Monday, February 7, 2011

Events in the life of the day job.

Tertius asks me why I'm toting a bag stuffed with drafts and printouts when I pick him up from school. I explain that I'd been working on a project for a client, in the relative silence of the Rye library's mystery section, away from the distractions of the home office and surrounded by inspiration.

"You have clients?" he asks, surprised. "I didn't know you worked at the court."

"At the court?"

"Yes, I've heard lawyers on television say things like 'My client is innocent.'"

I explain that client is not a legal term, like witness or judge, but that -- just like a lawyer -- I have customers or clients for my corporate communications work.

"People pay me to do things for them that they can't do themselves," I tell him.

"Oh, so you're a butler," he declares, with some satisfaction.

(I wish.)

Getting home, I show him what's in the bag. A copy of a four-year-old, 180-page book, what I wrote, designed and typeset for my client. And a printout of a 320-page website, what I also wrote, designed, programmed, and have ruthlessly kept up to date. My job is to make sure the text of the book and the text of the website say the same things, but because the media are structured differently, this has to be done by eyeball: software doesn't cut it.

"How much are they going to pay you?" he asks.

"It depends on how long it takes," I say.

"So you could make, like, a hundred dollars?"

(I wish.)

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