As the National Careers Week approaches, we have asked members of the CASCAID team about their experiences and career journey as well as any recommendations and advice they can provide. Today, it’s the turn of the Publisher, Lynette Daly
Tell us about your current role
I am currently the publisher at CASCAID. This means that I lead the creative process for the production of Moving On magazine and the associated website and social media accounts.
My role spans editorial, design, production, and distribution as well as sales and finance; it’s therefore very diverse and requires the combined use of a variety of skills. Although the role of the publisher is traditionally more about overseeing the work done by teams, we’re a very small operation and so multi-tasking is a given. A large part of my job is researching and writing for the printed magazine and for online. This means trawling through data sets, analysing and cross-referencing reports and finding and interviewing people.
On any given day I can be switching between writing and optimising content for online, dealing with advertising clients, managing social media accounts, editing images, planning the magazine, commissioning young writers, speaking with the printer or distribution company or meeting to discuss budgets – you name it.
What was your journey from education to your current job like?
I was a challenge at school shall we say. I like to think that I kept my teachers on their toes, but the truth is that I probably drove them to distraction. Learning just didn’t seem very important to me as a young person. Perhaps not having a firm idea of what kind of career I wanted made it that way. I went through the motions, did the usual, which for then was ‘O’ Levels and then escaped to the world of work.
At the time, computing was still in the stage of the DOS prompt and I studied for a Diploma in Computing whilst working – I had some very interesting jobs following school which included working as a lighting technician in the theatre and putting up cattle lines and pig pens to name just two. Anyway, the novelty wore off; I submitted to the general trend and earned myself a degree in humanities with philosophy.
I worked for a few years in the retail and wholesale drinks industry where I became professionally qualified in wines and spirits and an accredited wine tutor. This is where I discovered that after all those years of being incredibly naughty at school, I actually really enjoyed teaching, and so off I went again, this time to night classes where I gained my teaching qualifications and I went to teach full time in a general college of FE.
I didn’t waste my education in the wine industry however and neither did my love of learning diminish. I continued to provide wine tasting sessions for staff at the end of the year right up until I left FE and I also studied part time for an MA in Applied Professional Ethics – graduating from the University of Leeds in November 2015 with distinction.
Throughout my career in FE I took on a variety of curriculum management roles in addition to teaching A-level Philosophy and it was through this that I met Sharon, who at the time was working as a part time media lecturer. After 14 years in teaching I abandoned my post and joined Sharon in the media world as the publisher of Moving On, a careers and qualifications magazine for 14 – 19 year olds which is now part of the CASCAID portfolio of careers guidance products.
What advice would you give to a young person who was interested in your career?
My advice? Learn to love deadlines because you’ll begin to measure the passage of time according to them. Also, develop as many skills as you can – learn about print, get to grips with search engine optimization and online content management but also develop software specific skills like InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop – even if you’re not an expert, it helps when you understand the working processes of those around you.
And finally, what career did you want to do when you were younger?
When I was younger I wanted to do everything – if I watched a musical on a Sunday afternoon, I wanted to be a dancer; if I saw a tank at an event I wanted to join the military. I suppose the common theme was that I didn’t want to be restricted to one thing. I remember my mum referring to someone as a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ and that worried me for a long time – what if I mastered nothing and was therefore a failure? Of course I grew up and learned what a polymath was. More importantly, I learned that having both the inclination and the ability to master a range of skills and to develop expertise in a variety of disciplines is not only personally incredibly fulfilling, it’s also valuable to employers.
I see no reason to stop redefining myself as an employee simply because I am over forty. In this respect I probably haven’t changed much since childhood, although I have given up on the idea of becoming a ballet dancer. I’m lucky in that I have a job which allows me to dip in and out of activities, to make use of the variety of skills that I’ve developed over the years and also to gain new ones.