« Inquest on a sentence | Main | Heavy-handed plodder »

Career choice

Two advantages the plumber has over the editor:

1. The customer understands that the plumbing doesn’t work.

2. The customer doesn’t think that he knows better than the plumber how to fix it.

Posted by John McIntyre at 8:44 AM | | Comments (3)


Then of course there's the money. You may have heard the story of the plumber who did some work for a lawyer and gave him a bill, including $200/hour for labor. The lawyer says, "$200/hour? I'm a lawyer and I don't charge $200/hour." The plumber replies, "Neither did I when I practiced law."

It's worth keeping in mind, though, that for all the excrement the editors must deal with, at least it's all metaphorical.

Who do you consider your customer in your metaphor? The reader, or the corporate heads?

JEM: In this parallel, the customer, the person with whom the editor deals diectly, is the writer.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
Baltimore Sun Facebook page

Most Recent Comments
Sign up for FREE local news alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for local news text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Stay connected