Because my mother refuses to throw anything away, but prefers to store it in a drawer or cupboard until I come for a visit, I was reminded this past trip to BC about a phase in my writing career that kind of occurred sideways.
Several years ago, I was in desperate need of a job (wow, some things never change). So desperate, in fact, that I decided to take a flyer on and leverage my background in science writing and magazine editing for a job as editor of a manufacturing automation industry trade magazine published by CLB Media.
It should be noted, I knew and to this day know nothing about manufacturing. But I can write and I can edit and I have a good idea for design. I also have a fondness for money.
It was obvious throughout the interview with the magazine’s Publisher and Director of Sales & Marketing that I could write and knew magazines well, but that if I got the job, I would have to scramble to understand the issues and lingo of a completely alien industry. They were kind, but it was obvious the job and I were not a match.
When I finally got home, I was in the middle of discussing the interview with my wife when I received a phone call from the company VP, Publishing who said my interviewers had mentioned me and that the company had a medical humour magazine (Stitches) and companion consumer pub (Stitches for Patients) that were in need of a new editor. Would I be interested in talking to him and its Publisher the next day.
The job didn’t last very long–the magazines had been in a steady decline for years before they found me and never recovered sufficiently to keep operating–but it was a great experience, and not only allowed me to write nerdy medical comedy but also allowed me to eventually add the title Associate Publisher to my resume.
And all because I was desperate enough to apply for a job for which I had few qualifications but showed general competence and a willingness to listen and learn.
I offer the covers of my first three issues of each magazine below (thanks mom). The insane covers are the work of the amazing illustrator Max Licht under the direction of the equally amazing Art Director Graham Jeffrey.