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A day in the life of James Gribben, head of press and PR at IPSE

28th October 2015


James Gribben, head of press and PR at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) admits that he is one of those “awful people who gets up on the first ring of the alarm bell”, but apart from that he seems very nice and he is certainly very busy...

My day

6.45am: I'm one of those awful people who gets up on the first ring of the alarm bell. I stick on the Today Programme and it hums in the background as I get myself ready for work.

8.00am: I set off just before 8am. Even though it's pretty ugly weather outside, I jump on my bicycle safe in the knowledge there's a shower waiting for me at the office.

8.45am: My first half hour in the office is usually spent going through emails and running through my to-do list (never short). Today is no different. I sit down with my team and we review the papers to see where our coverage has landed and see if there were any missed opportunities to get IPSE's policy messaging in the press. I make sure everyone is clear about what they are doing throughout the day.

We are preparing two major press launches at the moment. The first to go out (early next week) is the results of research we've conducted on the EU referendum. We asked our members whether they want to stay or leave. To support the release, I task Mark, one of my press officers, to track down case studies who can represent either side of the case so when we pitch to journalists, we are able to deliver a package of a potential interviewee, fresh research and some real life self-employed people who can bring the story to life.

10.00am: I have a background in economics and I'm drafted in to a really interesting roundtable organised by the policy team. They've brought together experts from government departments, the Office of National Statistics, think tanks and business organisations. There's been a massive surge in the number of people who work for themselves over the past few years making the sector of great interest to government, academics (and the press!). I try and go to as many of these kind of meetings as I can. It's really important to know what the latest developments in research are and the meeting raised a few great story angles for my team to pursue.

1.30pm: After lunch I catch up with my team and make sure everyone is on track with their work. I review the press release for our other significant launch next week. Every quarter we ask around a thousand freelancers how confident they are in the economy and their business. The latest findings are really interesting and I commission some infographics to accompany the release for sharing across social media. With stories like this one, I always make sure everything is prepared well in advance to give my team everything they need to sell the story to national press and broadcast.

2.30pm: Next year IPSE will host a high-level conference which will bring together policy makers to discuss the issues facing the self-employed. As of this week, we are six months out and it's beginning to feel very real. I'm leading on much of the organisation and we race through where the project is standing at the moment and what needs to be done in the next couple of weeks to keep us on track.

3.30pm: Tea break. Much needed. Ten minutes well spent.

3.40pm: I'm very fortunate to be one of the judges on IPSE's Freelancer of the Year Awards. The judging day is tomorrow and I spend the rest of the afternoon reading the applications of the 15 finalists. I'm genuinely floored by the quality of the submissions and it makes me feel great about the sector I work to represent and I can't wait to meet them all in person. I know that my fellow judges and I will have an incredibly difficult time choosing the winner, who will be announced on National Freelancers Day on 12 November.

6.00pm: I cycle home, happy in the knowledge that my housemates are already there and a glass of wine is waiting for me.



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