As a freelance copy editor I need to pay attention to minute details, and I take a strange but lucrative pleasure in getting a sloppy book whipped into shape.
I'm working on a prestigious book about adolescent mental health disorders, and of course there's a list of contributors in the front, giving their degrees and academic affiliations. I thought the spelling of one eminent psychiatrist's endowed chair looked a little off, so I checked his website and the university's website. All three spellings were different. (He insisted that his was the correct spelling, so I went with it.)
But some projects are just no-win situations. The other day I got a job offer that involved cleaning up another copy editor's mistakes (the first red flag), and the project involved alphabetizing Arabic names in the index and fixing biographical entries that involved books and articles written by the same authors.
After a moment's consideration, I wrote back saying that unfortunately my schedule wouldn't allow me to accept the project. So sorry.