Westmont Magazine The Write Job for Julianna
Julianna Gustafson ’96 was a typical English major at Westmont: she spent hours reading and analyzing novel after novel. Some students leave all that reading behind when they graduate as gladly as they leave college food. But as an editor at Jossey-Bass Publishing, Julianna has opted for a career that demands more than 25 hours a week of reading. And she has Westmont to thank for it.
Julianna spent a semester of her senior year interning as an editorial assistant for Jossey-Bass when she attended Westmont’s Urban program in San Francisco.
“It was a great experience for me,” she enthused. “It was a great way to get me outside the ‘Westmont bubble.’ I had never even sent a fax before that; I learned great, transferable life skills.” She enjoyed the job so much — which included coordinating efforts between obtaining manuscripts to marketing books — she decided to move back to San Francisco after graduation and pursue a career in publishing.
After a brief stop at Mayfield Publishing, Julianna returned to Jossey-Bass in the business book field. She spent the next five years advancing up the ranks, eventually landing a position as associate editor in the business section. Her ascent enabled her to apply for an associate editor spot in the religion section. “I knew that was where I wanted to be,” she explained. “It would combine my work with my passion of reading and staying current with Christian and religious thinkers.”
Julianna got the position she wanted and has spent the last seven months in what she calls her “dream job.” She loves getting paid to think about how to incorporate faith into life. It’s exciting that her personal passions overlap with her professional life.
She admits the job is overwhelming at times, as she is constantly reading to keep in touch with up-and-coming writers. She also works with authors to see if their books need to be reshaped and restructured, and that requires careful reading of the manuscripts. She says her work with Westmont’s Writer’s Corner helped her develop tools for recognizing good writing and helping authors get to the essence of what they are trying to say.
While Jossey-Bass publishes books from all spiritual disciplines, Julianna focuses on Christian authors who write thoughtfully about how they manifest their faith in everyday life. Her professional search in this way mirrors her personal one as she finds herself asking, “What is my faith like now? How is it my own? How is Jesus relevant in my life today?”
Julianna names Parker Palmer’s recent book, “Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation” as one to read. While she doesn’t have much spare time to kick back with a good book, she admits getting paid to do just that is the next best thing.