My Wife, the Editor

Whenever I have any information or an inside angle, I like to share it with all of you. First, that’s kind of my job. But second, you’ve all been so kind and dear to me. I feel a closeness with you.

That’s why I want to tell you about my wife, Rocky.

Right out of college, Rocky began working as an assistant editor at one of the leading machining trade publications in America. Medhat, her Egyptian uncle, was the head bartender at a very prestigious country club where the publishers of this magazine liked to golf. There’s no relationship like the relationship you have with your bartender. So, Medhat pulled a few strings and got Rocky an interview.

The pinnacle question from one of the publishers during her interview was, “Are you crazy?”

She assured them of her sanity and she had the job.

If you were an English major in college, or ever knew one who was, this story is remarkable because English majors aren’t known for their fast track to employment. I was very happy with my own bartending job after getting my cum laude English degree from the same private college my wife attended.

What’s more remarkable is that she’s in what is typically an old white man’s trade magazine.

She eventually became a full-fledged editor. This is where the story gets good and why I bring all of this up.

Editor of anything — machining, food, scientific equipment — is an underground ruling class that very few average people know about.

These editors are bowed down to, catered to, and fawned over like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at the Academy Awards. Presidents of major companies chat them up, provide extravagant meals, and fly them all over the world.

I got firsthand exposure to this when Rocky took me on a trip to Prague where she was covering a machining company. All expenses were paid, but it got much better than that.

First, the wife of the company’s president personally picked us up at the airport. She drove us directly to a restaurant where no less than a dozen executives from the company were patiently sitting around a table waiting for her arrival. Lunch began with a quick shot of Becherovka, a Czech drink that’s been around since the 19th century. The lunch went on for several hours, several courses of food, and a great deal of beer and this delicious Becherovka.

During the week, there were glass-blowing tours, countryside tours, and every graciousness imaginable.

That trip was probably 12 years ago and I’m still impressed by it. But for Rocky, the editor, it was expected. This was how she traveled throughout the world and in all the major cities in America. This is the life of a 20-something editor for a trade publication.

I’m telling you this to get you in the head of editors for any kind of publication you might come across.

Editors are often very nice and cordial. They have no reason or need to be upset. However, if you aren’t kind, courteous, and prompt in return, they will kindly tell you “the story is going in a different direction but I’ll keep you in mind for future stories.”

She’ll likely keep you in mind to not call again.

Rocky would amusingly tell me of people who were rude, belittling, and otherwise blind to her position in the world. These people didn’t ever upset her. They were simply children who had lost their way.

The reason for all of this royalty is because editors hold all the keys. You’re either in or you’re out. No one tells the editor who has to be in the article. The article simply has to be written one way or another.

So, as you’re thinking about interacting with an editor of a newspaper, trade publication, or heaven forbid a major publication, think about Rocky as she flew first class all over the world deciding who would be in and who would be out.

That’s the life of an editor. That’s the station in life you’re dealing with.

If you want the quote, if you want the link, treat these people with the respect they’ve come to know and love.

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