What does journalism teach you to do in Civvy Street?

When an editor I worked with suddenly lost his job several years ago, he wasn’t out of work for long.

In fact, he was pleasantly surprised at how in demand his skills turned out to be.

It was nearly a decade ago, but I remember his words clearly.

“Producing a daily newspaper is doing complicated project-managing every day.”

We don’t always realise it at the time, and I’ve often said “I’m not qualified to do anything else.”

But editors and other senior journalists can discover there are plenty of other roles for which they are unexpectedly well suited.

Former colleagues of mine are now working in senior roles at lobbying groups, running their own businesses, spearheading business partnerships and heading charities.

And then there are all the folk who end up in PR, communications consultancy or lecturing. Or politics.

Running a news organisation means you are – or should be – a heady cocktail of leader, motivator, project director, writer, lobbyist, creative thinker, salesperson, trainer, and mediator.

And you’re used to doing all of this to a very tight deadline.

It’s not a role for everyone, and it comes with intense pressures.

But it’s not surprising that some former editors miss the unique pace of life and office camaraderie of journalism when they enter civvy street.

Others will find a better work-life balance to be more than compensation, however.

To me, the message is clear.

We have hugely gifted, hard-working, clear-thinking and creative people in our midst.

Our industry needs to ensure that they are developed and supported so that their talent stays in our businesses for as long as possible.

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