Proofreading might not seem like an obvious follow-up to the military, but one of our recent graduates has done exactly that! So, to get his perspective on why a career in proofreading was attractive, we’ve spoken to Cole about transitioning from the army to editing.
Hi, Cole! What were you doing before you started the course?
I served over 10 years in the U.S. Army as an intelligence officer and attaché. These roles sent me all over the world, though my primary focus was on the Middle East.
What made you consider the Proofreading Academy course?
As an intelligence officer, I was often the in-house proofreader and editor. I wanted to leave that world behind but still use my experiences in my career, so editing came to mind. After seeing the Becoming A Proofreader course online, I decided Proofreading Academy would be a good way to get acquainted with the methods and standards used in the civilian world.
Was there anything surprising in the course for you?
I have been exposed to British and Australian English throughout my career, but never in written form, so getting used to British and Australian spelling and punctuation conventions took some time. But the course helped me become familiar with the rules I needed to learn.
How has your transition to working as a freelance proofreader been?
Very good. The team was welcoming. Proofreading Academy’s training flowed well into how Proofed operates, so I didn’t need much extra help. And the feedback from the Editing Admin team, which I have since been asked to join, was useful in helping me hone my skills.
Additionally, I have been asked to participate in some special projects with our customers, which gives me more experience and very interesting things to read while I work.
What has been the single best benefit of having done the course?
It started off as something to put on my resume to show I am serious about wanting to work as a proofreader/editor. But it has also led directly into the work I’m now doing with Proofed.
How has life changed for you now as a freelance proofreader?
Going from the highly structured military life to the freedom of self-employment has been interesting to say the least. But my hours are flexible and that means I am free to take care of other life issues while working as a proofreader, which is very useful for me.
What do you enjoy most about proofreading?
Many clients are PhD students and researchers trying to help make the world better, whether through medicine, energy conservation, or whatever. I feel that I can help these people focus on their core work by making the writing process less stressful.
I really hope some of them go on to accomplish great things.
What do you do when you aren’t proofreading?
Interestingly, I read! I turn my brain off and enjoy the books in the genres I like most: ancient near eastern history/religion, historical fiction, and astrophysics (interesting mix, I know). It’s nothing special (and I’ve neglected it lately), but I also have a writing blog.
Do you feel the course was good value for money?
Yes, easily. I hope to earn more in time, obviously, but I am making enough to cover my mortgage and to not eat cup ramen noodles every day, which is always good!
Finally, is there anything else you want to share?!
It can be easy to romanticize the work of a proofreader and editor by imagining you are helping publish the next great novel series. But it is not about that; in fact, it is more interesting.
I enjoy seeing the college students’ resumes/CVs as they try to make their mark in the world. And I enjoy the science that is being produced. I can’t wait to see where my career leads me, but wherever it goes, I believe I will want to keep working with Proofed at some level.