Tuesday, 19 October 2010

October 15th: W.E. Day Five– An ode to the work experience kid

It’s Friday morning
And you’re applauding
Surely it will be a special sort of day?
With the weekend ahead
Everyone will be spent
And ready for some fun and some play.

You walk into the office
And what is it you receive?
A special ‘Friday’ good morning or nod?
Why don’t be ridiculous!
It’s a pile of work – with you name on it
Labelled ‘enjoy yourself work experience sod’.

But it’s been a week
So it’s fair to assume
That people will by now know your name.
Maybe even enquire after your plans for the weekend
And treat you as though you’re the same.

But guess again
My sorry friend
Pigs are more likely to fly.
No-one cares about you
Or what you can do
It’s hardly worth even having a try.

Rebecca? Sam? Fred? – or Joy?
I can’t remember what this one was called.
So you’re about half-way?
And you’re getting no pay?
Hurry on then, and do as you’re told.

A plus to the day
£50 note? Ah ok!
To put towards your expenses.
Shame it’s not nearly enough
And things stay financially tough
But didn’t you know that we’re in a recession?

Are you still busy?
Little work experience kid
I have something else I need you to do
A lunch break is for losers.
And beggars can’t be choosers,
So get on with cleaning my shoe.

We leave early on a Friday
‘Gotta get down the pub
And celebrate the night with our mates.
You must stay here
And forfeit the beer
Make up for us and go extra late.

What is this?
It seems unfair?
To be treated in such a poor way?
But work experience is a must
If you want to build trust
And we could replace you here in a day

So stop your moaning
And crack on fast
Work won’t get done on its own
Chance of a job at the end?
I’m not gonna pretend
The answer may leave you forlorn

But it’ll be something for your CV
That’ll boost it up – trust me
This will help get you a job.

However, if all fails
And you’re beginning to pale
Chill out, take some breaths and relax!
Try not to despair
Keep a’hold of your hair
And think
Extra months - maybe ten?
Of getting to do work experience
All over again.

October 14th: W.E. Day Four – Are you busy?

I have now worked out that the best way to get people to talk to you is by brute force. Join in where you’re not invited, and contribute even when you know no-one cares to listen. Let me give you an example;

Miss Attitude walks straight past me (I was only surprised that she didn’t punch out as she walked) and on to Dogsbody’s desk to say good morning.

“Good morning Dogsbody”

“Good morning Miss Attitude.”


Then Dogsbody reignites the conversation;

“Did you see Apprentice last night?”

“No, I don’t watch Apprentice” (she’s probably still out at her anger management class at that time).

There’s a silence - my opportunity to jump in...

“I do! I do! I watch Apprentice! Me! Me! Here! Over here! Me! Fellow Apprentice watcher, wooo hooo! This way! Over here!! Me! Me! Hello! I know Apprentice!! Me!”

They both look around, trying to decipher where the voice has come from, and eventually realise it came from me, the mouthy work experience kid who keeps butting in where she’s not wanted. Miss Attitude looks pissed off (so basically normal),, and Dogsbody looks nervous – should he follow Miss Attitude’s lead, or, have a nice TV banter – which we know we all love to do.

Up yours Miss Attitude – he chose the banter yea!

“Oh my god - could you believe it when Lord Sugar said....”

See? Force. Sometimes when it comes to conversation, you just have to take it. And if in the process you manage to push out Miss Attitude, then all the better.

And god was she living up to her name this morning (not that I’m sure/hope) she knows her name...) Apparently she has a deadline and was stressed, something I would have been sympathetic about had she not huffed and puffed all morning until I thought she’d blow the whole bloody place down. Then suddenly she turned...and smiled.

I was terrified.

“Hey...” (I think she wanted to add my name but has unfortunately had yet to bother learning what it is...)

“Yes Miss Attitude?”

“Can you do me a favour?”

“Only if you ask nicely Miss Attitude.”

Of course, I knew this would be beyond her capabilities, so the whole thing was called off.


