Thursday, February 12, 2009...12:26 pm

My worst career mistake. Ever.

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Painful though it is to admit it (and I’m only just allowing myself to), I did possibly the most stupid thing I have ever done in what passes for a career last summer. After, that is, not doing a law degree and becoming a corporate lawyer on a six-figure salary. Obviously.

For only last August I was offered the job of lecturer in online journalism at UCA in Farnham. Yes – a real lecturing job , the kind that would-be academics fight over like piranha. And the college is two minutes’ walk from my house. And you get weeks and weeks off over the summer… I can’t go on, it’s too painful.

There were, of course, reasons for not taking it. Like it was only three days a week and not quite enough money, and I was stressed at moving house to Farnham while living in Bristol and trying to do animation. And the prospect of teaching journalism just wasn’t as exciting back as making puppet films at the time. Of course, when I moved back to Farnham and then started to commute the 1.5 hours to London to work on newsletters about hedge funds – that’s when it seemed suddenly exciting. Oh yes.

But the bottom line was I was a bit scared – it was too new and different. And I’ve been freelance for 15 years, so the idea of a full-time job, with a medical exam no less, was strangely unnerving. Of course, after three hours of sessional teaching there in the autumn, it wasn’t scary at all. I realised I really should have taken the leap.

Back before Christmas it looked like the worst mistake ever, especially when all the freelance writing gigs I had suddenly evaporated. Luckily the past few weeks have seen a whole lot of new and quite interesting work appear, including some freelance lecturing at Southampton Solent, so I’m getting over it.

The moral of the story? Take more risks. Which is what I’ll be doing when I go to teach first-years in Southampton all about web audio and video…

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