Sandy Wiegand, Copyeditor/Writer at Joining Vision and Action
When I worked at a small Texas newspaper near the start of my journalism career about 20 years ago, one of my fellow copyeditors brought a cartoon to work. It showed an arm extending from a dark manhole, the hand holding an empty coffee cup. A small sign on the manhole cover read “Copy Desk.”
I had found my people.
So, I guess this is where I climb out and introduce myself. I am, proudly if somewhat shyly, Joining Vision and Action’s new full-time copyeditor/writer. If you’re not familiar with the job title, it’s because copyeditors work behind the scenes. We seldom get (or want) our names on things. We sometimes have passionate arguments about fascinating topics like hyphenation or “parallel structure.” Above all, we try to make sure that copy—that is, the written word—contains no errors in grammar, spelling or fact. We also try to make it sound pretty.
The fact that JVA has hired a full-time copyeditor is a testament to its commitment to excellence (if I do say so, myself). This is an era when newspapers all the way up to the New York Times are slashing their copy desks. My hiring means that JVA has doubled down on ensuring that the grant proposals, reports, training materials and other documents we produce for clients are polished and professional.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have joined the JVA team. I first set up a “nonprofit” job search online about six years ago. The newspaper industry was struggling, and I knew that when I left it, I would want to continue to do work I found meaningful. At JVA, I get to use my strengths (you may have heard our philosophy on that!) to help people do good things for one another.
JVA really is my dream job.
I’ve always felt passionate about social justice. My Myers-Briggs personality type is INFP. We spend our lives seeking a cause and evaluating everything based on “values.” (It’s really kind of exhausting.) So … I was a white girl in Indiana writing ninth-grade papers about MLK and Gandhi in the 1980s. And I continue to see life through the lenses of fairness and equal opportunity.
Today, I have two biracial daughters. I was a single mom for a time. One of my best friends is a new mom navigating difficult decisions about finding fulfilling work while still giving her son the time he deserves. Finally, substance abuse and mental health issues have touched my family and my co-workers. My last office lost two people to suicide in the course of a year.
Those last experiences, combined with the nation’s current political circumstances, led me to intensify my job search. Ideally, I wanted to work somewhere that strives to make societal improvements benefiting people who face challenges similar to those of the groups mentioned in the last paragraph. I hardly imagined I’d be so lucky as to land somewhere like JVA.
Reading JVA’s grant proposals, changemaker profiles and reports has already been inspiring and uplifting. My hope is that, buoyed by the opportunity to support people who work for social justice, I won’t be limited by my copyeditor instincts and will have the confidence to continue sticking my head out into the light. Every aspect of JVA fascinates me, and I want to participate in every way that I can.