Mama Goes To Work…Maybe

I had the distinct pleasure of working in the J. (short for the Jewish weekly of Northern California) offices last week in downtown San Francisco as an interim copyeditor. Some of you might already know that most of my time is spent at the kitchen sink, at the playground or in front of this screen; even if you don’t you can probably imagine that putting on lipstick and riding the ferry to the Big City for work that doesn’t require filling requests for sippy cup refills and matching socks is like a spa day times 10.

I rarely get to spend non-family, non-religious time with other Jews, which was a huge amount of fun. The copy room is run by a kind-but-slightly-manic older gentleman surrounded by a cabal of smart, young-to-middle-age writers and editors; read through the latest issue to find out why it’s one of the best regional Jewish publication of our times.

There’s permanent part-time position open, and I want it. It’s the perfect job for me: two days a week using parts of my brain that had atrophied like grapes left too long in a lunchbox, having a place to wear the Kenneth Cole mini-blazer I got on sale at Nordstrom’s last summer, realizing the glamorous San Francisco working-gal fantasy at last. I think I made a fairly good impression with my skills and presentation, except for the morning I slogged some coffee down my shirt when the boat teetered and I had to wear a lovely stain all day.

Of course, there’s a catch. The weekly publishing world is a minute-to-minute drama of ad space vs. editorial copy, meaning if pages get added as the deadline approaches, that space has to be filled fast. It may not sound like an emergency, but if you’re an editor and you need a story about Rosh Hashanah recipes to go opposite the full-page Oakland Kosher ad and one of your full-time copyeditors is out with the flu, you need that Monday/Tuesday copyeditor to get her tuchus into the City on Friday morning stat. Which, because finding a babysitter for 7am on an evening’s notice is impossible, I cannot do. Unless I want to trust the five year-old to take care of his baby sister, make his own lunch and drive himself to school.

I tried to let him know that with just a little more notice I could most always work things out, but he’s still not sure about me. At least he assigned me a book review in the meantime.

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