A younger Greg Lockert dreamed of becoming the next great Canadian columnist. Instead, he became the guy who edits great Canadian columnists.
The work isn’t as glamorous, but the pay is better and the nasty online responses aren’t aimed at him. He also has the luxury of never being lectured to by readers about whether his columns are too right wing, too left wing or just plain wrong.
Editors are unknown and mysterious. The pay cheques roll in every two weeks and Greg remains so anonymous that when he gives his name and occupation, he can claim to be a plumber and no one is the wiser (of course, he never lies about his occupation).
Actually, Greg was a writer at one time, even banging out a few opinion pieces at other publications. He worked at four smaller dailies before being hired at the Free Press in 2000. In those days, a few people even recognized his name. But what started out as a temporary gig editing wire stories in northwestern Ontario turned into a long-term copy editing career, which eventually morphed into his current racket — night city editor at the Free Press.
Years ago, a respected superior told him city deskers get “pooped” on from above and below. (He actually used a stronger word.) There is some truth to that but no occupation is perfect and Greg enjoys night city desking, even if most people have no idea what city desking involves and are generally let down when they find out Greg is not a reporter and his name is rarely in print.
Like Greg said, the pay is better. and he can pretend he’s a plumber if he chooses. (He never does.)
Actually, Greg enjoys his work as night city editor and can’t imagine doing anything else for a living. If anyone asks him what a night city editor does, he’ll tell them he’s the middleman who makes sure reporters’ stories are written properly and ready for print (and web) before handing them off to the night copy editors, who give them the final polish and add headlines.
When not city desking, Greg spends time with his wife and 10-year-old son, both of whom think he’s a swell guy despite the fact they rarely see his byline. In the grand economic swing of things, the son would do well to become a plumber. But oddly enough, he shows much of his dad’s inclination toward the written word and couldn’t care less about PVC pipes. He may even have more opinions than his dad, although that would take a lot.
Greg advises him to become the next great Canadian columnist, but if that doesn’t work out, he should consider editing — it pays more and he can tell everyone he’s a plumber. (Of course, he’d never do that.)