Being an editor is, for the most part, terrible.
It’s akin to being a bass player or an offensive lineman—albeit with infinitely fewer groupies and significantly less compensation.
Editing for a living is a thankless lot, measured by such thrilling success metrics as spelling someone’s name correctly or replacing a semicolon with an em dash. While the writers of the world bask in glory like so many coddled quarterbacks or lead guitarists, editors toil in obscurity, attempting to parse fact from fiction in whatever the writer has recklessly scribbled.
No one knows who you are unless you miss an obvious typo or mess something else up. Everybody hates you, because you’re constantly tinkering with their work. You sit and look at a screen most of the day like a schlump.
The days are full of gray-area judgment calls, covertly Googling grammar questions that for some reason still give you fits. (Can we just invent a new word to make “lay versus lie” less confusing?) There’s conflict and anxiety, as you’re constantly anguishing over minute details that are utterly inconsequential to an overwhelming majority of humankind.
Another issue that editors face is explaining to family, friends and peers the breadth of what we do and the weight we carry daily.