A long time ago (1987) in a galaxy far, far away (Bradford) I realised that what I really wanted to do with my life and career was to become a librarian. There is a certain comfort to be had in cataloguing and classification.
I actually had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but in the first year of my degree the Placements person at Trinity and All Saints sent me to work with Kathi Poskitt in the Members Library at City Hall, Bradford.
And that’s when I realised I had a knack for that sort of thing.
One of the things I slightly less of a knack for was “doing the cuttings”, or the media scan as the youngsters have it these days. In my case that meant reading the morning and previous night’s local newspapers and looking for stories on the Police and crime, fire, nuclear issues (it was the 1980s, after all) and a few other bits and pieces. Kathi would do the political scan. Then I’d take the papers to the photocopier, take copies of the stories we wanted and we would compile our respective cuttings using cutouts of what we’d photocopied.
One week, Kathi went on her second honeymoon.
Not being trusted with the political scanning (fair enough – I was a 20-year-old maths & media student), the Press Office was asked to do it.
On the first morning, no papers on my desk. No papers meant I couldn’t do my scan. After a couple of calls to the Press Office, they arrived in the afternoon… cut to ribbons. The Press Officers had cut out the bits they’d wanted and returned to the Library.
Nobody cuts bits out of things in my Library. Not then, not now, not ever.
So I complained. Politely, I thought, but I made my views on the matter known to the Press Office, and possibly to the person from a nearby team who had been volunteered to look after me.
For the rest of the week, I got the papers on my desk in the morning. The Press Office, I’m guessing, bought their own copies to hack to bits. Point was, I had all the content needed to keep the Library running while Kathi was away. That was my first and only real aim for the week, she was by now a friend as much as a boss, and I didn’t want to let her down. Even then I was looking at the bigger picture, not living day-to-day.
When she returned I think an eyebrow or two was raised, but she was no shrinking violet herself, which is probably why we got on.
Thirty five years later…
Hello! I’m a Press Officer!
I didn’t start out here as a Press Officer, the job changed around me. My day-to-day work has little depth to it, which I don’t like. It’s a job, but it’s really not who I am.
Think of it like an actor in a repertory theatre company. You have a week or two to learn your lines and rehearse for a new play, then move on to the next. In a soap, you get a bit of character development, backstory and a continuing role.
Guess which I’m better at? Guess where the jobs are…?