i work for ... Jefferson Hack

Suzannah Tartan is PA to the editor of the style magazine `Dazed and Confused'

I have an academic appointment as an English lecturer at a university in Tokyo but during my long holidays I like to experience other work fields. A friend of mine knew people at Dazed and Confused in London and knowing that I liked and admired the magazine suggested that I contacted Jefferson with a view to working for him as his PA for several months during one of my breaks.

During a short trip to London I visited Jefferson at the office. It was a strange interview. He gave me the only available chair before plopping himself down on to the ground, I thought "this won't do" and got down on the floor too. Jefferson asked me what my father did for a living and I answered "he's a mailman." Jefferson replied that his dad had been a cigarette salesperson and a gold prospector in Uruguay. I guess we both thought "you are all right with me".

My first impression of Jefferson was that he looked like a boy. People rarely believe that he's the editor; they tend to come into the office and walk right past him. He's a very mild-mannered person and also one of the nicest people I've ever worked with. There's no sense of his being too cool for his own trousers, just an awareness of his enormous curiosity. He's very interested in plugging into globalisation and was intrigued by the fact that I am American and live in Japan - I very much feel transitional. I think Dazed reflects this growing global community, defined by its take on life rather than its nationality.

I arrived at a very tense time because the magazine was just about to go to print. The office was electrified with an energy that was difficult to pin down and there wasn't much time to integrate a new person. But I realised that there's an ebb and flow to the way the magazine works. Being one of the few independently owned publications, Dazed has a very non-hierarchical setup, which allows an openness and a quirky questioning.

I wasn't very happy for the first week because most of my time was taken up with stuffing envelopes. It's hard to be assertive when you are new to a job, but it certainly paid off because when I told Jefferson that I could be doing more useful things for him he give me articles to write as well as research projects. We are preparing a commemorative issue on 1968, a period which fascinates me and I do a lot of my research on the Net. Anyone who wants to work in publishing these days has to be Net-literate.

By the time I arrive in the office Jefferson is usually off doing stuff, having left a to-do list on his desk. He jokes that I hijack his list; but I can usually tell the things that I can do for him from the things only he is able to do. I often offer to get him lunch because I worry about him getting too exhausted, he can get a pasty-faced look about him, which is when I want to pop broccoli into his mouth.

I admire the women who work here, particularly one very feisty woman. British men are cast to the wind in the presence of a strong woman, you can often see them wriggle. Feminism has penetrated a lot less easily here than in the States.

Many people would find it hard to work in an apparently unstructured environment; one needs to be strong-willed. It can get quite ferocious at times. But Jefferson is quite unflappable, he sits Buddha-like in the midst of it all before meandering around the different personalities, getting them to unite. Once when my computer didn't work I got halfway towards hysteria until Jefferson came over and said: "Suzannah, this is not an emergency."

It is a playful office though, for example Plankin, our publisher, will suddenly appear with his water pistol and start spraying everyone in the office. You can always recognise the visiting rock band members by their funny haircuts and weird-coloured shoes, but no one here is celebrity- struck. The only forewarning we had of Tori Amos's visit was when someone came and removed her picture from the wall before she walked through the office.

I find a lot of women's magazines problematic because they tend to be too prescriptive. I like the fact that Jefferson is motivated by a curiosity in new and radical ideas and wants to know what kids think and do. But the office is certainly not a "cooler than thou", clubby outfit.

I feel like I am learning a lot while I am here because it's a very intellectually engaging place to work. I get to write about things other magazines won't deal with and I was amused when I heard that Miuccia Prada complimented me on an itty bitty fashion piece I wrote.

I think that Dazed is the sort of office that allows someone like me to do her thing, make her mark and then leave having learned and contributed something valuable. I'm certainly going to keep in touch after I leave.

Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
musicReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Arts and Entertainment
‘Dawn of Planet of the Apes’ also looks set for success in the Chinese market

film
News
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight

tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

    Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
    Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

    The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

    Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
    Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

    Meet Japan's AKB48

    Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
    In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

    Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

    The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor