Finnish LinkedIn is talking about #TärkeäOsaMinua (‘an important part of me’), which seems to have originated as a social media campaign by one of the big trade unions to get people to think about their professional identity. I’ve really enjoyed reading the posts tagged with the slogan, and here’s mine!
It’s the end of my third week at Imperial College Business School, where I’m doing an MBA. I can tell it’s going to be a lot of work – in some ways more work than my job at Little, Brown was, because the student timetable eats into my Me-Time quite a lot. So it’s important to know why I’m doing it. I’ve already self-diagnosed as a Questioner (see this post about Gretchen Rubin’s expectations framework), which means that when it comes to expectations I set for myself or others set for me, I can do it all as long as it’s clear to me why I should. Let this post be a reminder to myself…
When I was looking to get into publishing, I had only a very fuzzy notion of what you actually did when you were ‘in publishing’, let alone what more specific roles such as commissioning editors did every day. Now I know it’s mostly email – no, just kidding. There’s a fair bit of attending meetings, too! Here’s an account of a typical day.
I have a book recommendation! Laura Vanderkam is a wonderful author who writes about time management. Her new book, I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time is really worth reading if you’re a woman who dreams of having both a happy family life and a career, or already have both and find the juggling act stressful and difficult. (And if you’re a man in a relationship with such a woman, I would also recommend it to you for perspective.)
I’ve been a fan of Vanderkam’s writing ever since I happened to find What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast in a bookshop, and was inspired by her optimism about time. The lack of time is a favourite complaint among ‘busy’ people, but she actually maintains that you can make time for anything you want by planning and prioritising. And some of the things your time is currently spent on probably aren’t worth it.
The new book is based on research among women who have a big career and a family, and her findings are honey to my ears. I’m ambitious career-wise, but I also hope that I will eventually have at least one child, and I’ve already started worrying about how that’s going to work. The narrative is that if you want one, then you need to be reconciled to the fact that you will never be fully invested in the other. But Vanderkam’s research shows otherwise: the book is full of women who find the time to be properly involved in both, without big trade-offs, and it’s really reassuring to read about.
Tell me if you recognise this. You go to a talk or seminar about some topic to do with succeeding in your career or getting a job. There are panelists, each more distinguished than the last and clearly chosen because their careers are somehow exemplary. Excellent, you think, these people will definitely be able to tell me how it’s done.
And then they all proceed to tell you how lucky they got, and how they owe it all to fortunate circumstances. They may have a speck of talent but mostly it was that they were in the right place at the right time. Time well spent?
I’ve been to a fair few job interviews in the past 4 years for jobs ranging from Editorial Assistant to Commissioning Editor. Afterwards, I wrote down as many of the questions I was asked as I could remember. Some of the interviews were more conversational than others, so there were fewer questions. I haven’t included my answers, because a) I didn’t write them down at the time, and b) I didn’t get most of these jobs so they would probably not be that useful! :P
The interviews I had were all at well-known trade publishing houses in London. I hope this will be helpful for people who are preparing for similar interviews!
A week ago I went to the annual Society of Young Publishers (SYP) Conference in Oxford. SYP organise a lot of interesting events aimed at people who are starting out in publishing, and the conference programme was quite heavy on employment-related seminars as well.
I happened to be part of some interesting discussions about graduates and what they can expect in the employment front. The word ‘moral’ came up twice and made me prick my ears up as it was used in a rather matter-of-course manner, whereas I rarely think of employment in terms of morality. I will try to now!