THE JOB CENTRE – EMMA GANNON

Photo Credit: What Olivia Did

Age: 26

Occupation: Digital Journalist and Social Media Editor for Glamour Magazine

Which means: I make the decisions on how we manage our different online channels and the ongoing content strategy that sits behind them. I work with the wider editorial team, working closely with my online editor and the print team to ensure the brand stays strong across all social media channels. I’m also a freelance journalist for a whole host of different magazines and I am writing a book.

Did you go to uni? I went to Southampton and studied English Literature and Film studies. Mark Kermode did a few guest lectures, which was cool. I graduated in 2010.

What have you been doing for money since then? Lots of things. Copywriting, editing, book-writing, social media consulting, branding, doing talks, workshops, events, commercial projects and freelance writing. Fingers in pies, basically.

Have you always wanted to work somewhere like Glamour or did you have anything else in mind? Yep, I always wanted to work at a magazine. Even as a toddler I’d waddle straight over to the magazine section in supermarkets. I’ve always been obsessed with mags, books and online editorials. As a strong-minded woman who loves culture, fashion, tackling women’s issues and reading interesting features it was always one of my ideal places to work.

Do you have to have a degree to do your job? (Be honest!) Or is work experience more important? I can only speak to my own experience on this one. If I’m 100% honest, I don’t think my degree was useful in the sense that I’m in debt and I don’t remember anything I actually learned in my essays or seminars. In the three years post-uni I achieved things beyond my wildest dreams just by rolling up my sleeves and DOING IT. University was very hypothetical and I didn’t really enjoy the experience. I wish I could have dived on into the industry at a younger age, but then I don’t know if I would have even got my first job without a degree on my CV. So, it’s a catch 22 because back then it was all about the “grad scheme”. Now, I think there are lots of other “apprentice schemes” which means no degree needed. For me personally, yes, I did probably need my degree to get where I am today, but I can’t help but think it could have been shorter; three years was a long time to bum around and do a small amount of learning.

I love your blog. Why did you set it up and how much of a part did it have to play in landing your current role? I started my blog in 2010. I don’t think it played a huge part in me landing my current role as I’d had 5 years of social media and writing experience on my CV, separate from my blog, but it’s definitely a nice added bonus when someone notices you have one and that you keep it up! I totally recommend blogging for your own personal pleasure.

Whats a typical day at the office for you? No day is ever the same! One day it could be that we’re out in the afternoon at a hotel location interviewing a celebrity or that they are taking over our Twitter, or we’re in a planning meeting, or I’m out meeting commercial clients, or spending a day at my desk doing presentations or lots of emailing, scheduling interviews, writing a feature up or hosting a brainstorm. Lots of different things. I normally go out for lunch with a PR, or grab something with a colleague.

Is working at Glamour glamorous? Ha ha ha. I’ve been asked this before. I guess it is! It’s Britain’s number one magazine based in Mayfair, how can it not be? But everyone’s really down to earth and cool. It’s NOT Devil Wears Prada.

Whats the dress code and what do you suggest wearing to an interview at a magazine? Be yourself but look smart and feel good. There’s no real dress code. Lots of people dress up, some dress down, some dress in the middle. I can’t do “casual” in the office because I like getting “in the zone” on my way to work, but as Winter approaches I will definitely be getting the woolly jumpers out! I think smart-casual is a good middle ground, so you don’t feel too dressed up but you feel CHIC.

Whats the best thing youve been asked to do in your job so far? Interviewing Lena Dunham.

The worst?  When I was asked to go and buy my boss some underwear.

I hate when people ask what you think youll be doing in ten years from now- I dont even know what Im having for dinner tonight! So I’ll ask you where you see yourself in two to three years time instead. What are your achievable goals? I think I’ll still be writing and working at a magazine, hopefully working on book number two!

As a creative, are you nervous that the industry is changing? I personally find it really exciting. As a blogger and working in “traditional media”, I think I’m quite good at noticing trends in both areas. I think new formats and platforms are growing so it’s up to the people behind a brand to move with the times, change platforms and understand people’s behaviour. Basically, you need to reflect on where you’re at every few months and see if you need to “upgrade” your site or change direction. Same with blogging. I find it worrying when people think YouTube is just a phase. I find people who say “that’s not how we normally do it” or refuse to change process or take risks quite frustrating, because the Internet changes so quickly that it’s important to keep up with new trends. You have to watch your competitors extremely closely.

