So, I noticed that it's now been over a week since I wrote my favourites post, so I thought it was time to write about something to keep this blog up and running, as I didn't want it to die a death pretty much just as it was taking off! Life has been pretty uninteresting as of late, so I had to wrack my brains a bit for something not only relevant but somewhat interesting. Now, I know the title doesn't sound quite as appealing as reviewing a beauty project or something along that line, BUT it is something I finally had to do despite MANY anxious thoughts that I thought I'd share, for younger readers who may want to know what the type of work experience I did was like, older readers to read and share their own experiences of work experience/work down below OR if it's late at night, and you are in a state of such boredom that you'd actually rather read my ramblings. As part of a lifestyle blog, I may as well share this. Fab, so I'll just get on with it now.
As I said, I had many anxious thoughts in my head. I'd pre-planned this work experience that I was going to do a few months in advance (After getting turned down by quite a few places, thanks guys!) and I was worried even back then, so it was even more daunting now the time had come. I guess it seems stupid to be worried since it was only EXPERIENCE that school wanted me to do, so it wasn't like I had a job at stake and the people would be showing ME the ropes anyway, not the other way round. Still, I'm definitely the type of person you could call a worrier, with all these irrational thoughts all the time!
Anyway, the place I was going to do my work experience at was at the head office of Home Retail Group, who run both Argos and Homebase, and knowing I was into media I thought experience in different media-related departments would be worthwhile.
The first day came around and the coolest part was definitely the pre-work experience stop off at McDonalds. Although a coke and a McFlurry was a really odd mixture (Still didn't stop me having it again the next day, though!). After this, I found out that I'd be spending the first half of the day with a lovely girl called Laura who was the marketing manager and was responsible for Argos' advertising, who I also later found out lived in the same area as me! Small world. The first challenge I was set with Laura was to go through tons of newspapers and cut out any relevant advertisements from rival companies. There were - I kid you not - about fifteen newspapers to go through. I like reading the news, but I think I was informed of Kate Middleton's new hairstyle about seven times! Still, it kept me busy and I was already getting to know just what it would be like to work in an office.
Throughout the hours I spent with Laura, I noticed she was absolutely bombarded with emails as part of the job, and I thought the amount I got (albeit, a lot straight to the spam filter) was a lot! Anyway, it was so interesting finding out just how they create everything. Laura was telling me for example, that for the adverts they do, they even have to hire out the same voiceover lady each time, who comes in especially for allocated studio slots. She was constantly also having to make changes on adverts that involved the brand, whether the logo was too stretched or if the company's remit didn't quite fit with the advert, for example, an advert which previously featured... let's say a lady who wasn't afraid to flaunt it all, had to undergo several changes before it was just right, and appropriate. The hours absolutely flew by and I was learning tons.
After a lunch break, I then spent the remainder of the day with an absolutely wonderful girl called Emily, a social media and marketing manager for the company. The first thing I got to do excitingly was sit in on a meeting between her and three others regarding the company's Facebook and how to successfully advertise. I thought I was social-media savvy until now, they were bringing up so many points about the site intertwining with the company that I never would've even thought of! Still, it was amazing to hear the mature discussion and debate going on, and the pure madness mid-way that amusingly stopped the mature conversation - when a guy dressed as santa walked in the building! I kid you not, and in July, too.
Anyway, after the meeting came to a close, Emily took me to the social media department and showed me just exactly what her role entailed. She helps to run the companies social media's by using innovative ideas to attract customers, as well as competitions. She was also showing me the vines they used too, and also the extremely cute 'my ideas for tweets' notebooks that they wrote their ideas in (Seriously google them, I want one so bad!). Not to mention that the twitter she was running for the company had at least 100 times more interactions than I would get. Daily. Not. Jealous. At. All. Haha! So as an avid twitter user in particular, it was so interesting to get an insight into how a company's social media sites are ran, and what kind of incentives are used. The last thing I had to do that day was listen in on a conference call, which was ever so professional and exciting! I listened to once again more adult discussion and debate and thought to myself "well okay then these people are EXTREMELY smart". Overall though it had been a super interesting day, and I couldn't wait for the next, either!
Even though I was excited, I was still of course anxious for the next day, because I'd be in a completely different department. Luckily though, I spent the day with another lovely person, this time going by the name of Caroline. She had the title of media relations manager. So cool PR stuff, and I was dead interested in this stuff. The first part saw me being pedantic, and got a chance to show off my inner grammar police. YES, those annoying people that annoyingly correct your spelling are doing it right because this job involved just that! I went through some press releases that the company were planning to hand out, after watching her type one out, and had to basically correct any errors or replace any words that were used more than once with alternatives so that it wasn't too samey. At first it felt a bit weird - I was a 16 year old sixth form student correcting this professional person's work, but I just went with it and actually liked it a lot! She was also showing me spreadsheets and how they were arranging to invite all sorts of people to a Christmas event - yes a lot of early planning to ensure things run smoothly! I also found out that pretty much EVERYONE in every department is bombarded with emails! That's working in an office for you, I guess.
I then spent some time with the lady who sat next to her, called Lexie. I already knew we would get on just from her snazzy desk alone - it was so retro and fab, with a picture of Audrey Hepburn catching my eye! Firstly I had a chat with her about her role, and what she had to do firstly was create layouts for the company's catalogues and make sure all the pictures were just right. After this, she also showed me the social media accounts she ran, such as the PR account for the company, and once again there was so much more that went into it than I would've thought. She showed me for instance what the trending topics would be, then having to create a selling point around that to attract buyers. She also used this site called Hootsuite, which let you write tweets but it also allowed you to pre-write them when you had an idea, only to then decide a time when you wanted them published, and they automatically would be when it got to this time, so cool!
Next, I sat in another meeting but this time with these girls, and mature discussion once flowed again. Caroline suggested that it'd be a good idea if I had a chat with a girl who'd joined that week on a post-graduate scheme called Molly. We went downstairs for a coffee and a chat, and she was telling me all about the last few years of her life. I found out that she had done a journalism and PR course at Uni, something that I was very interested in myself, and it was great to actually get to hear someone's own experience rather than just being told what to do without any actual anecdotes. This really made me determined for the future.
Lastly, when I went back upstairs, I spent another hour with Lexie, and after more professional work experience-y stuff, she showed me something a bit more personal - the fact that she ran her own fashion/beauty/lifestyle blog! I was so impressed with this because I was so interested in all the big bloggers such as Zoella and Tanya Burr, and had always secretly wanted to start one myself. Well, she happened to be the motivation for me to finally start this blog, so I have her to thank!
(^me & Lexie! Dodgy front phone camera FTW!)
So yes I had an absolutely brilliant time and it completely reiterated the fact that I definitely wanted to work in the media, but instead expanding my options from journalism to PR as well. Office work doesn't look as boring as they make out! At least I hope so anyway, haha. I REALLY hope you guys liked this, sorry that it was so long but it's night-time a.k.a the peak time of my rambling and there was so much to say that just could not be done concisely. This was very life-styley and I'll try to do more fashion/beauty stuff in the future as well too.
So yes, what has YOUR own experience of working or work experience been like?