Thursday, November 27, 2008

Who would have thought that I, a committed freelancer, would take a full-time gig at a Jesuit publishing house? Yep, that's exactly what I did, and I'm here to say that it was a brilliant career move. Little did I know how hungry I was for human interaction after working solo from home for 27 years. Who knew? And little did I realize that a nice Jewish girl like me could find so many fun and kind people working at Loyola Press. My Catholic friends call on a regular basis, curious to know if I've started attending mass or taken my first communion. I assure them that no one has tried to convert me, least of which my two bosses - one of whom was a priest, the other a seminarian.

I figure that my dad had something to do with my move back into the 9 to 5 (actually, 8:30 to 4) work-a-day world. He worried about my living beyond my means and how in blazes I would make it financially once he was gone. Well, he's gone, and I'm more financially stable than I've been in, well . . . 27 years. If only he were here to enjoy my stability and delight. Ironically, it may have taken his death to push me to make a 180-degree career move. Dad, this one's for you!

Now, I have people to laugh with, complain to, and to share the challenges of revising and editing a set of venerable language arts textbooks, texts that have been around since the mid-1940s when a group of teaching nuns from Philadelphia published the first edition. The texts are sold to elementary and junior high schools nationwide and, while the majority are used in Catholic schools, there is nothing to stop public schools from ordering the books. That means the books are non denominational - as best as I can tell the ONLY non denominational publication coming from Loyola Press.

I love getting up every morning, donning something other than jeans and a sweatshirt, and heading off to work. My days are full, the work is challenging enough, and the time flies. And to think that I almost blew off the interview. I'm a writer, not an editor. I did the educational thing in another lifetime (I taught junior and senior high school English) so why would I want to return? And the Jesuit Ministry thing . . . Well, I was a bit concerned. I imagined crosses adorning every bulletin board, prayer sessions each morning, and a group of Bible-thumping zealots.

Some people do display crosses in their offices and cubicles. And there are prayer sessions (optional) every once in a while. And copies of publications like Christ Our Lord and The Catechist's Toolbox do fill the bookshelves. But Father Lane and the staff are some of the sweetest, most supportive people I've met and, honestly, I could probably use a little bit of that sweet, old religion about now.

So, on this Thanksgiving Day I give thanks for this new job, for my family and friends, for my good health. Oh, and did I mention a whole lot of gratitude to the American public for having the good sense to elect soon-to-be President Obama?


Lori Wolfson said...

Sounds like you've found yourself the good kind of religious environment. A kind, friendly, inclusive one that treats others with respect. Your 180 degree career move was brave and smart in a made-on-the-fly sort of way. Where you've landed seems right for such keen instiinct on your part.

Are stories a-brewing in your writer mind as you interact with this new family of yours?

Jane Leder said...

Yes, there are and will be stories "a-brewing" in my writer's mind about this new family of mine. Stay tuned.
And thanks for the feedback. It's deeply appreciated.