Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The CV I never submitted

Old age encourages me to hand out advice but I’m really not entitled. Take my employment record in journalism. I started work in 1951 and except for two years’ National Service I didn’t change jobs until 1959. Thereafter, until I retired in 1995, I had thirteen jobs, one of them three times.

Until 1972 I didn’t take what I did seriously. Until 1975 when I became an editor I accepted no responsibility. If I fancied a change of job I took it. After six years in newspapers I worked on magazines dealing with: cycling, hi-fi, civil engineering, motorcycling, logistics (first time), instrumentation, production engineering, data processing, general technology, logistics (second time), institutional catering, metal fabrication, logistics (third time).

Moving to the USA didn’t hamper my wanderlust. In six years there I had four jobs. Only in my final job (Logistics, third time), which lasted eleven years, did the various things I’d learnt come together allowing me to say I’d become professional.

Despite this ebb and flow, and a couple of exceptions, I enjoyed myself enormously. And that in itself is shocking. I made no attempt to learn from my enjoyment; I continued to move via whim rather than planned advancement.

What conclusions? Mainly that I was extremely lucky. I chose a line of business where academic qualifications weren’t required and to some degree one lived by one’s wits. In the final decade I saw that “characters” were sellable and decided to turn myself into one. I suppose it worked but there are risks. The Ancient Mariner was a character and I’m not yet convinced I’ve out-distanced him. In the seventeenth century my ancestral prototypes are to be found in several Shakespeare plays, usually called Fool.


Lucy said...

Tom's first wife made an utterance which has become something of a trope in our household: she was complaining about her work (teaching) and he cautiously put in that he too did have a job, to which she replied 'That's not work you enjoy it'.

Always likes Jeremy Hardy's observation about Ann Widdecombe:'People say she's a character, by which I suppose they mean she ought to be fictitious.'

(Not that I'm in any way comparing you, be assured.)

Avus said...

You have had a most enjoyable, unplanned and satisfying career, BB - well done. Very much like that Ancient Mariner:

"I pass, like night, from land to land;
I have strange power of speech;
That moment that his face I see,
I know the man that must hear me:
To him my tale I teach."

Plutarch said...

Thank you for you application. We a currently overwhelmed with applications. We are drawing up a short list and will let you know should your name be included. You should be aware however that competition for the post of Fool is intense on account of the growing number of people with outstanding qualifications for the job.

Rouchswalwe said...

Ancient Jester - that's what I've always yearned to put on my business card. My favourite business card was the one drawn up for me by the people I worked for in Japan. My name appeared in English, then in Japanese, followed by "Chief English Head."

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: Adopting the same apologetic tone you employ in your last sentence, I have to confess that I heard a shout of agreement from the next atelier to mine down the corridor, as Mrs BB announced herself totally in accord with Tom's first. It seems she did the work while I frittered away my substance in riotous living. So, the trope is now out in the open.

Avus: Being in charge of a magazine was like getting a huge expensive train-set for Christmas and being paid to play with it.

Plutarch: I'm not sure I ever employed any Fools, but I certainly fired some. Three to my certain knowledge.

RW (zS): That card undersold you. Renaissance Women? Polyglot Ascendant?