Writer case study: Jon Garrad
A job and an education
One of our longest standing writers, we thought we should at least give Jon a chance to tell his side of the story. Turns out it’s a good one.
I started writing as a ten-year-old Terry Pratchett junkie and never really stopped. It’s what I’m best at, and you succeed by finding the one thing you’re best at and doing it better and harder than anyone else. John Wetteland says it. Joyce Tenneson says it. Hunter S. Thompson said it, and so did his wife.
I studied Creative and Professional Writing at university; co-founded a three-hand startup publishing house right around the time print media started dying; fell into academia for a bit and spent years as a teacher and private tutor, moonlighting as a hired essayist and independent researcher. I’ve moved around the UK, chasing and networking to limited avail, and then a girl I’d gone out with in the sixth form recommended I ask Future Content for a job. It’s not what you know but who you’ve known…
Anyway, I gave Stuart a shout, he liked what I do, and two years later I’m still here. Something seems to have worked out.
What’s so hot about Future Content?
The projects. They are many. They are varied. They always, without fail, involve learning something new. You may have been writing about sewage treatment yesterday, but you’ll be writing about Brexit and small businesses today and augmented reality tomorrow.
The process. The pieces are short, and – as business tools – they have a lot of work to do. That means the waffle and hedging one develops in academic writing have to go. Writing to be edited has forced me to pay attention to my own process – to craft my own sentences instead of rattling off old favourites and unthought clichés. Being trusted to edit other people’s work has made me more aware of my own process and style. This gig’s an education.
The dialogue. Tom and Stuart want to talk to you. They want to know how you’re getting on with projects, they want to know how you feel about working with this client or that, and they want you to know when there’s a project coming up that might suit your interests.
The humanity. Future Content is a business run by people. That sounds really stupid, but I’ve worked for businesses run by procedures, and they’re no fun. Future Content will give you a brief and a deadline and let you get on with it. There’s no breathing down your neck every five minutes. There’s no automated 10% pay penalty for submitting twelve seconds after the deadline. There’s absolutely no faux-conciliatory pod-person “we’d like you to take a more constructive attitude” (by which we mean “shut up and do it”) nonsense if you happen to disagree over an edit.
What’s not so hot about Future Content?
Having to make up problems so Stuart feels like he’s achieving something with those one-to-one meetings he’s so keen on. Seriously, man, give it up already. We sorted everything months ago.
Tom’s weird intros to the weekly Future Content newsletter. Seriously, if you’re not signed up… do it. Seeing is believing.
I don’t want to go. There will doubtless come a time when I have to stop working for Future Content, and that thought saddens me. At least I’ll leave with a body of work under my belt – work I can actually admit to having done, which is a new one for me – and a plethora of fascinating facts about augmented reality, workplace training and the Inverness rental market. You can’t buy that kind of knowledge… but if you work for Future Content, you can get paid for it.
I’ve even just about forgiven them for getting me into Pokémon Go.
“There will doubtless come a time when I have to stop working for Future Content, and that thought saddens me. At least I’ll leave with a body of work under my belt – work I can actually admit to having done, which is a new one for me – and a plethora of fascinating facts about augmented reality, workplace training and the Inverness rental market.
“You can’t buy that kind of knowledge… but if you work for Future Content, you can get paid for it.”