Having spent most of my career in regional newspapers, one of the biggest changes I’ve had to get used to since joining Maxim is the difference in my deadlines.
They still exist – and some of them are just as tight as on a newspaper – but I can no longer predict that at 11am on a Monday I’ll be working on a creative, time-consuming job or that 4pm Friday will see me rushing like crazy to plough through all the last-minute breaking news. Instead, unless I’m involved in a particular project, it’s impossible to predict how each day will pass.
From the media enquiry that must be answered before the end of the day (but preferably in the next five minutes) to the exhibition that’s carefully planned over a period of weeks or months, the deadlines are much more varied. They’re also influenced by many more external factors.
Looking back over the year, I know I wasn’t the only one to comment that things seemed a little quiet in March and April, an observation that was often confirmed by others when the inevitable question of ‘how’s work?’ came up in conversation. Comparable to the quieter periods in a newspaper office, work was by no means dead, but people were much less willing to make decisions or start new projects.
Then May arrived and on Friday, the 8th, the phones went crazy. A deadline of a different sort had passed as the country voted in the General Election. All of a sudden people had a clearer idea of the state of the nation and decisions that had long been put off could be made. This ranged from general business dealings to public affairs, local government purchasing to international relations – it was as though everyone had collectively stopped holding their breaths and raced back into action.
The level of work and pace of action was like a month of newspaper deadlines had all arrived at once.
In contrast, a few months later we’ve just finished the summer holidays. Traditionally a quiet time as clients escape for a few weeks’ relaxation, this period saw a return to the gentle end of the newspaper deadline spectrum, with forward-planning and more long-term developments taking up a big part of my time.
Autumn is next in the calendar, with children back in school and new projects gathering pace. It’s a build-up that continues until another deadline appears, when Christmas and New Year give a brief pause for breath.
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