When words fail

I snapped this picture of the U.S. Capitol in November on a frosty evening jog.

I snapped this picture of the U.S. Capitol in November on a frosty evening jog.

Hi-de-ho to all -5 of you out there who are actually reading. My 10-week absence can be attributed to many factors: adapting to real life in a new city (as opposed to the first six weeks of commuting from a friend’s basement in what felt like the exurbs), embarking on an entirely new life-routine that includes targeting a new restaurant each week for dinner and drinks, and, really, just not knowing how to talk about my new professional life and role.

I’ve worn many hats in the past five-plus years. I could usually find a conversation, a blog, a message board or a conference that addressed, at least tangentially, what I do. But now, words fail me. I’ll go one step further, though, and say that words fail entirely. Here’s the dilemma:

I’m an editor for an agency that develops and produces (buzzword alert!) “heritage management” campaigns for Fortune 1000 companies. The creative staff is largely made up of designers and museum professionals who write and curate. As an editor, I’m expected to do a certain amount of curating while ensuring that content is refined to the point of excellence before it goes to the client.

In the past, when I was in pursuit of a measure of professional solidarity/validation, I visited Ye Olde Google and tried out a smattering of search terms such as:

  • Editor public relations media relations
  • User experience editor metadata interactive
  • Online marketing content editor SEO

… and voila! I’d find other folks who do something similar. Nowadays, I try out “editor curator history” or some such keyword search. All I get is a lot of debate as to whether editors are content curators, fueled by the Buzzfeed/HuffPo culture in which we find ourselves. Not exactly the conversation I’m looking to have (though I’m happy to weigh in). Heritage management is a new, obscure discipline.

The niches that most closely align to where I stand today? Book publishing, advertising/interactive agencies, museum curation. Close, but no cigar for an editor who has edited everything but yo mamma over the past 14 years.

Dear reader, that’s my existential dilemma of the day. I’m not complaining, I’m editing my first book and my first museum exhibit as we speak, and it’s extraordinarily cool work.

So, for the moment, I do instead of talking about doing, and maybe someday I’ll find a professional development opportunity that widens to encompass my Heinz 57 experience.


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