Hello people who've never heard of me (hey Bill)!

I'm a graduate of the first ever undergraduate cohort at CfJ. This coming summer will be two years since I finished.

It's not a barrel of fish looking for jobs at the moment (lots of NEETs around), but I found a few round here (Wales, but not the bit with strong accents).

What quickly became apparent was that I had three years' work experience, doing things that you need to do in almost any job:

- get people to help you for free (like be on camera, or tell you their life story)

- call up strangers out of the blue and ask them questions

- be organised and meet deadlines

- work in teams, or pairs

- give orders

- take orders

- probably other stuff too but that's enough for now

- oh wait LEARN stuff about stuff and be curious

- get into the habit of listening to the Today Programme every day from six to nine (well, 8.30 - 8.34 and then as you run to conference after falling back asleep)

The point being, it soon became clear that I basically felt equipped to do pretty much anything, figure stuff out for myself, give things a try, and generally get stuck in, whatever the job was. This should not be underestimated.

So when I got a 'graduate' placement at a local management consultancy (not really knowing what management consultancy was), I just got on with whatever they asked, and wrote stuff for the website and then... basically carried on doing things as they saw I was picking things up.

After the twelve week placement finished I got offered a three month extension. One day the Marketing Director said that I was needed to help out with bids (basically job applications as a company to try and win work), and so I do that now.

Writing a bid is pretty much a job application mixed with an exam - answering all the questions (why you? how would you do what we need? in what way will you uphold our corporate objectives? etc.). Not rocket science, but having written a lot, writing i is a lot easier than before my CfJ studies.

At one point I edited a video for the site (in iMovie, sadly, no more Premire Pro for me).

Then one of the jobs they currently had two constultants on required some extra support work, and they asked if I'd help with the communications (degree clearly useful there). We (CMC Partnership) are helping Oxfordshire County Council improve purchasing practices and processes. Hard to explain briefly, but basically people who spend money on behalf of the council (like a social worker buying someone a bed, or someone issuing grants, or ordering office supplies) have certain processes that aim to be as efficient and transparent as possible, and we're helping adapt processes and get people buying better (very crude summary).

It's been fantastic - getting to sit in on the project meetings, meet senior staff and be part of a project that affects hundreds of people. It's fascinating. I've been drafting briefings, speeches, mass emails, that kind of thing. Nothing that doesn't get read by others before being published/sent/said - but important enough work to feel part of it.

Then in the new year I was made permanent.

So why am I telling you all this?

Two reasons, I guess.

First, when you're doing law (which is just hard, there's no way round that), or feeling that you should be practising shorthand but are braindead, it's easy to lose sight of the big picture. Which is (if standards haven't slipped in a way I can't imagine has happened):

You're becoming awesome

And second, cuz I know when I was coming up to graduation, I had no idea what I was going to do (slightly complicated by the fact that my daughter was born just before my final exams):

You don't need to figure it all out straight away

Either way - the world is (will be) your oyster!

(that seemed like a good place to end, but I should also say: the skills and experience you're acquiring will always be useful, and there will always be work that needs to be done that you'll be able to do - cuz you're awesome (or will be) )


Hi John, Great to hear that life is treating you well. And no, standards have certainly not slipped in a way you can't imagine. (Although as far as I know, no student has emulated your grilling of a current Prime Minister from 2009).

And I'd just like to point out that no money changed hands in the creation of John's generous - and entirely accurate - blog post.



Ian Reeves is head of the Centre for Journalism

Thank you very much for your kind and accurate words, John. Fear not: the degree remains as rigorous and valuable as ever. I hope you are enjoying the new job. Very good luck with it and best regards to your excellent family.  

Hi John, thanks for the advice! See you soon!

This degree is amazing