I get paid for asking really pedantic questions now, apparently


Writing this as a break-from-writing. I just sent some questions to an author, about the index I am making for his book. They all felt like the sort of picky, detailed questions that I've come to expect people to probably just not reply to. That is, except for people I work for, now, apparently. Up until this year, it's felt like the usual response I've received about 85% of the time when asking for more or precise information has been one of a) a very vague answer, b) the answer to only half the question, or c) just no answer.

It was a particular problem when I worked in web development and I was trying to get people to tell me what they wanted their new website to be like, but they apparently wanted me to just read their minds. There was one person in particular who I sent a list of pretty straightforward questions to, by email -- and that was the only way I could discuss it with him, because he refused to use the phone and lived in another country, not that I minded doing it by email AT ALL -- and he replied, "You've seen my old website, you know the sort of thing I want!" and didn't answer any of them. Which rather missed the point of my trying to ascertain how the new website was to be different to the old one. So I told him that I needed to know how to do the new one differently, and the best way would be if he would answer the questions I'd already asked him, and then he never replied to me ever again. Which I was quite glad about, except I had no money and he was supposed to be giving me some to make him a new website.

BUT now I do academic proofreading and stuff, and everyone I've worked for so far seems to be just as picky and precise about things as I am, which I guess goes with the territory. So far everyone I've sent a question to while thinking "this is such an annnooooooying pedantic question and they will wish I can just take the initiative myself and decide and not bother them with it" has seemed thoroughly, actively delighted by it. I really hope this happens again this time with the email I've just sent (well, it had better, or the index will end up as wild nonsense). And... I think I didn't even realise this could be, like, a thing, as a way of communicating (I mean, except for with the vast majority of my friends who it's rather self-selectingly fine with because we wouldn't be friends otherwise), and it's such a relief to be able to just OBTAIN INFORMATION BY ASKING FOR IT. I don't have to be thrown into the too-hard-basket all the time any more.

I am slightly terrified that some of my questions will turn out to be stupid and I have actually misunderstood the whole book, or accidentally written "ARSE" in 72pt text in the middle, though. (I don't think this fear will ever go away.)

Also, ugh, quite a lot of politics happened and obviously is still happening, but I think I burnt off all my current feelings about that using a bicycle.

previous - next