It’s nice to know that sometimes our enthusiasm for our field of work is contagious… enough to encourage others to join the profession (the profession in my case is indexing). I have had several opportunities over the last few years to provide the spark that ignites other people’s interest in being an indexer and to support them as they have ventured into the field.
So often if someone asks me what I do for a living, their eyes glaze over immediately as I tell them I am an indexer. One person said to me, “you mean you write those boring lists in the back of books?” Yup, that’s me. Every once in a while though, you meet a person who says “Wow, what a cool job! You get paid to stay home and read books? I’d love that.” Those are the conversations I enjoy.
As a result of a couple of those conversations, others have come to be indexers. The work to get them there is all their own, of course. Looking into the field to see if it’s really for them, talking to other indexers, taking a class on indexing… whatever their paths, they have worked hard to break into the field on their own. But I do feel a certain satisfaction in having encouraged them along the way.
Mentoring beginning indexers reminds me of the foundations of being a good indexer. When asked questions about my approach or my preferred style of tackling a subject, I am forced to really examine how and why I index the way I do. Explaining the reasoning behind certain indexing skills reminds me of how I should be doing it, and it never hurts to be reminded of the principles underlying your work. There is also a certain clarity of mind that comes with having to explain your approach succinctly.
I had a wonderful mentor who drew me into indexing years ago, and I am paying it forward now. Her enthusiasm ignited that spark in me. My enthusiasm for the field continues to be bolstered through relationships with up and coming indexers. How many people go to work and slog through the day, anxiously awaiting the time that frees them? I feel so lucky to work in a business I truly enjoy and to help others find work that they truly enjoy. I really do have a cool job! I encourage you to share your enthusiasm for your field of work with others – it will remind you why you like it.