“That’s why I think it’s important to take risks, ask for what you want and send that email – because unless you really put yourself forward, no one will know how you are really wonderful. “
Have you ever stalked someone on LinkedIn and wondered how the hell they managed to land this insanely awesome job? While the internet and social media might make us believe that our ideal job is just a pipe dream, the people in these jobs were, believe it or not, in the same position once, apparently fantasizing about the job. unreachable from someone else.
But behind the awesome headlines and fancy work events lies a hell of a lot of hard work. So what lessons have been learned and what skills have proven invaluable in moving them from daydreaming of success to leading their industry?
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welcome to How i got here, where we chat with killing women in their respective fields about how they landed their awesome jobs, exploring heights and pits, failures and victories, and most importantly the knowledge, advice and practical tips that they gleaned along the way.
This week we chatted with Lucy cousins, multi-faceted media slashie and digital content publisher from Australia New York Times style review, T Australia. From an English newspaper in Bolivia to the iconic glossies of Australia Cleo and Trolley magazine, Lucy’s career path has been diverse, unpredictable, and peppered with stories of successes, struggles and valuable learning.
When she’s not at Magazine T, Lucy is a mom, director of Remedy Content and editor of Urbansweat. Her incredible work ethic has taken her across the globe, moving seamlessly through an ever-changing media landscape. Despite the moments of happy accidents, she reminds us that success lies just outside our comfort zones. Lucy’s story is a story of self-confidence, knowing your worth and always taking the plunge.
What are you doing and what is your official job title?
Lucy E Cousins, Digital Content Editor, The New York Times T Magazine Australia.
I manage and edit The New York Times T Magazine Australia website as a digital content publisher. I am also director of Content of the remedy, a niche lifestyle content agency and publisher of a wellness site, Urbansweat.
Take us back to your beginnings. Have you studied to enter your chosen field, or did you start with an entry level internship / role and move up through the ranks? Tell us the story.
Well, that’s kind of a long story. So buckle up! I studied archeology and Spanish, and it taught me the skills of critical thinking, research and opinion formation. However, my first job was as a travel agent. It was temporary but I needed the money and loved to travel. Oddly enough, this is what would help me get my start in the media industry.
This is because, when I was in my twenties, I moved to Bolivia (yes, Bolivia… at random) and worked on an English newspaper for six months. Then I traveled to South America and when I was in the middle of the Amazon I emailed the editor of my favorite magazine – Condé Nast Traveler in London – apply for a job. I did not expect a response, but received one almost immediately.
They needed a writing assistant who could help book trips for their writers and my travel agent story was perfect! Oh, I loved this job. I have had the chance to meet celebrities, write a few short articles in each issue, and most importantly, learn how a successful business magazine works.
I worked in London for two years before returning to South America with a colleague of mine whom I had met in Bolivia. We decided to start an English newspaper in Buenos Aires – just like you do at 26! It was a lot of work, a lot of fun and in a few months our first edition hit the streets. We were able to sell our ad spaces and print 10,000 copies with the help of local friends, our designer and three great interns.
Over the next year, we covered protests, social changes, new hotels, artists, and anything else we found of interest. I then sold my other half to become the director of a nonprofit there, running events in English and Spanish, supporting local businesses, and publishing their global magazine for members.
Long story short, I returned to Australia after three years of living and breathing Argentine culture (and writing a stack of Footprints travel guides path), I found myself unemployed in Sydney. I spent a week emailing 300 publications asking for work – I got one. Yes really. A.
It happened to be Vogue Live, which needed a sub-editor for a few weeks. This work led to a position as a feature editor on Australian Aboriginal Art magazine, then deputy editor-in-chief of Upside down, then interim editor-in-chief of Fitness for women, before becoming the last editor of Cleo and Trolley magazines. Phew! Are you still bored?
When these two magazines closed I started Content of the remedy, writing for everyone from international publications to start-ups. I have also been fortunate enough to be the wellness editor of Marie Claire and Acting Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Women’s health Meanwhile.
Last year I started helping Katarina Kroslakova (editor of T Australia) with its media kit and marketing content. I had to get out of it, because in December, she offered me the role of Digital Editor. Sure, I said “sure” very casually, but inside I was jumping up and down like my two year old daughter at a Wiggles concert.
What challenges / obstacles have you encountered to get to where you are now? Can you tell us about one in particular?
To some extent, the publishing industry operates on a “who you know” basis and when I came back from South America I didn’t know anyone. That’s why I think it’s important to take risks, ask for what you want and send that email – because unless you really put yourself forward, no one will know how well you are. are really great.
What do you want people to know about your industry / role?
Ha! Well, aside from the fact that I love what I do, I think it’s important to point out that it’s not just events and trips… there is quite a bit of time glued to my computer and to my phone. I have square eyes and a hunchback. Not really, but I could very well end up with them!
What’s the best part of your role?
I love that every article on the site is so different. I can write or edit an article about an artist, a new wine, a travel trend, a watch, a new chef… it’s never boring. In addition, I am really proud to work for a 160 year old institution like The New York Times. It’s a moment that pinches me, that’s for sure.
What would surprise people about your role?
I think it’s important to point out that the media industry is very pro-women in many ways just because women are a big part of it. If you are a writer, creative, stylist, or designer and working hard to establish yourself, you can continue working to some extent if you have children. I have a daughter and I can adapt my work around her daycare and naps. Of course, I could also email my boss at 11 p.m. at night, but she is emailing me back at the same time that she has two children of her own. Not everyone experiences it the same way, but I have worked with wonderful, supportive and understanding women. I am really grateful for this.
What skills have served you well in your industry?
Consistency is the key – for any truly creative. You will get work if people can be confident that it will be done on time, in the shortest time, and in the shortest possible time. Also, think of yourself as a business – how can you be more efficient with your time and resources? Finally, be flexible and don’t take yourself too seriously.
What advice would you give to someone who one day wants to take on a role like yours?
Try your luck when you can. Stretch out and stay out of the safe zone. By that I mean don’t stay in a job that you are too comfortable in if there is another job offered that will test your skills. Feeling overwhelmed is temporary and it’s these types of big leaps that mean your career will progress faster.
And a practical tip?
My best practical advice is not to wait for your employer to train you. Improve your skills where you can. Sign up for a grammar class (seriously, MAKE ONE), attend short classes, attend conferences, join forums… learn to love learning. It’s a skill you will always need and never go unnoticed.
Read the rest of the How I Got Here series here.
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