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Christina Vasilevski

How Joining an Editorial Association Kickstarted My Career

Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

It’s 2008. After graduating from university the year before, I have a soul-sucking job with a company of dubious morals. However, it’s the Great Recession and beggars can’t be choosers. I feel stuck, sad and like I’m drowning. Maybe I should get back into writing, I think.

Online, I find out about Ryerson University’s publishing program. I tour the campus, and educational nostalgia hammers in my chest. I register for a course and start to feel like maybe I’ve found a life-preserver.


It’s 2009. I’m still in the soul-sucking job. But I’m also in a copy-editing course with Camilla Blakely. I come to work excited one day and rhapsodize to my coworker about the that/which distinction, which I have just learned about the night before.

A few months later, I join Editors Canada as a student member.


It’s 2010. I decide to get a website to show I’m serious about editing. I already know WordPress and HTML, so I register a domain, find a web host, and create my own WordPress installation. Tinkering with all the code and finding a nice layout is actually pretty fun.

These self-taught skills lead to me finding a better-paying job through a posting on the Editors Canada mailing list. My progress in the Ryerson program and my HTML skills are just the credentials I need to get my foot in the door. It’s a contract job, but that’s okay. I bid the soul-suckers goodbye.


It’s 2011. I finish the final credit for the publishing program. It took me nearly three years, one course at a time in the evenings over several semesters while also balancing full-time work.


It’s 2014. I’m no longer with the company I joined in 2010. I’ve tried freelancing and taking on contract gigs with my content management skills. I network. I blog. I use social media. I go to business events.

It’s tough going because I undercharge and I’m too scared to pitch to larger companies. But I plug along because I need to make this work. And because of Editors Canada, I know it’s possible to be a successful freelancer; I just need more seasoning and confidence.


It’s 2015. I get an amazing gig through sheer happenstance on Twitter. Full-time hours with agency-level hourly rates with one of the largest companies in Canada. Manna from heaven! All the grammar and plain-language nerdery I’ve gleaned through being a long-term Editors Canada member serves me well.

My contract gets renewed repeatedly and I work on a dizzying variety of web projects like product launches, mobile app rollouts and updates to landing pages.


It’s 2016. The company I contract with puts up a posting for a permanent in-house editorial role in my department, reporting to the same manager I already have. It’s as if it was tailor-made for me. I apply for the job — and I get it! A job that’s permanent, uses the skills that I’m good at and isn’t morally sketchy is the holy grail I dreamed of nearly a decade ago.


After all this time, it’s still hard to believe where I am. I’ve been lucky; full-time in-house editorial roles are hard to come by, and I got mine without working with a traditional publisher or doing any unpaid internships. I found a side path through technical and corporate work, and Editors Canada was instrumental in helping me see that path was even possible in the first place.


Being a student member of Editors Canada kickstarted my career, giving me confidence, connections and industry know-how. What’s something you’d advise beginning editors to do?


The Editors’ Weekly is the official blog of Editors Canada. Contact us.


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