Charlie Raymond is a London born and raised author, now in his 30s, reflecting back on his lively post-university years of work and career-chasing in his debut novel Hired, Fired, Fled.
Discussing what he sees as the challenges to today’s graduates, getting to know the author a little better, his experiences, and his thoughts on university, job searching, his book, and life in general, here’s what he has to say.
Firstly, how does it feel to have finished your debut publication and be launching it?
CR: It feels like the end of a long journey and the beginning of an even longer one. The writing began almost 6 years ago, but really picked up pace in the last 2 years. Now it’s edited and in print, it’s a proud moment and feels fantastic, but it’s also daunting; I know the battle has now begun. I’ll need to work hard every day to get this book into people’s hands across the world.
You said in your book you didn’t particularly enjoy university, questioning its lack of preparing people for life after graduation. If any, apart from your degree, what positives did you take away from your time at university?
CR: Not much, beyond the ability to use a degree to find work, which is clearly a huge bonus, and one that can’t be ignored. Yes, I had good times and met good people, but
I didn’t feel challenged, or as though I was being prepared for the real world. It was sort of like kindergarten: easy, care-free education you should do, but don’t have to do, with similar levels of dribbling, and munching on fish fingers.
A lot of people take a gap year after uni. You took your’s before – how would you compare the different timings?
CR: I’d say it’s best taken before uni, if you can, but it doesn’t matter much either way. If you can go, go, be it before uni or after. Travel is the greatest way to understand your place on Earth, to open your eyes to other ways of life. All I would say is, don’t just travel the east coast of Australia, or somewhere safe and easy. Challenge yourself. Immerse yourself in something alien. And switch off your phone!
Describing pursuing a career in print journalism in 2008 like ‘becoming a candlestick-maker after the invention of electricity’, what advice would you offer to students looking to enter into the industry today?
CR: Enter with your eyes open is all. It can be a great career, filled with variety, but it’s tough, and the pay is usually terrible. In any career, you need to think very carefully about not just the good days, but also the bad, the average, and the mundane…a lot of industries are being disrupted, so you never know what a career will look like in the future. Do your research, and have a think about how that industry might look in 5/10/20 years from today.
Aside from ‘purpose’ and ‘happiness’, what else do you feel is important in crafting a career?
CR: Variety. I like a balance between office time, and time spent outside, on the move, meeting people, at events, at conferences etc. The most important thing, though, is who you’ll be working with. Be sure to be surrounded with good, driven, friendly people, and you’ll be a step closer to being happy, whatever the industry. Negative energy, angry people, and lazy idiots ruin a workplace.
What are your hopes following the launch for Hired, Fired, Fled, in terms of reach and appeal?
CR: I think this book is, as I say on my website, the book I would have read at a much younger age, as I wouldn’t have wanted to be preached at…I would’ve wanted to read a book that’s accessible, raw, and (hopefully) humorous. And I’m not alone – I think it has appeal across the world.
Millions of students, graduates, and career confused people should be able to enjoy my story, taking from it what they will, be it a direct lesson, or a thought-provoking idea. Therefore Hired, Fired, Fled should – fingers crossed – have worldwide potential. At least that’s the goal. Let’s see how it pans out over the next year or so.
Hired, Fired Fled Review
WITH graduation season looming fast, and as anxious waits for exam results are gradually rescinded – or perhaps not – thousands of undergraduates across the country on the cusp of postgraduate-hood will have the same question on their consciences: “what’s the next step after university?”
For some, this will be a daunting position to be in, with generous student loans coming to an end, the false sense of security and insulation that being an undergrad largely offers, as well as the four years or so to consider your next move that have inevitably elapsed. On the horizon, the “real world” is beckoning. These experiences and more have all been part of the eclectic, fervent career pursuits of author Charles Raymond.
Documented in his debut publication Hired, Fired, Fled – released earlier this month – Raymond charts in humorous, lively and detailed anecdotal style his life from adolescence into manhood, and the trials and tribulations of life after university. Graduating in 2000 from the University of the West of England in English studies, in the following 15 years Raymond went onto ply himself in 14 different jobs.
Having thrown himself into sub-Saharan Africa at the age of 18, he ostensibly claimed to be a tourist and subsequently landed a job as a safari guide in Zimbabwe. After university he would go on to work across an eye-opening range of positions, including a catering assistant on a film set; a ski resort pick-up driver; a production assistant (not once, but three times); a waste disposal man; and – of course – a Caribbean booze cruise manager, to name a few.
What is clearly striking about Raymond’s book is his diverse working background, carried out across several countries and continents, from Zimbabwe to Vancouver, and the sub-zero heights of the French Alps to the sun torched metropolis of Dubai, and everything in between.
Yet as much as his work reflects the knowledge that travel can offer, Raymond poses a structured, personal philosophical approach in his writing; inherent in the reflective paragraph style and his perpetual vision and goal of not just successfully landing a career, but finding the satisfaction to go along with it.
Opting for what he dubs the ‘oyster theory’, that being the idea that “the world is your oyster”, Raymond jettisons himself across the globe. Gaining invaluable career building wisdom along the way, from the people he meets, highs and lows felt, and the disconcerting oscillations in job stability, that – without giving too much away – culminates in the daunting prospect summed up in two words many couldn’t bear to hear: career change.
With tongue-in-cheek humour, gripping angst, and weighted notational advice balanced alongside the narrative of Raymond’s dynamic background, Hired, Fired, Fled offers an upfront and relatable compilation of life post-study, and the jarring and jubilance that comes with the turbulent pursuit of career-building – serving as a highly recommendable read to anyone graduating, or people entering into their penultimate years of study.
Hired, Fired, Fled is available in paperback from Amazon.co.uk for £8.99, or on Kindle for £2.99