My alternative career highlights

A statue of a Viking warrior.

I was looking at my LinkedIn profile the other day. I can be a bit rock and roll like that at times, I know. While I was on there, it struck me that my achievements looked a bit ‘meh’ on the page. That is to say that, although I’m very proud of them, they don’t tell the full story.

So I’ve decided to celebrate my alternative career highlights. Sure, if I ever retire, I’ll look back fondly at the awards I’ve won and successful projects I’ve been a part of. But these will be right up there too.

Lauding Vikings on Radio 4

Just last week, I appeared on BBC Radio 4. That’s not the achievement – I do a lot of radio these days and consider it an enjoyable part of my job. With the homework debate refusing to die down, I was discussing that. Enthusing about oldest’s current topic, I found myself saying “Vikings are awesome!”

A few days later, I found out that it was rebroadcasted on BBC World Service too. So people all around the globe have now heard that strange little soundbite. It’s not the most insightful thing I’ve said on air, but I’m proud nonetheless.

Being a cover model on a niche magazine

Years ago, I was the deputy editor on two woodwork magazines. It was my first job after earning my journalism qualification so I was definitely there for my aptitude with English rather than power tools.

The publisher had tight budgets so, if you worked there, there was a chance you may end up in front of the camera. And so it was that I appeared on issue 72 of The Router, holding said piece of workshop machinery and terrified of what it might do if I pressed the wrong button.


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Working for officially obscure publications

This previous addition to my alternative career highlights leads to another one. You see, The Router was once the guest publication on Have I Got News For You. I was delighted when I realised this – and even more so a couple of years later.

Why? Because I found myself working on a second magazine to have been featured on the same show! I don’t know if this is a record, but I’m fiercely proud of being officially obscure.

Taking part in a failed world record attempt

I had loads of fun working for Cats Protection’s communications team. There were a great many alternative career highlights including getting shouted at by Brian Blessed and making my line manager dress up as a cat and hide behind a tree.

But the most memorable one was taking part in an ultimately unsuccessful world record attempt. There were 211 of us in cat costumes. We were well short of the record but raised loads of awareness and funds. Plus it was utterly surreal!

Telling off an international football coach

One of the best events I’ve been to through blogging is the Copa Coca-Cola. As well as witnessing a frankly brilliant grass-roots football initiative, meeting some amazing kids who only had football as a common language and interviewing three World Cup winners, I got to play in a friendly match for organisers and media.

One guy kept throwing himself to the ground and rolling around every time an opponent was anywhere near him. I eventually got fed up, hauled him to his feet and told him off for setting a bad example to the kids watching. It turned out he was an international youth coach for one of the participating countries!

What are your alternative career highlights?

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