A potential client asked to see my CV the other day. This threw me. Most of the work I do is freelance assignments that have come my way by word of mouth: perhaps an editor I have worked with will be approached to do a job he doesn’t have time for – or just doesn’t fancy – and passes it on to me. I can’t remember the last time anyone asked to see my credentials.
So it was a good excuse to look over what I’ve done and to update my records. I have two versions of my CV. One has on it everything that I have ever done, all the way back to the schools I attended. No one is ever going to want to know that, of course, but I might be glad it’s written down somewhere when my memory starts to go – or perhaps – ahem – I’ll become famous enough for someone to want to write my biography and they might be glad of the basics.
I’ve also got a shorter version that outlines all the publishing and word-related jobs I’ve done over the years. These days you need a relevant degree to get into publishing, but I sneaked in through the back door. I was secretary to an editor in a company producing part works. Did you ever collect recipe cards that were delivered by the postman in handy monthly instalments? Chances are they came from Odhams Leisure, and that’s where I first picked up a red pen. When my boss left, I took over her job and found that my nitpicking approach to spelling and punctuation, combined with an inherent desire to control everything around me, made me a born editor.
I’ve never looked back. I’ve worked on all manner of topics, from motor racing to crochet, from gardening to steam engines. If only I’d retained everything I’d read, I’d be a shoe-in on The Million Pound Drop! Sadly, although I’m fully immersed in the subject while I’m doing the job, as soon as it’s done I forget most of it.
I suppose it was inevitable that I should gravitate towards writing my own stuff. My CV records that I once wrote something for a magazine published by the Diocese of Peterborough. I can’t for the life of me remember what it was! I’ve also compiled crosswords, some cryptic or general knowledge, but others for marketing use or company magazines, including on the themes of Shakespeare, Lincolnshire - and yoghurt. Never let it be said that I’m not versatile!
It’s been good to take a walk down memory lane. When I left school I had no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to end up. Now here I am, broadcasting over the internet – which we didn’t even have when I set off on my work life journey. As Fatboy Slim put it, ‘You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby’.