The end of the Routledge era: my time in academic publishing

I started writing a little post to summarise my time working in academic publishing at Taylor & Francis in advance of my last day on Tuesday 24th March as I wasn’t planning to give much of a ‘speech’ at my customary cake gathering on said last day. However, I ended up feeling like I should say something on my actual last day, as everyone has just been so unbelievably good to me at T&F, so I have decided that this spontaneous speech is probably a better, and more concise summary of 2.5 fantastic years at the very start of my career. I know that the main focus of this blog was going to be English Language Teaching and Berlin, but what feels like  large chapter in my life has just closed, so I thought it would be a nice idea to commemorate it here.

So, please find below my thank you speech I quivered my way through in front of all the wonderful people who I worked with in my 2.5 years working at Routledge / Taylor and Francis. I was an Editorial Assistant on the English Language and Linguistics list for 18 months, working with an absolutely fantastic boss, and then I moved down one floor and stayed within Taylor and Francis’ Books business to be a Digital Product Manager within the Digital Publishing and Development team. Both were fantastic jobs; I worked in brilliant teams and sat on hilarious ‘pods’ (groups of four or six desks together) and I’ll really, really miss the Routledge bubble. So much so, in fact, that during my return journey from Kuala Lumpur yesterday (my 12-day trip to Malaysia to visit a friend being the reason for the delay in this post being published), I wandered off to the shops in Dubai airport ‘to buy some sweets for people in the office’ and then realised, with great sadness, that I technically no longer have colleagues!

But anyway, I have edited this speech a little bit since my blog audience is slightly different to the exclusively Routledge people who came to say goodbye to me. I was overwhelmed by how many people came, and feel very humbled that so many people seemed to want to wish me well – all the lovely messages in my leaving card have now made me cry twice!

Here goes:

Thank you to Andrea, for having faith in the fact that I wasn’t a complete weirdo when I met her at the London Languages Show in October 2011, as a final year student armed with CVs, and for having offered me work experience to be completed almost ten months later once I’d graduated from Durham and finished working at the Olympics. I’m amazed she could even remember who I was!

Thanks to whoever signed the Hodder Education acquisition deal back in the summer of 2012, as it enabled me to stay on for a fifth and then sixth week as a temp, typing in ISBNs onto a hard drive, during which time a job with Nadia [my first boss] came up which I was lucky enough to get. She’s not here today, but she taught me a hell of a lot about publishing, and also to stop saying sorry for everything, both of which I am very grateful for.

And, when I didn’t fully learn that lesson about apologising, David [my Director in my second role] picked up the mantle and tried to drum it into me – I think I’m gtting there, but I am sorry to be reading this off the paper 😉 My cold made me too nervous to ad-lib it!

I am also grateful to Ewan for being a great [second] manager, and to the rest of the team for being generally hilarious, but also for making me feel like I really need to read some more fiction books. Thanks also to Jen and Laird in our opposite Product Management team in Journals, for always being happy and willing to share information with me, as I tried to understand the vast universe of digital publishing. Jen will do a brilliant job as my successor, I’m sure 🙂

To conclude, I thought I’d just sum up ten things I’ve learnt about academic publishing, T&F and life in general in my 2.5 years here – I promise it’s quite short:

1) Not liking animals in an office full of people obsessed with cat videos and llama memes is not OK.

2) You can make almost anything out of cashews or almonds – or at least, Team Vegan on my former pod can, and it’s always delicious!

3) There is a wider variety of tea kept in drawers at T&F than Tesco could ever hope to stock.

4) I like languages, but sometimes, keeping up with all the acronyms from IT and the wider digital publising world is like learning a whole new one. Give me German grammar any day 😉

5) Some authors work in a parallel universe of slowness, and apparently are much better off than the stereotype would have us believe: I had a reviewer contact me last week, almost a year since I left my job as an Editorial Assistant, and ask if he could claim his £240 he was owed from over a year ago!

6)  A little bit of cake goes a long, long way.

7) I have worked in the Digital Publishing and Development team for almost a year, but yet I still haven’t learnt how to operate any of the clever video conferencing equipment, nor how to fix my answer machine! So sorry if you ever tried to call me and I didn’t pick up…!

8) Journals-ordered lunch food is way better than the grub you get in Books!

9) A growing percentage of our sales come from digital, and yet so many Routledge employees can be found indulging in an old paperback, not a Kindle, over lunchtime.

10) You know you work in a pretty great company when you’re given free ice cream in summer, free fruit once a week and you’re allowed to order Christmas parcels to the post room grotto!

Thank you to everyone for all your help in my time here, and let me know if you’re ever in Berlin for work or play! Now please eat cake and I’ll continue to try not to cry…!

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About BerLingo

My name is Rachel, I am 25 and I love Germany. I studied German, Spanish and Italian at Durham University for four years, one of which I spent living in Europe, and then worked at Routledge academic publishing house for almost 3 years. Towards the end of 2014, I decided it was time to finally fulfil a long-held ambition to live in Berlin, and so in April 2015 I completed the CELTA qualification (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults, adminstered by Cambridge University) here in the German capital. Now qualified, my blog berlingo18.wordpress.com charts my experiences as a new English teacher in my favourite city... (More information about my plans can be found in my first ever blog post.)
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2 Responses to The end of the Routledge era: my time in academic publishing

  1. Sandy Millin says:

    It sounds like it was a wonderful place to work Rachel, and thanks for sharing this glimpse into it as you leave. I hope your teaching experience lives up to it, and I’m sure it will because of the amount of passion you clearly have for it, even pre-CELTA.
    Didn’t realise you worked at the Olympics too 🙂 I was a Games Maker at the weightlifting and powerlifting in ExCeL. What did you do?
    Sandy

    Liked by 1 person

    • BerLingo says:

      It was indeed a pretty great place to start my career; I feel very lucky 🙂
      I’m currently doing frantic last-minute CELTA prep and packing to move to Berlin (as well as unpacking from a holiday to Malaysia…!) and I’m so very excited for this new chapter! Thanks for all your help so far – that CELTA page you did is absolutely incredible!
      As for the Olympics, I’m slightly ashamed to say that there was a problem with the submission of my application to be a GamesMaker, but I ended up working for an American sports hospitality company based in a very fancy hotel in Marylebone looking after tonnes of crazy Latin American guests. It was fantastic fun; I met the IOC representatives for almost all of Central and South American countries and spoke Spanish solidly (and slept basically never!) for 4 weeks. It was a pretty magical summer, wasn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

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