David-Anthony Gordon says his one-month exchange at Monash was “the most transformative experience of [his] life”.
After realising he didn’t want to be a journalist upon graduating, David-Anthony recognised the versatility of his journalism skill set and changed career direction. He now works in scientific publishing in Switzerland.
Here is his profile…
Name: David-Anthony Gordon
Course: Exchange Arts International Students
Dept: School of Media, Film and Journalism
Year graduated: 2012
Current position: Production Specialist at Frontiers Media SA
What was it like breaking into the industry? Was it more ‘who you know’ than ‘what you know’?
For me it was definitely ‘what you know’. After graduating, I had to make a lot of decisions quickly. There was a deep recession in the UK and there weren’t many journalism jobs available. I quickly pivoted towards marketing and PR and managed to get a few internships in that area, but nothing permanent. Eventually, after almost two years, I decided to make a drastic change and applied for jobs outside of the UK and in different fields. I received an offer for the first job I applied to in Switzerland and moved a couple of weeks later to start my new career in scientific publishing. From application to moving, it was about 4 weeks. It all happened very quickly, which I think helped as I didn’t have time to talk myself out of it. Three years later, I’m still in Switzerland and enjoying it.
What is a ‘day in the life’ of your current role?
I get into the office around 7.45, spend the first 10 minutes triaging my emails, and the next 20 responding to urgent ones. Around 8.30, I have an idea of how much work my team and I can do, but before I finalise it I check to see if they have any other projects. Once I have this information, I let them know what our target is for the day. The rest of the day is spent trying to reach those targets. I’ll either be working on checking proofs or publishing articles. If I have any meetings, they are usually between 10am and 2pm. Around 4pm, I start winding down and let others know I’m going home soon. Despite my attempts to leave on time, I usually end up leaving around 5.15pm instead of 4.45pm.
What was a key lesson you learnt at Monash that translated into your workplace?
I would say that the key lesson I learned was to trust in my skills and persevere because the world owes you nothing. Graduating in the midst of a huge recession in Europe, I realised very quickly that even if you did everything correctly – went to university, got good grades, had great work experience – none of that guarantees success. You need to work hard, persevere, especially after rejections, and seize every breakthrough that occurs.
If you could go back and do your degree again, is there anything you’d change? Subject choice? Time management? Internships?
I wouldn’t change anything. After three years living and working in Switzerland, I realise that I am where I am due to my experiences. If I did change something in my past, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and I really like where I am. I learned a lot of valuable lessons and had many crucial experiences that I wouldn’t change.
What skill (or skills) would you recommend aspiring journos acquire before getting into the industry?
Versatility. I always wanted to be a journalist when I was younger and didn’t have a backup plan. When I realised after graduating that I didn’t want to be a journalist, nor was I going to get to be a professional one any time soon, I was a little lost. Pivoting into scientific publishing allowed me to use many of the skills I had learned, such as InDesign and sub-editing, and apply them in a different way.
When you were a child, what was your dream job?
To be a broadcast journalist.
What is your dream job now?
I no longer have a dream. I like my current job but, most importantly, I like having new experiences. The biggest motivation for me is the chance to learn and grow professionally.
Who do you look up to most in the industry?
I prefer to follow trends and ideas rather than people. I think that focusing on people is too narrow and one-sided, and that trends, which are more collaborative by nature, excite me more. Currently, I work for an open-access publisher, so we do think a lot about the democratisation of science and how to get research and ideas to the community in an open and engaging way.
Have you kept in touch with any of your fellow alumni?
Every now and then I do have some contact with former classmates but living in another country and continent makes it hard. I will really treasure my one semester at Monash because it was, arguably, the most transformative experience of my life, mainly in a personal way. I learned so much about myself and the experience was key in my future decisions.
Do you follow any sports teams?
Yes, many sports: Manchester United, San Francisco 49ers and LA Lakers are my main teams.
What’s your coffee order?
I keep it simple and prefer a simple espresso. When in California, and I need to stay awake, I recommend a mint mojito from Philz coffee. This stuff tastes great, kicks in fast and lasts long.
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