Don't Get a Job... Make a Job by Gem Barton
If you are a creative - or, in fact, just a human - you will no doubt have at some pointed experience that sinking feeling of having no idea where you are going in life. It could be that you can’t find a job, are in the wrong job or that the perfect job for you simply doesn't exist yet; whichever it is, Don’t Get a Job… Make a Job has you covered. Aimed at creative graduates, the book offers invaluable advice on how to survive in today’s wild and increasingly-competitive job market.
Don’t Get a Job.. Make a Job is lot’s of things (beautifully designed, intelligently written and cleverly structured) but one thing it certainly is not is a how-to guide. Gem Barton - the expert author behind the book - isn't claiming to have the magic formula for success and so the book doesn’t give all the answers but instead poses questions, gathers and displays opinions from a varied pool of creatives and let’s you make up your mind. What’s the best way to promote your work? Should you specialise in one area or experiment with a variety of skills? And should you team up with a fellow creative or go it alone? This new title doesn’t have (or claim to have) all the answers but it does have all the material you could possibly need to draw your own conclusions.
There are so many words of wisdom within the book’s pages, my favourite of which come from writer Alec Dudson:
“Doing a job well is only one part of working in the creative industries; there are lots more people than ever who also have the skills to do the job. Your personality is your biggest weapon and no matter what way you dress it up (or down), as a creative, your personality becomes your brand”
These wise words come after a reflection on the slightly more naive opinions about self-promotion that Alec carried in the earlier years of his career. As someone who doesn't feel particularly comfortable with the idea of self-promotion, I was particularly pleased to see I wasn't the only one who struggles with this side of things and that it hasn't held Alec back from achieving success in his career. The original thought also showcases the idea at the core of the book - it’s not about following formulas any mores but about carving your own career path by using what’s most unique to you.
Alec is also a fitting contributor to the book as the discussion which the book hosts reminds me of that which takes place within the pages of the Intern Magazine, the publication which Alec created in 2013. Just as his magazine does, Don’t Get a Job… Make a Job displays a broad spectrum of opinion but with a similar vein of positivity running throughout. The contributors may differ on how best to do it, but they all agree that it is more than possible to build your dream career from scratch, even in today’s competitive market. Having experienced a fair amount of negativity towards today’s job market whilst in education, this positive core theme felt particularly uplifting and I would strongly recommend that any creative put this right to the top of their post-graduation reading list. The possibilities of getting a creative job in today’s market are becoming slimmer and slimmer whilst those of making your own become truly infinite. Modern graduates have the skilset, forward-thinking and ambition to build their dream job, all they need is an encouraging nudge in the right direction and Don’t Get a Job… Make a Job is just that!