Actually she was very nice. For those 15 minutes that she wanted me to help her with research anyway. Then I gave her the work she needed and – poof - goodbye Miss Sickly Sweet, and oh, hello again Miss Attitude, how you were missed (by Satan).

And it turns out this habit of getting the work experience monkey to do stuff for you doesn’t just come from my immediate circle of associates.

My phone rang. I looked at it surprised – it was the first time I’d received a phone call all week. I picked up;


“Oh hello – are you busy at the moment?”

I look at the three page list of stuff I need to do and the pile of paperwork growing around me.

“Err...yes, I am a bit mysterious unknown voice – but what can I do for you?”

“Well I need you to...and I need it done now. We go to press in an hour.”

“Right, ok, sure, no problem - I’m sure I can just re-arrange my schedule a bit and get it done...err, hello?”

But she was gone – no thank you, no bye, just gone.

Then I received an email, ‘cd u cm in pls.’ I recognised this kind of code work by now. I went into the assistant editors office.


“Right I need the answer to this. And this, this this, this, this, this and this immediately. We go to press in an hour.”

“Right, ok, sure...just give me a second....hmm...really all now...?!”


“Right, ok sure....”

I get back to my desk, the phone rings again – a different voice this time.

“Are you busy at the moment?”

Not even a hello this time.

“Err...yes, I am a bit second mysterious unknown voice – but what can I do for you?”

“Well I need you to...and this...and this...and I need it done now. We go to press in an hour.”

Yes, I’ve heard. “Errr....ok?”

So needless to say that as the girl who can’t say no, things got a little hectic today. And of course that has put me behind on all the stuff I’m meant to have completed for tomorrow as it turns out that I am only human after all. God I can’t wait until the weekend.

Conclusion: Maybe I should just go back to the old waitressing job. It was far less stressful.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

October 13th: W.E. Day Three - Going Potty

Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter.

Fed up of it yet? Then I repeat, book in an appointment to discuss with me about its genius because I frigging love Harry Potter! (Lucky really, seeing that it has become my life.)

More research, phone calls, image viewing and trivia scanning I was called back into the Assistant Editor’s office. (Ok, by called, I mean emailed, ‘cd yu cm in pls’ – decipher as you please.)

Hello! I beamed like a possessed Harry Potter fanatic. He looked shocked. Either I’d gone overboard with the enthusiasm, or ‘cd yu cm in pls’ means something completely different to what I’d translated.

“Right, I want you to go to Charring Cross and purchase any books that has some useful info for the Harry Potter trivia. (Wahoo! An outing!) I’m gonna give you my credit card (Wahoo! Credit Card!) and don’t mind you spending up to £50 / £70 (Wahoo! £50 / £70!).”

“You know I won’t come back” I said, jokingly.

He looked irritated.

Mental note to self: it is far too early on the placement to be making such ‘I’m going to steal all your money' jokes.

So I went off, for far longer than intended and massively failed. I blame a few things for this:

1) That Chancery Lane and Charring Cross Road are not the same place.

2) That no-one has written a book of Harry Potter FILM trivia (perhaps this could be my opening?)

3) That the Editorial Assistant gave me the wrong pin number. Or, it’s possible, cancelled the card after my seemingly less hilarious than I anticipated joke.

4) That a certainty that the Waterstone’s in Piccadily was bound to solve my book finding needs was wrong;

“Err – we can't help you, but have you tried Charring Cross?” - Yes. Yes I have.

Out of the accessible £50 to £70 book buying limit, I spent a grand total of £2.99. And that was so I didn’t come back empty handed. And I paid (to be fair I was offered the money back but felt – considering my colossal letdown – that I should take this one for the team).

When I finally got back to the office some three hours had gone by...Whoops....not really sure what the hell happened there...It certainly hadn't seemed that long...I blame the trains.

Sheepishly, I slid the Assistant Editor back his credit card (at which point he promptly phoned the bank and told them to remove the hold on it), smiled in the direction of my colleagues, realised no-one had even noticed I'd been gone, and settled back down at my desk for the remainder of the afternoon.

