Dear Tim Dowling… I want your job

Dear Tim Dowling,

I want your job.

It all started when I was 16; we had been asked to produce a piece of English coursework. The task involved writing in the style of someone else, and my teacher cited you as an example of the authors we might consider.

I liked what I read, but in my dire resolve to reject authority – a failing attempt to shake off the label of ‘geek’ – I vowed that I would find my own brilliant writer to imitate.

By D-Day, I hadn’t tried very hard to find my own brilliant writer, but had been avidly reading your column. I informed Ms H that I intended to master the nuances of Tim Dowling. She gave me a smug smile (or so I imagined).

I probably didn’t do you justice. But I think I found the spirit of your voice: the part that lets you have fun and write about whatever you want, so long as it is done in a mildly entertaining way. I certainly enjoyed myself.

9 years later, I no longer want to be your carbon copy. But in all honesty – and this is likely to harm me in any future interviews – the only job I still really want is yours.

Don’t panic. I’m aware that it’s unlikely you’re going to quit / retire / die anytime soon. Indeed, that you survived 2016 makes you surely invincible. But in the interests of New Year (the timing of which was entirely coincidental) and doing something about my lifelong dream, I shall not allow such details to deter me.

One thing going for me is that I’m not remotely interesting, and can therefore relate to almost everyone – even the Guardian readership. Another is that, despite my age, I do have some life experience.

I’ve lived in 3 (nearly 4) different countries, worked as a customer service advisor at the abomination that is Vodafone, and I’ve also recently been ill.

Being ill to the point where you’re not completely incapacitated, but unwell enough to justify reduced hours of employment, all of which are worked from home, gives you plenty of time on your hands. The kind of time that leads to wrapping (read: attempting to wrap) Christmas presents in a Pinterest-worthy manner, watching Gilmore Girls in increasingly obsessive quantities (something we have in common?), and sorting out legions of receipts that have been kept ‘just in case’.

Anyway, after deciding that it was probably not absolutely necessary to keep proof of purchase for a pencil case, bought in 2005, from a shop that no longer exists, the next task on my list was to write this letter. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I think there’s space for both of us. I’m not sure how it would work – maybe you and someone in the editing team could have a chat? – but I’m certain that it could. Or if you fancy leaving the job to me in your will, that’s fine too; 2017 could always turn on us yet.


Katie Scott