What My New Resume Says

March 2, 2011 at 12:49 am (By Amba)

“Porsche mechanic of the English language.”


  1. Ron said,

    “The Kim Kardasian of Kopyediting” [stay with the theme…]

  2. Randy said,

    LOL, Ron!

    Anyway, I like Porsche mechanic fine. But being KK is the thing for now, I guess. BWDIK? I’m seriously out-of-touch w/ popular culture and didn’t really know who she was until I finally looked her up on wikipedia a few weeks ago. Side note: Years and years ago, her dad was one of my dad’s clients.

  3. pathmv said,

    Love it!

  4. amba12 said,


    I have a feeling it’s “Love it or hate it!”

  5. wj said,

    What’s not to love?

    At most, someone might want a mechanic for something a little more widespread, rather than top of the line. But do you really want to work on pieces of mediocre prose?

  6. mockturtle said,

    My post disappeared. What I said was: I see you more as sculptor than mechanic.

  7. LouiseM said,

    A Porsche mechanic is definitely catchy and close to the mark, but what comes up for me immediately is $$$ and my personal experience with foreign car mechanics.

    I regard you as an Artisan, gifted and skilled in the mechanical, technical, structural requirements/functions of the English language.. Experienced in drafting, construction, operations, and safety implementation.

    A Language Technician with the vision, heart and creative skills of an artisan..

    A Virtual Clocksmith is what comes to mind, but that not only dates, it time stamps.


  8. Icepick said,

    I have a feeling it’s “Love it or hate it!”

    That’s perfect, because at least it is memorable. If they hate it then it’s no big loss. But you’re trying to get someone’s attention, so you’re really looking for that person that will love it.

    I was speaking to someone Monday night. The man was talking about a hiring manager he knew locally (Orlando). Typically he will get two thousand applications in under 48 hours for a newly listed position. All he does is take the first thirty or so, and reads them to see who looks like a good interview. Usually he’s able to find several suitable candidates in that first batch. But the point is, you want to stick out if you’re lucky enough to get looked at.

    (This was at a networking event for those of us looking for work, so this was exactly the kind of information that comes up in such conversations.)

  9. LouiseM said,

    Yes, mockturtle. I was writing while you were posting, but I like the idea of sculptor. A sculptor needs to be familiar with the materials and medium being crafted/worked, and skilled in using the tools necessary to add or subtract from the specifics of the piece being worked.. Similar in part to the work of a good mechanic, but different and more.

    In what way, I’m not sure. A mechanic oils, lubes, repairs, replaces and enhances what already is. A sculptor crafts and creates something different from what already is with the intent of inviting curiosity, wonder and new awareness. Both in their own way (if they are skilled in what they do) reflect a commitment to function, order and the beauty of excellence.

    So too with wordsmiths?

  10. chickelit said,

    Porsche mechanic is definitely catchy and close to the mark, but what comes up for me immediately is $$$ and my personal experience with foreign car mechanics.

    Lots of Porsche mechanics moonlight as VW mechanics. At least she didn’t go all Ferrari on us! :)

  11. amba12 said,

    To explain a bit, Porsche because I regard the English language as a fine instrument, and mechanic because of the listening.

  12. mockturtle said,

    Where copy editing differs from content editing, I guess your analogy is better. However, you’d be a superior content editor–maybe you have been, I don’t know. You’re a gifted writer and it’s almost a shame you have to tinker with others’ machines instead of engineering and building your own.

  13. amba12 said,

    Yes, I’ve been a content editor. I don’t want to write for a living anymore, precisely because I want to write what I want to write, not what someone ordered. I am very happy tinkering with others’ machines for a living. I wrote on assignment for decades, and I’m sick to death of it.

  14. mockturtle said,

    ‘On assignment’ is one thing. Writing about something close to your heart–like your experience with Lewy, for example….maybe some day?

  15. amba12 said,

    I kept journals throughout – – they’re classic … just like what’s in all our e-mails, only even franker at times.

