Liz Mathews


#48: The Redeeming Bits of Working in Publishing, by Liz Mathews

As I was careening about the office, lamenting that I didn’t have a topic to write about this month, cajoling others to write something for me, one coworker piped up with a profound idea.

“Why don’t you write about the things you find redeeming in publishing?”

I stared at her and heard crickets in the distance.

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#44: A Fridge for All, by Liz Mathews

As anyone who does not work from home has probably experienced, life during the workday involves a lot of shared spaces. Even as one so lucky to have an office, my own little room with a door to close is a shared space, and that’s because I have a mini-fridge.

At the company where I work, on the floor where we are located, there happens to be a tiny kitchen that consists of a sink (sometimes featuring a clogged drain and/or dirty dishes), one garbage can and one recycling can (the difference between the two is confused by most, despite this writer’s best efforts at sustainability and clarity), a microwave, a coffee machine (which makes mostly disgusting “coffee” water), and one dorm-room-sized refrigerator.

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#38: Ain’t Nobody’s Fault, by Liz Mathews

People are fallible. I’m sorry if this is news to you, but you were probably going to learn it someday. The thing about everyone—every single darn person in the world—being capable of making mistakes is that so many of us don’t really want to accept the blame for them when they happen.

Case in point: a recent Monday. So many mistakes were made. Or they were discovered, having been made and covered up previously. And I am included in the mistake-making, of course I am. Allow me to illustrate:

As the copywriter, the time had come for me to copy and paste some previously written copy to make a nice little email blast featuring a letter from one of our editors. I had no copy of the letter that I was supposed to copy. So I emailed the editor, and the other two people that I deemed in charge of giving me the work to do. “Are we still doing this?” I asked. “I need this copy ASAP, if yes.”

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#35: When Creativity Knocks, by Liz Mathews

Let us think about writers, for a moment. When you think of a writer, what picture comes to mind? Turtlenecks, perhaps. Browns and tans. Cigarettes, or if not cigarettes then definitely some kind of alcoholic beverage. Maybe a melancholic disposition. Dry sense of humor? Wittily self-deprecating? Willing to spend long hours alone, nurturing the craft.

Your picture may be different from mine. As it is, at the company where I work, the word ‘writer’ makes up 60% of my job title. I am the copywriter. Sometimes I like to joke that ‘copy’ makes up 40% of my job title, since it often feels like most of what I do is copying and pasting. When I say I like to joke about that, I guess what I mean is I like to tell the truth in a way that may strike others as a joke.

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#31: Snow Day, by Liz Mathews

On the off chance that the weather is so horrendous work is canceled, the company where I work has an inclement weather phone number. Every year when there’s an inkling of a snowstorm on the way (or hurricane, depending on the season), our HR department sends a company-wide email reminding us to phone in before heading in. The phone will either be answered with “Macmillan is currently open for business,” or some message which is essentially the opposite.*

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Encounters in Publishing #28: The Auditors, by Liz Mathews

They appeared in the 14th floor conference room one morning, unannounced. Or, at least to me they were unannounced: the auditors.

Having only been marginally aware of auditing as something one does not want to have happen during tax season, my feeling toward them was one of slight curiosity coupled with the wish that they’d leave our conference room so I could continue to fill up my water bottle from the water cooler in that room without feeling like I was walking in on something.

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