Wednesday 31 October 2012

A few firsts I snuck in while your backs were all turned...

I was going to start this post with the phrase "I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last updated my blog." But, actually, I can. When I read back on diaries I tried to keep in the past almost every other entry starts with "I can't believe it's so long since I last wrote in here...". So, in an unofficial first, this time I will believe. But not writing does not mean I have not been completing my firsts. In the next few days, I will update you on all the things I've been too busy getting on with to actually write about...

Start a Career
Ok, so the prep work has been going on for years now (along with a bit of reckless travelling and occasional binge drinking) but within the last month I have finally landed myself a job that I believe I want to continue working within for the rest of my working career. Maybe not this exact job forever, but within this line of work, with this kind of company.

The only result when you search 'Career Woman'
on Wiki Commons...  a charicature by Honoré Daumier... nice.
And I kind of landed into it by accident (well, let’s say by making my own luck.) 

While feeling slightly jaded of a few weeks sitting in court rooms and being told to chase the distressed families of murder victims down corridors to ask for a picture I realised that news journalism can be pretty shitty. Yes, I knew before that this was exactly the kind of thing the job entailed. And I thought my sense of sniffing out and writing about the ‘truth’ would be able to override any sense of discomfort I would feel about it. And I also know from personal experience that sometimes it can feel comforting to tell your own version of a story being reported, in a way you want it to be told, so I thought this would help me in situations when I had to ask grieving or suffering people to share their story with me. But when it actually came down to it, I realised I’m not made of the right kind of stuff.

This may sound a bit like I am putting myself down, or that I am somehow putting down those that are made of victim chasing mettle, depending on whether you read that last line in a sarcastic tone, but I really do not mean either of these things. I admire anybody who has the ability to ruthlessly chase the truth, and believe people have a right to hear it, even if it may at times be uncomfortable for some people involved. And, while the ‘truth’ can be wildly subjective I still believe that it is impossible to write honest, hard-hitting stories without going to those that are suffering most and asking them about their experiences. But, I hate the selling side. The sensitivity of the story comes secondary in journalism to how much it can sell for. And this, particularly when you are just starting out in the world of journalism and you pretty much have to do anything anybody asks you to do (and probably for free), is part of what I just can’t handle. 

Pretty sure you don't need an illustraion of a newspaper,
but though you might be bored of all the words!
[By Iván Martínez, via Wikimedia Commons]
Anyway, I’m not sure why I have been compelled to give you all a 300 word explanation as to why I’ve stopped calling myself a journalist. Pretty sure none of you out there were judging me on it, especially considering the bad rep journos have these days (probably partly due to using words like ‘journos’). But there it is anyway.

And then this is where the luck comes in. 

Another unnecessary illustration...
So for the few months following my journalism course, when people who I had not spoken for a long while would ask me ‘What are you doing at the moment?” I would tell them about the freelance work I had been picking up and mention that I was constantly on the look-out and applying for full-time vacancies on papers. I may have said something along the lines of “I’m also keeping my eye out for marketing and communications vacancies” when the conversation turned to how few jobs there were going but, in general, the answer was “I’m looking to be a full time reporter. And failing”. Ok, I never said the last bit, but I felt pretty miserable about the whole thing and I’m sure that came across.

So, the idea of working in communications started to appeal to me more and more. Not only would it be utilising the writing skills I have developed over the past few years, but it would also let me try my hand at events management, and I was also sure it would involve being organised and writing a lot of lists (I can happily confirm it does). Plus I also wanted to feel like I was ‘making a difference’. Yes, I know this seems like an awful awful cliché, but I hate the idea of just going to work for the majority of your waking day, for the majority of the week, for the majority of your life, just to help some big fat cat owner of a company get rich and with no other real output from it. Again, yes, I know there are satisfying aspects to a lot of jobs, and that many roles do give you the opportunity to help the big fat cat owner get rich AND help other people. Or you could just go self-employed. But the idea of working for a charity really appealed to me.

So, one time, when I was sitting round a table at a hen party and I was asked what I was up to in my life, I decided to tell them about the journalism course and what I had been doing for the past few months. But instead, for the first time ever, I ended it with “so I’ve decided to start looking for marketing roles, and I would really like to work for a charity or something like that.”

To my surprise, the reply was “well I work for a charity and they’re looking to employ somebody in communications at the moment.”

One interview and three weeks later, I was officially employed.

Make and Name my own Cocktail

And it all started so well...
This one has been hanging around for a while. I picked it out of the Hat quite some time ago and, in those few weeks, I have had a number of false starts. I even booked me and boyfriend Glenn onto a cocktail making course, but we ran away before it started as the place looked like a complete dive (and we decided our money would be better spent on buying the alcohol and making stuff up ourselves. How wrong we were…) 

I suppose the idea to put this idea in the Hat was inspired by a vision of being able to whip out a cocktail shaker at sophisticated social gatherings (the kind of thing that clearly happen all the while, when you live with your parents, as I was at the time) and impressing everybody with my signature Em-Mojito (thanks to my youngest brother George for that little gem of a cocktail name).

Unfortunately, on the evening I decided I would finally officially make my cocktail, this is what I ended up with. 

I admit, the picture does it no favors...

After deciding it was not worthy of the title Em-Mojito, I have called this, Swamp Water (thanks to Glenn for the input on that one and obvious ‘support’ for my cocktail making endeavours).

Even making my own sugar syrup wasn’t really enough to come up with an end product worth shouting about. But, if you do ever fancy mixing together something that resembles a mojito with something that resembles a mint julep, to end up with a drink that looks as utterly unimpressive as the one above, then here is the recipe:

Swamp Water 

Swamp Water in the making
  • Mash a few sprigs of mint with sugar syrup in the bottom of a short glass.  
  • Fill the glass with crushed ice. 
  • Add 2 parts of Captain Morgan to 1 part JD and top up with a small dash of coke. 
  • Drink Quickly. Before anybody sees it.  
 First first that I am going to rule an epic fail.  

I think that's enough to keep you all going for now. As you can see, moving to a new place for a new job has been keeping me pretty busy, but the firsts are still coming...

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