I spent it doing more research (and was given another top secret assignment which I shan’t tell you about as I know some of you are fellow journos waiting to pounce, so nah nah nah.) Being a massive geek, it turns out I actually quite enjoy research / secret assignments, so I was content, even if no-one was talking . But then they were quite busy I suppose. And the end of the week deadline is coming up. And I guess it's quite difficult to transcribe a dictaphone interview and talk at the same time. I'll let them off on this occasion.

Then the BEST thing? Five goodbyes when I left the office today. Five! Not one, two three, four, six, seven, eight, nine etc etc, but five. Lovely.

Conclusion: I am warming more to this new life, and maybe – and I mean more maybe than yesterday – would like to work for this publication.

October 12th: W.E. Day Two - A 'hello' goes a long way

Apologies for the delay uploading this - my current situation means I am limited to internet access (and for some reason I don't feel right about uploading these at work...) Still - they are being written every day and that is the main thing. So enjoy...

I decided to try a new tactic today.

“Morning!” I bellowed to the two people opposite who had yet to even blink in my direction.

They looked up, startled.

“Sorry, I don’t think I caught your names before...?” (Mainly because that would involve talking of course...)

“Oh...No. Well I am....and he is....and you are?”

And that was it! That’s all it took! Hurrah! A conversation commenced! We were, well, not friends, but certainly acquaintances by the end. And even better? Miss Attitude was out doing an interview all day! Score!

So within my first ten minutes the day was already going considerably better than yesterday. I thought I’d try and push my new found confidence a bit further, and talk to the ladies to the left, to the left, to the left of me. I decided to try the sympathy vote:

“Argh! The bloody computer is still playing up! Does anyone have any idea how I can stop it locking me out?!”

“Oh poor you,” one lady said (see? Sympathy vote - always works a treat) “I noticed you were having trouble yesterday. (Just decided to ignore it...) Could you have put the password in incorrectly three times?”

Grrr...(but still a good start) ”No.”

Then my other new found acquaintance piped up, “Maybe someone else is using the same ‘guest’ account as you and you keep locking each other out? You should go ask around.”

Eureka! Not only were people talking, discussing and acknowledging me, but they were providing answers! Could the day get any better?

So I went for a stroll around the office (trust me, it’s big enough for a stroll) to find the guilty fellow ‘guest3’ user. It was quite simple really, I just followed the cursing. And soon, there she was, a lovely lady freelancing in the art department.

“Hello,” I said, as she looked ready to throw her computer through the window. “I think we may be able to help each other out.”

One call back to I.T. later (we were bestest buddies by now after all) everything was resolved, life was good and everyone (well, at least me and the 5 people I now semi-knew) were happy. Told you I hadn’t typed the f*cking password in three times in a row.

So then I hit back onto the research, which was going quite nicely. In fact, in several emails I had been bold and upgraded my title to ‘researcher’ rather than ‘work experience lackey’. But then the ultimate request came which quickly brought me back down to reality,

“Can you go and grab ..blah blah.. a coffee from the ground floor shop in the second building please? She likes it with a dash of milk – not too much – but no sugar, I repeat, no sugar.”

It had been bound to happen soon. I didn’t mind actually – it gave me the excuse to find my bearings (or maybe lose would be more accurate?) a bit more and get out the office. Upon returning with one damn good (if I do say so myself) coffee, I was called into the Assistant Editors office for a special assignment...

“I hear you make a damn good coffee?”

(Nah, just kidding)

“I want you to look up as much Harry Potter trivia and funny facts as possible, and write small, punchy paragraphs to go in our special pages coinciding with the film release.”

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t quite interviewing tribes in a newly discovered South American jungle, but for me - dream job or what?! I LOVE Harry Potter (anyone who disagrees with its genius can book an appointment to see me). I was only too happy to oblige.

And so, it has to be said, I had rather a good day today. I was even treated to the joy that is running several times back and forth to the courier’s office (which happens to be located on the other side of the earth), and worked out how to put money on my identity card to allow access to the coffee machine – that’s right, I was able to drink coffee today. I felt almost human again.

Conclusion: Might want to work for this publication.