What’s a ‘Proper Job’, anyway?

By Carl Branding, Business, Opinion 1 Comment on What’s a ‘Proper Job’, anyway?

What's a proper job, anyway?

I remember years ago when I was a fresh faced 13 year old, about to decide which ‘O’ Levels to take at a school. Yep, I’m that old. I visited the ‘options’ evening at my high school with the idea in the back of my mind that I would like to be a ‘graphic designer’ or ‘commercial artist’. Although I didn’t really know what either of those jobs were, apart from them being related to Art and Design Technology – the only two subjects that I had any interest in. Of course, I tried my best at all my lessons (just in case my daughters read this!).

My parents accompanied me, we sat with various teachers – all of whom tried to convince me that an apprenticeship at one of the large local engineering firms, or power companies would be the best fit for me. Yes, they were being serious…

I nearly had a ‘hissy fit’ there and then. Especially when the school’s careers officer almost laughed at me and said that there were no prospects in art or design – and that I should go for a ‘real’ career or ‘proper’ job. In those days, I was a little timid so didn’t dare say what I really thought.

Luckily my parents – themselves with no experience of people going to polytechnic (as it was called in those days) – said straight away that they would support me in whatever I wanted to do. What a relief. That set me on the road to choosing the options that would serve me best in going to ‘art college’ and realising my dreams.

I set upon researching graphic design, commercial art, commercial printing. I even got a holiday job in a local screen printing factory. That was a rarity. My usual holiday jobs were ‘proper jobs’. In factories.

So, with the support of my parents – and student grants – I did a one year foundation course a NEWI in Wrexham, then went off to do a four year BA (Hons) in Graphic Design at Lancashire Polytechnic. And I haven’t had a ‘proper job’ since I graduated in 1992.

Having spent thirteen years in London at various design agencies in a ‘non-proper career’, paying ‘proper job’ taxes and working LONG ‘proper job’ hours, I then set up our design agency Carl Jones Design, with my partner, Clare. And we’ve both continued to not have ‘proper jobs’, which we thoroughly enjoy.

I wonder if all of the clients that we’ve worked with and helped over the years know that we don’t have ‘proper jobs’?

Of course, I’m being a little facetious in writing this. I do have a proper job.

But I get a little cross when I hear some of what is said by our politicians, so called leaders. Media commentators. So called ‘experts’. Don’t they realise that dreams are fragile? In this current climate people all need hope, not despair.

So, go on. Follow your dreams.

You never know, it may well turn into a ‘proper job’. Whatever that is.

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One comment
  • Zoe Marsh
    Posted on 16th October 2020 at 12:17

    Well said Carl!

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