Today’s guest is Murray Foote. From trainee journalist to editor of one of the biggest newspapers in Scotland, Murray has experienced an epic rise. He is currently the ‘communications guy’ for the Scottish National Party. Murray’s modesty shines throughout this feature as he describes his professional life, ‘most things have fallen into my lap.’ However, it is clear Murray’s growth mindset and resilience has armed him with the ability to land and excel in remarkable jobs throughout his career.
Murray tells us, “every new job puts you on a learning curve. Being editor of a national newspaper prepares you for many things but there is always new stuff to get your head around. My current job has been no different. However, it has given me a chance to re-invent myself and that is a great opportunity. Also, I genuinely believe in what I’m doing and if you are fortunate enough to have job satisfaction it is a commodity to cherish.”
This feature is packed with a tonne of gems which you will definitely be able to take value from. My favourite part is Murray’s reference to an old maxim; one which we could all do with a bit more of in our lives.
Recovering newspaper editor (Daily Record) and now a comms guy for SNP MSPs at the Scottish Parliament.
Left school half-way through sixth year to start work on my local newspaper.
Trainee journalist on the Evening Telegraph, Dundee.
Audi but I’m now planning on trading in for something electric. Save the world and all that.
Too many to count but the one which made me laugh the most recently was ‘The Amateurs’, by Scots author John Niven. If you’re a Scot who has swung a golf club at any point, it’s a must read.
I’m avoiding all the usual suspects (geddit) to plug an old Scottish classic ‘That Sinking Feeling’. It’s the film made by legendary Scots director Bill Forsyth before he shot the wonderful ‘Gregory’s Girl’. It’s an oldie but a goodie.
Like everyone I enjoy a whole range but must admit I just don’t get rap. And as I’ve got older, my music tastes have aged too. Now that I’m an old fart, I like music for old farts so I’m a sucker for a bit of Sinatra.
The world has changed since I started the new gig in February. I worked at Holyrood for a month but have been at home since March so that means no commute from Glasgow to Edinburgh. The alarm usually bursts into life with Radio Scotland at 7.45am or earlier if I’m walking the dog. Next is a trawl through newspapers and/or news websites, check emails and messages etc to see what’s happening and then it’s into the guts of the day. Depending on developing political events it can get pretty busy, particularly with the ever-changing responses to the Covid crisis. I try to switch off at about 6pm but the job means the phone can go or emails need a reply at any time of the evening. I’ve never had a 9 to 5 job so I’m used to it and it goes with the territory. Bed is usually before midnight.
We got a cockapoo puppy a year ago and he has been a brilliant distraction during the pandemic. He gets you out the door when you might be tempted to sprawl on the sofa. I’m also a big Dundee United fan and I pretend I can golf. I read fiction (love a bit of Scottish noir) and I’m a reasonable amateur cook. Other than that, I might be forced to enjoy a Guinness down the pub or a glass of red with dinner at Massimo (local restaurant).
What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced and how did you overcome it?
A wise man once told me it’s better to be lucky than good and I think I have been incredibly fortunate in my professional life. Most things seem to have fallen into my lap. That’s not to say some of the jobs I agreed to take on did not present enough challenges that made me question my decision. But armed with a modest level of ability, a strong work ethic and willingness to learn, I always seemed to find my feet. Also, I always stuck to the old maxim of not mistreating anyone on your way up so they don’t seek revenge when you are on your way back down.
Mindset habit or tip
Impostor syndrome is natural and almost universal. Very few people walk into a new arena – be it a new job or a social event – imbued with bags of confidence. Of course, you can’t let self-doubt become crippling but try to channel these doubts positively. Believe in yourself and those controlled doubts will keep you on your toes and your instincts keen.
Nutrition habit or tip
I’m a walking bad habit as far as diet is concerned so the only possible tip is to do the exact opposite of what I do. It’s probably not as bad as I ‘m suggesting but cooking food with tons of butter and double cream are my downfall.
Training habit or tip
I used to play a fair bit of sport, football mostly, until I ruptured my achilles. Mrs Foote decided that I was retiring so that was that. Now it’s walks with the dog and chasing wayward tee shots into the rough.
Who inspires you and why?
At the risk of appearing sycophantic, some of the people I work alongside have proven genuinely inspiring. Of course, I think most of Scotland has been impressed with Nicola Sturgeon’s handling of this Coronavirus crisis but Government genuinely is a team effort and her fellow ministers, MSPs and so many unelected staff have also risen to the challenge in incredibly difficult circumstances.
What one thing would you tell a reader who was looking for an actionable step they could take to improve their lifestyle?
Whatever personal journey you wish to embark on, you must always take a first step so don’t let that natural self-doubt prevent you. What’s the worst that can happen? And remember, failure is just part of the learning process.