And finally, what one piece of practical career advice would you give to your younger self? 

Say yes to everything. Then learn to say no to stuff. Be confident with what your worth.

*

Emma is one of my favourite bloggers and an all time lovely lady. Super talented and always friendly, she is sort of my inspiration in that she is publishing a book next year. So, basically, she’s living the dream. Or at least my dream. I guess now I know one way of going about doing it too.

If you have any questions for Emma, say hello!

*photo credit goes to Olivia Purvis of What Olivia Did*

HOW LUNCH DICTATED MY CAREER – A GUEST POST

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I don’t know about you, but Big Important Life Decisions completely paralyse my brain’s ability to function.

Offer me a double chocolate muffin or an apple and obviously, I’m not mad, I’ll opt for the muffin. I’ll probably take two, one for the road.

Ask me which I’d prefer to watch out of Legally Blonde and Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde and yes – I’m only human  – I might pause for a second. But then I’ll see sense and plump for the original. Way more bend and snap.

But ask me what I want to DO with my life and I’ll be pretty stumped. And that’s because the opportunities are endless…which is both exhilarating and terrifying.

Feeling me so far?

When you’re REALLY young the hardest decisions are the likes of:

“Do I eat my chips before my stupid peas or do I leave my chips ’til last and risk getting full?”

[to be fair that’s a question that’s still highly relevant well into my adult years]

Or even the delicate and highly political:

“Who’s going to be my best friend at school today? Sophie…so she’ll invite me to her bouncy castle birthday party? Or Olivia…because then she’ll let me plait her hair at break?”

Even as you grow up through your teens the options are laid out for you:

French or German.

History or Geography.

Backstreet Boys or Boyzone.

Gap year or straight to uni.

It’s not ’til uni is ending that you are suddenly hit with the enormity of your career choices. Yes, it’s slightly different if you studied medicine – your path is fairly set, Dr McSmug. But for many of us, leaving uni meant – for perhaps the first time – we didn’t have anyone offering us A or B on a little plate. It was A-Z and maybe some cheeky hieroglyphics thrown in too. Just to add to the chaos.

When I was a little nipper the only jobs I knew about were the ones I’d seen in picture books: nurse, train driver, teacher and farmer. I literally thought the world was operated by those four jobs alone.

Then dawns the realisation that not only are there countless more industries than you ever envisaged…but within those industries are a complicated hierarchy of positions.

I remember feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed – aged 21 – as my life lay before me and I found myself, much to my disappointment and surprise, not married to Prince William (plan A) or Prince Harry (plan B).

It seemed as though I was going to have to choose a career. I just didn’t have the foggiest clue what that career was going to be.

In the end, my first job out of uni was working in the advertising industry.

Want to know why? The truth?!

It’s because I made the mistake of going to a careers fair completely knackered and hungry.

And it was alphabetically laid out, clockwise. I only managed as far as ‘A’.

I’m happy that one of my KPIs isn’t chaperoning zoo animals. Although I did end up being an accidental sex pest at my advertising job.

*NOW A SLIGHT TANGENT*

On the subject of zoos…I’m not sure how long I would have lasted as a zookeeper. I’m on the crazy end of the squeamish scale. The first time I went to visit my sister in Zimbabwe we went to a crocodile park and I’m DEATHLY afraid of crocs.

I asked – nervously – how many of the beasts they had. The tour guide responded with gusto:

“There are thirty…

Cripes. But I think I can cope with 30. Just.

“-thousand crocodiles in this park.”

Kill me now.

His next line keeps me awake at night to this date, although I think it was intended to soothe us:

“Don’t worry, they rarely escape.”

RARELY ISN’T NEVER.

Cue me, bursting into tears.

*TANGENT OVER*

When it comes to those Big Important Life Decisions, it comforts me slightly that I have permission from the one-and-only Moulin Rouge creator himself, Baz Luhrmann, to not know what I want to do with my life. I mean the man has won 23 film awards (I counted on Wikipedia) so he must know a thing or two about ambition.

From Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)’:

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life

The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives

Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t

I’m 31. I still have 9 years to meet Baz Luhrmann and still be considered ‘interestingly adrift’. I can live with that.

Written by the author of Disasters of A Thirty Something.

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A hilarious blogger (and now Agony Aunt to me) who documents all of the stories from her life that you or I would probably rather forget, all for our entertainment.

Visit her site or follow her on Twitter here.