Being an indexer!

Well, I finished my very first index, dear friends!! A new job, after all those years – and a lovely one at that, too. Much more interesting than all those dreary bureaucracy translations I used to do for years and years, and much less stressful than all the lessons I gave to kids and teenagers.

In case you’re wondering what it is we indexers do – we compile those lists in alphabetical order at the back of non-fiction books, so that readers can look up things, places or people appearing in the book. So, if for example you’ve got a 1000-page book on the history of England, and you want to learn something specifically about Francis Drake, just look up ‘Drake, Francis’ in the index and it’ll take you right to the relevant sections. But that’s not all – it’ll also show you the locations for certain subjects you might be interested in, like the wool trade or the civil war. Actually, I think we indexers do quite a useful job there!

I’m so glad my darling husband got me into this job; he’s been doing it for more than 20 years now, a quieter and less stressful job than his previous one as a solicitor. And, since for getting my permit in the UK I had to prove I had a job (marrying a Brit used to be quite enough for that once upon a time, but not anymore these days…), he had the idea of making me his business partner as a freelance indexer. He’d told me a lot about the job beforehand, of course, and so it wasn’t too difficult to get into it, studying the Indexing Manual and doing a few test indexes which Ian of course looked through and corrected. Believe me, it’s a wonderful thing to have your husband as a teacher!

IanBina Indexers Ad

We also started an ad campaign on social media for new customers, now that there’s a workforce of two, but that hasn’t brought any fruit yet; but Ian, of course, has got quite a number of trusted clients who regularly send work – and so, while he was busy on a much more demanding index, I got my first own indexing job last week! And the subject was nice and easy and interesting, too: a book about a young K-pop girl band called Blackpink. I must confess I’d never heard of them before (my music tastes are a bit more old-fashioned, going back to the 70s and 60s and even 1920s New Orleans jazz…), but I got acquainted with them quite quickly – the internet is full with their pictures and videos, and I must say I quite like their style!

It was great learning about the girls’ background, their hard work and their enormous success, and making it easier for the people who are going to read the book to find the details they want – that’s what indexing is about, and I really love my new job! When I’d finished the index, me and my darling husband/teacher looked through it together, which made me feel a lot safer – and we had a lot of fun doing it, too! And afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with a tasty Chinese takeaway and a bottle of whisky…


So, never be afraid of new challenges, dear friends – a new career and a new, more interesting occupation might just be around the corner for you…

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