Emotional bribery was commonplace in my childhood during which time, on account of my observational abilities, I was dubbed The Best Finder.
‘Oh no! I’ve lost my favourite teaspoon/hairpin/moustache comb and I’ve looked everywhere for it!’
‘What a shame. Have you tried asking The Best Finder to look for it?’
There are some important points to note here: first, usually having ‘looked everywhere’ actually meant having looked on the coffee table and under one sofa cushion; second, no one ever addressed The Best Finder directly, but instead made allusions to her finding expertise while she was in earshot; and last, I was clearly a complete mug and my innocent determination to maintain my title led only to a blatant exploitation of my skills.
Later in life, a long and satisfying career as a Health and Care Professions Council–registered biomedical scientist in a variety of disciplines allowed me to employ my finding prowess while checking and analysing vast volumes of patient data and results. This may have taken the form of hunting for a mere speck of tissue down the microscope or wading through the minutiae of electrophoresis readouts, seeking out tiny but deeply significant details.
I graduated from The Best Finder to Eagle Eye O’Donnell and my dear colleagues often finagled me into checking over documents they had composed in order to save them from the embarrassment of a typo or spelling mistake despite the fact that this was in no way a part of my job description.
Over the years, my reputation preceded me and I was employed to proofread for a veritable heap of fellow students, friends and family whose carefully prepared documents I tore through with glee and vigour. After a time, I was deemed professional enough to be enlisted by a Brussels-based translation agency.
And so, when the time came for me to make a career change and take a new direction in life, it seemed there was only one thing for me to do – become the best at finding ways to improve on the work of others in return for a fee on a full-time basis. Thus, K O’Donnell Proofreading was born.