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ARMLife Interview with Tom Johnston

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I’m from a small town called Hatfield, in Hertfordshire. I moved away for the first time to study politics and history at the University of Hull and absolutely loved it. Like many people, I had no idea what I wanted to do when the undergrad degree finished so I stayed to do an MA in history, which I finished in September 2019. I graduated in January 2020 – A friend knitted me a tie!

In that time, I’ve had small jobs in a bookshop, in a restaurant, as wedding staff and in a museum.

How did you come across All Response Media?
I randomly met two directors of the company while meeting some friends in a pub in London. It was a busy place so they asked if they could share our table. We were impressed by their tailed-suits and top hats (really) so we said yes. We started chatting, and they recommended I get in touch about an interview. The company seemed really interesting, so I got in touch the next day.

What was your experience of our grad day?
The grad day was only a week after I got in touch with the directors, who had immediately put me in touch with Jen from recruiting. She was beyond helpful in making sure I was prepared for the day, so when I got there, I was able to make the most of it.

It was a good day! The company sold itself to me even more as an exciting field with also a refreshing approach.

Having just finished university I was looking for a job at the time, and like many people found it very difficult. All Response Media stood out as being the best company to talk to, which is always a good sign.

What made you choose to go to the Amsterdam office?
Jen, still being super helpful, got in touch very quickly after the grad day to let me know I had secured a second interview, which I said I would be delighted to accept. I was then told the London office wouldn’t be hiring, but the Amsterdam office was, I didn’t have to give it much thought. I’d wanted to move to Europe at some point to work, so why not do it as the first step in my career?

What has been your experience starting at All Response Media during the COVID-19 pandemic?
As you can imagine it’s been pretty strange. 3 weeks after I started, the office building (not our office) had a fire, so I haven’t been at my desk since late February. The team here have had to work from so many different places since then, so I think we are pretty adaptable at this point!

Working from home is, also, quite strange. Luckily everyone is super helpful and positive in trying to make it work.

What’s a typical day like for you so far as an International Media Executive?
I think one of the interesting parts of this job is that there isn’t a typical day, there’s usually something different to be doing or something new to learn. Most days will involve data entry and analysis on RAPS, but always using it differently or looking at the data through a slightly new lens. 

What would be your advice to people starting a new role during this time?
During this particular time with the virus, I would say that person has a very strange set of circumstances ahead of them. There’s a lot to learn but the emphasis is on learning so you aren’t expected to know everything immediately. Take your time to learn the job but also make sure you take the time to look after yourself, as it is a challenging time.

What would be your advice for someone starting in the media industry?
It’s an interesting career so good choice! To someone starting just starting, I would say, be creative in your analysis, and think about how wider events impact how people behave/consume media (especially at the moment!)

What are you most looking forward to doing in Amsterdam once the lockdown has been lifted?
Lockdown should hopefully end during the late spring/summer, and the sun is starting to come out here now. It doesn’t sound like much but I am just going to appreciate being outside in nice weather, in a beautiful city. 

There are other things, like seeing the friends I have made here, the football league I play in starting again and seeing the rest of the Netherlands, but really, I think I will just appreciate being able to go outside!

Do you have any hidden talents not many people know about you?
I’m not sure how or why but I am really good at flags/capitals, so that’s my pub quiz speciality!