THE JOB CENTRE 2017

Yep, believe it or not, it’s that time of year again where I sit and ask a bunch of bad ass, fearless females about their careers, because if September isn’t a time for new beginnings and thoughts of a career change, then when is?

Am I right?

This year, I am beyond excited to announce that I have a stellar line up of amazing women who have agreed to share both their journey and some very practical career advice with you. You know, just in case your boss is being a fool or you’ve just graduated and don’t know where to start looking for work.

From freelance girl bosses and full time social media moguls to women in high fashion and those shaping young minds, there will be plenty of interviews to tuck into this month, so watch this space over the next four weeks for pearls of wisdom, droplets of inspiration and nuggets of utter realness.

So let’s get to the point and talk business, shall we?

how to become an account executive | imogen judd

AN INTERVIEW WITH CALEB FEMI

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I was lucky enough to do my teacher training at King’s with Caleb. He was a great teacher, able to mesmerise even a group of sleepless grown-ups with grammar; I believed every last thing he said about double negatives and pronouns. Last year, after months of not being in touch with him, I read that he had been named Young Person’s Poet Laureate of London and I was so excited. Not just at the fact that something good had finally happened in the year of all things shit, but because he would now go on to inspire young people beyond the four walls of his classroom in London and spread a love of poetry – something pupils notoriously loathe – across the country. I immediately text him and demanded he let me interview him for my blog. Here’s what I asked him and here’s what he told me.

Do you write poetry for a living?

I write poetry for a living, for necessity, for survival and sanity.

How did the whole ‘Young People’s Laureate’ thing come about?

It’s pretty mental. Mental indeed, I was watching Orange is the New Black one day in July, I had just quit teaching full time as a secondary English teacher when I received an email stating that I was part of a shortlist of poets considered for the role. From this, I was invited to interview, so I went.

They only bloody gave it to me. 

Are you currently working on any exciting projects you can talk about? 

I’m currently working on a poetry pamphlet, which will be out sometime next year. Also, I have a theatre show called Goldfish Bowl I’m creating, which will be showing in the summer.

Where do you source inspiration from?

Life, everyday life. All the good and bad stuff that happens and, yes, that includes my time as a teacher, which was both good and bad.

Did you find teaching poetry easier than teaching, say, a novel?

I think it was more of a matter of the quality and accessibility of the work, be it a novel or a poem. I don’t think there’s much difference between a novel and a poem at the heart of it. They are both trying to convey a human experience, so it’s quite hard to say…

Who am I kidding? 

POETRY.

You’ve said in interviews that young people need to create a new voice for themselves. In the fallout of 2016 (AKA the year of shade), what do you think that voice might sound like? 

A fog horn on the morning of a hangover, if you’re doing it right.

Favourite poet? Dead or alive.

Impossible, can’t answer that one.

What piece of advice would you give to a young person with a passion for the Arts but without a way in?

Keep knocking until someone opens. OR, you could forge your own route, find like-minded people and dig your way through with them.

I know you’ve spoken about finally being able to embrace all aspects of yourself – do you think London breeds this sort of mentality and allows people to do just that? Or do you think it’s down to the individual? 

Definitely down to the individual. London isn’t some utopia where everyone embraces you, it only becomes something closer to that when you can make peace with who you are and understand that you don’t need to justify your humanity to anyone, only then does the city seem more like a beaut. 

Want to know more or watch him perform? Go for it.

THE CRAFT

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I used to have a little piece of paper that sat on my desk where I used to work (often hidden behind files and piles of useless pieces of paper) which read: ‘Make Time For Your Art. It’s Important.’

I think it came from an old calendar a couple of colleagues and I pulled off the wall when we moved into that office but I couldn’t be sure. Anyway, for the year that I sat at that desk, that quote was a constant, welcome reminder for me to go home and do what I love. I enjoyed my job, most days, but it gave me a much-needed nudge to leave work each day and write, read, strike up a conversation with other creatives online or sign up to a talk or a course that would teach me more about my craft. But when it came to leaving that job and emptying out my desk, I’m not entirely sure where that piece of paper went. It must’ve got misplaced during the move and I miss it.

The truth is, there are lots of us who aren’t getting paid to do what we love. In fact, scrap that, most of us aren’t doing what we love. We are all pretty much working 9-5 or lengthy shifts each week and then heading home to sit on a sofa because we’re too worn out from the day to do anything other than eat pizza or drink wine. Doing what we love becomes less of a priority than paying bills on time and getting the dinner in. Hobbies become more of a hassle than anything.

But, the point is, they shouldn’t.

Over the last few weeks, as things have grown a little hectic, writing for pleasure has taken a bit of a backseat. I, like many of us, have fallen guilty of neglecting to do what I love. I have felt so exhausted after work or at the weekend that I have ignored that this space even exists and it has made me more miserable than I ever could have imagined. It has left me feeling deflated, uninspired and a little lazy.

But all this is about to change.

I’m not promising that I’ll be burning through keyboards faster than you can say J K Rowling but I am making a conscious decision to write more and post more and I think even pulling this together when I can barely keep my eyes open is a good start.

I’ve learnt that when that piece of paper that I kept on my desk used to whisper at the end of a long day that making time for art is important, it meant so much more than I ever could have realised at the time.

Perhaps this is a little nudge that you might have needed tonight?

Here’s to all of us being creative after hours.