When to Take the Blame at Work

Illustration by Andrew Joyner

The first paycheck I earned as a writer came from a freelance job I briefly held at a small newspaper when I was still in college. I covered groundbreaking stories with such headlines as ”Deep-Fried Candy Bars: A County Fair Favorite,” “Underage Drinking Popular on Campus,” and “Local Man Makes Sculptures out of Trash.” I was young and inexperienced, and no one had ever explained the concept of copyediting to me. So when an editor told me she’d changed the term “rain boots” to “galoshes” in a story I’d written about springtime fashion trends, I didn’t check the final version before it went to print. When I saw it in the paper, I was horrified to discover the article appeared as a musing on the colorful, polka-dotted goulash—the Hungarian stew.

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