@ Work with Jo Mackenzie, Whiteoaks’ newest addition to the writing team

Admin

  1. What’s your career background, in brief?

My career has been somewhat varied. After spending fifteen years within the IT industry — eleven of these as a partner business manager at Hewlett Packard — I decided to retrain as a science teacher. I spent ten years or so teaching at local secondary schools before joining Whiteoaks last year as a content writer. I haven’t worked for a B2B tech PR agency before, but my IT and science background are proving very useful in understanding our clients.

  1. What’s the most challenging job you’ve ever had?

Teaching without a doubt! Imagine teaching six back to back lessons — 180 students in total — where you need to instruct, motivate and manage them. All this while remembering every name and ensuring that they all understand what they are doing and are staying safe with the various chemicals and Bunsen burners in the lab.

  1. What apps, technology items and gadgets can’t you live without?

I’m fairly old school and if I’m totally honest, I probably wouldn’t miss any of them too much — I even possess a hard copy A-Z! Having said that, it’s a different story with the rest of my family. Holiday planning involves much researching to ensure that the Wi-Fi connection is available and fast enough to meet my teenager’s demands for data.

  1. What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

Probably the best piece of advice is to try and enjoy your job – if you wake up every morning dreading it, then it’s probably time to look for something else. Life is too short to be miserable for the forty hours minimum we spend working each week. I would also like to add my own bit advice to this — keep learning, expanding your skills and don’t be afraid to change direction if your interests and priorities change.

  1. Name one thing about your job that gives you a sense of satisfaction or makes you leave the office smiling…

When tasked with writing a 1,500 article for a client it can seem like a hill to climb at the beginning, but after some thorough research, quiet thinking and productive writing I get a great sense of achievement when it’s completed.  The icing on the cake is positive feedback from a client to say how much they liked it!

  1. Do you personalise your workspace?

I don’t – I like to spread out while I’m working so my desk tends to be pretty messy while I’m working on a piece of writing.  I think anything else would just add to the clutter!

  1. What’s the first thing you do in the office in the morning?

I’m a big tea drinker and need a couple of cups of tea in the morning to get going so this tends to be the first thing that I sort out after firing up my laptop.

  1. What are you reading, watching or listening to at the moment?

I tend to alternate between reading new fiction and something which I think I ought to read. I’ve just finished Normal People by Sally Rooney, which is an interesting love story and a great read.  I started The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck a couple of days ago, but I haven’t got into it yet — I’m hoping to be enlightened and entertained by the story and the characters.

I’m also following each episode of Les Misérables on the BBC. I can’t confess to reading the book but it’s a great TV production.