with laboratory chiefs and colleagues my parents' age.
In a short, I will have to grow and learn in ways that do not force me into the "independent researcher" groove which I do not fit by nurturing my developing writing and people skills, something that interests me passionately and terrifies me just as much.
I start today.
- Current Mood:motivated