  16. karen said,

    I still like the sculptor analogy. Right now i can’t think of anything to add- and… i can’t comment on Randy’s post because there’s a google ad there hogging up the space!!!!

    So, please let me say- you made my day yesterday when i read the(bit unsettling– another in 3 months??)but, otherwise great news!!!

    Did i miss the Lewy- or is that private?

  17. mockturtle said,

    Damn, Annie! Those journals would make one hell of a book!

  18. amba12 said,

    Karen, Lewy body dementia is what Jacques had . . . and what mockturtle’s husband has. That’s how we “met.”

  19. LouiseM said,

    Ok. I’m in tune and tuned up . After reading the wiki on copy editing, the 5 C’s involved are now crystal clear. I’ll concede mechanic over sculptor, but I won’t withdraw clocksmith, as those that still exist are all about getting assorted parts to work together perfectly and accurately so something can be read and understood.

  20. Ruth Anne said,

    Wouldn’t it be funny if we all wrote mock reviews, a la Siskel and Ebert, and Annie excerpted them for her resume`? You could even selectively edit them to show your fabulous editing skillz!

  21. karen said,

    I should have remembered that- and i am sorry. On the flip side- it’s amazing how people connect over difficulties exactly when needed: you& mockturtle:0).

  22. Tim said,

    My wife is a copy editor who loves the Porsche mechanic analogy, and who never, ever thought of herself as an author.

    However, copy editing can turn by degrees into writing on assignment if you’re not careful. My wife specializes in foreign language textbooks and technical materials—mostly French and German—and she’s often found herself working for authors and managing editors who are, to one degree or another, non-native English-speakers.

    Copy editing the foreign language parts of a textbook, say, is usually not a problem in itself, although there often are issues of consistency and coordination with ancillary materials. It gets interesting, however, when said non-native types insist their English-As-She-Is-Spoke prose is the best thing since Hemingway, and the mere copy editor shouldn’t touch a syllable of throw mama from the train a kiss.

    Occasionally, my wife has been able to persuade her employers to let her do a re-write. In these cases, she tends to tread carefully on the matter of increased pay for the extra work. Balancing professional pride, love of the subject(s), commitment to quality of the written word, and getting a big enough paycheck is not easy in the freelance copy editing world. The same is true of nearly any profession that’s practiced, as so many are these days, on a laptop on the dining room table.

    Actually, let’s not limit ourselves to dining room tables. Strike the last sentence and replace by, “The same is true of nearly any profession these days.”

    We could go further and replace “profession” with “job,” but that’s getting too far into picking nits, and at the page rate publishers pay nowadays, it’s time to move on.

  23. amba12 said,

    Wouldn’t it be funny if we all wrote mock reviews, a la Siskel and Ebert, and Annie excerpted them for her resumé?

    I actually have a section of “brief references” in the resume, taken from backstage comments that I’ve only edited so I can use them w/o attribution (although it is too cute to have two that are bleeped; I’ll have to change the first one to [bacon], maybe).


    “As always, your thoroughness is admirable and really helpful.” – editorial colleague

    “Your contributions are widely appreciated.” – departing editor-in-chief

    “You’ve done a wonderful, responsible job.” – scientist, article author

    “The divine Annie Gottlieb, who read several drafts with attention and insight.” – client Sara Davidson, in book acknowledgements

    “You are saving their b**ts on this issue . . . you are [an] actual editor, who cares and knows about style and sense.” – editor’s spouse

    “Your fact-checker is quite the b**l-buster, and a very thorough one at that. I’m very impressed.” – scientist, article author

    That last is my favorite accolade, ever. Put it on my tombstone.

    I haven’t heard back yet from any “reviewers” of the resume. Maybe they’re scandalized. Or bored. Or busy.

  24. wj said,

    They might be any of those things regarding the last two. Or, it occurs to me, ROTFLMAO might be a factor in the slow response. Just sayin’

  25. amba12 said,

    Well, the new resume got its first bite. It gained me the honor of taking a timed copyediting test for an online business newsletter company at 2 next Tuesday. The speed chess of the English language.

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