Posted by: rcmills27 | March 2, 2011

Head in the sand

If any of you have read my profile, you’ll see I said I want to go into publishing after university…..

I made this decision after realising I’m in the final year of my degree and I thought I’d better pull my head out of the sand and take a look around. Upon doing this I started to think about what I want from life, I decided money was a factor but most important to me is that I enjoy my job. I sat down with my Dad to chat things over, he’s always been good at helping me figure things out and he suggested publishing. Now that may seem like an odd career for a Zoology undergraduate but I always enjoyed my English A Level at college and it sounded like a great idea.

I started talking to more people about it, my tutor and my project supervisor. They both put me in contact with people they know who might be able to help and offer guidance about how to get into a publishing career. It really got the ball rolling. One of the contacts who worked at a scientific publishers sent my email asking for advice to the editors. After some correspondence the managing editor suggested I go to London to visit them for a day, meet people and discuss a summer internship…… All this just from a bit of talking and a few emails, it felt great and scary to be getting somewhere.

A month later I went down to London, dressed smartly and with very clean shoes (my mother always tells me she wouldn’t hire someone with shoes that weren’t polished, it really tells you something about a person). I got to observe some of the staff at work and they explained everything they do and how they got into their jobs. I even went out for lunch with most of the office! It is exhausting trying to be polite, intelligent, interesting and not spill spaghetti down your front at the same time. I was so tired by the end of the day but it was incredible to see what a day in the life of working at a scientific publishers is. Before I left I spoke to the managing editor and she said to email her in April and we’d arrange for me to come back for a summer internship. I was thrilled! Although I’d been terrified of pulling my head out of the sand, once I had and I’d made a few contacts, everything happened so quickly.

After taking it all in a few weeks later I decided that scientific publishing isn’t really for me. I’m really glad I went to London and got an insight into the career because it wasn’t really what I thought it would be. There was much less editing involved than I’d thought and I’d forgotten to consider one major factor…. I really don’t want to live in London.

I know it sounds like after all this effort nothing came out of it, but that’s not true. I went and tried something and decided it wasn’t for me. It got me thinking and understanding more what I want. A job that involves working with people and animals, and isn’t just me stuck at a desk. Now I’ve come back round to a career I discussed with the Careers Service in my second year – Environmental Consultancy with a focus on ecology. This involves carrying out threatened species surveys (bats, great crested newts etc.) at a site a client wants to build on and then writing a report recommending what they need to do. This seems to fit everything I want in a job so now I’m onto the next challenge of finding experience in this field…..

What I’m trying to say is that putting off thinking about careers by sticking your head in the sand will get you nowhere. Thinking about what you want and trying something might lead to something else and so on until you find what you really enjoy. So get out there, talk to people and try something!


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