Our Senior Digital Campaign Manager, Jamie Oglesby, tells us about his journey to finding a job at Raconteur as the pandemic unfolded.
After five tumultuous and enjoyable years at a political magazine, the dawn of 2020 was the right time to head off to pastures new. I’d had a good final year and provided ten months’ notice to ensure an easy transition; frankly I felt like I’d earned a bit of a break. As I touched down in Tenerife in early February, I was sure the thousands of pensioners making their way about their days at 0.5 miles per hour could sense the optimism within me, and their polite smiles were met with an overconfident grin. An elderly Spanish waiter called Paolo made the mistake of asking me what I was going to do next with my career, his eyes glazing over as I rambled through potential plans over an omelette. Sipping Spanish beer and staring across the Atlantic, my self- contentedness laid the ground quite perfectly for my imminent downfall.
For across the seas the first stone had been cast, and the ripples were starting to spread. Covid-19 was shifting from existential threat to ‘this is not a drill’. And with that, the job market began to shut down. Desperation increased as Spring began, as each recruitment process stalled at the final hurdle before the job was withdrawn ‘until the market was more predictable’. What had felt like the exciting start of a golden era swiftly became a nightmare. I had no job, there was no work, and I’d left just before the furlough scheme began.
In total, I was out of work for eight months. I had left my former job willing to take some time to find the right next step. The stress of watching that dream slip away, knowing that every passing day wore away the luxury of choice, was hard to process. It led to me creating the UK’s least profitable clothing brand, writing a book that will never be published (the people have been through enough) and spending most of my waking hours on Tooting Common, trying to decide if this made me look more like a philosopher or a homeless person.
However, all this time I had retained a little hope for one particular job I’d seen briefly open in February. I had spoken with a recruiter about Raconteur and had come away thinking that this sounded almost too good to be true. I prided myself at being a half decent salesperson, but always knew it wasn’t enough to hold my attention alone. So, being someone who read The Times every day already (partially because of its journalistic integrity and partially because I had nothing else to do), the idea of combining these existing skills with something that genuinely influenced the decisions of many of the biggest companies in the UK seemed like a borderline fantasy role.
Suffice to say, after eight months of roaming the park, I got the job. The confidence of the Canary Island’s version of Jamie had to be rebuilt after a bruising half year, but I’m glad I had already been humbled somewhat, as despite every perk of working at Raconteur, the thing I am most appreciative of is the opportunity to develop. I learned more in my first three weeks than I had in the last year of my previous job, and that trajectory continues to this day. There is genuine talent at this company, and it is a privilege to stare at their achievements, routinely thinking ‘how the bloody hell have they done that’.
For the foreseeable future, I’m quite happy to swap Spanish beer and existential crises for a pint in Aldgate and a job I genuinely enjoy. Although I do need to tell Paolo how it’s all gone.