Work experience. The first time those words were mentioned I felt a cold shiver slowly descend down my back. Images of spending a week with unknown people in dead-end jobs flooded into my head. It was obviously going to be far too much effort for what it was worth. Yet, another side of me said do I want to be watching paint dry, or even watching grass grow. ‘ This is not where I want to be. I want to be out, I want to be experiencing, living, running, jumping, eating, playing, screaming, laughing, anything.
I had to apply to a company for a two week placement, and this had to be done through proper procedures, so I had to make sure my curriculum vitae was up to date and well presented. I first began to think what type of work experience would I most enjoy and benefit from. I thought I would like to work in a computer related placement since I am doing IT as a GCSE and I have a keen interest in it.
I went along to the careers office and talked to the careers teacher but he didn’t quite have what I wanted so I went home and done some research on the internet and found a contact number and e-mail, I phoned the number and asked about any work experience opportunities and they said the best thing was to e-mail my queries to a certain e-mail address. I e-mailed this person and they replied wanting to know what was the exact specification of this work experience. After several e-mails, they told me to send my CV along with a letter of application and so I did.
A few weeks later I received a e-mail saying they do not do work experience for GCSE students, but added by saying they were planning to launch such opportunities and work placements and said to me that be sure to apply to them after my GCSE’s and said I did have a good chance looking at my CV for future opportunities. I then went to the careers office and found a contact address of a manager in Mulberry Place; I applied, sending my CV and letter of application. One week later got a letter confirming my two week placement.
The day before, my initial feelings were very peculiar, because all my friends said they are excited about having this experience, but I felt the opposite, sentiment nervous. I could not figure out why that everyone started to become expectant of they’re administrative centre to be a fascinating and an enjoyable practice. I was thinking to myself, “Why does everyone feel so confident of themselves”, and then I told myself “Why is it me that is petrified and me only”. Everyone else was intrigued to their workplace so why aren’t I.
All the pupils were just saying how they would fit right in but I was very anxious as to whether I’ll fit in or not. I felt that the prospect of working in an unfamiliar place was profligate. I say this because the people I’d meet would have a far grater status than an unknown pupil, like me. I woke up dreading what was ahead of me. But I dressed myself, fed myself and walked reluctantly to the train station. The train journey to Mulberry Place was one that I did not notice for I was under the influence of body odour that was diffusing from the drenched armpit of a charming teenage mother.
I have been rehearsing to what I predict I might do in my actual job, but I always say to myself “Would I be the suitable candidate”, and because of this, I feel extremely depressed to what I think I will do because if I make a mistake, the other workers would give me a dirty look. But another side of me says “We all make mistakes and also learn from them, after all no one is perfect”, so I also feel quite hopeful on the other hand. There’s always one question I ask myself “Would it be better than school, or would I long to be back into the familiar routine of lessons, teachers and breaks”?
Obviously I had mixed emotions going because one part says it will be superb while the other says it would be appalling, so which should I believe. The jobs that I was advised to do as very menial and tedious. But that doesn’t apply to all of them. One of which, filing documents and stacking them up, the reason why this was enjoyable is due to the fact that I could see who has been naughty; by not paying the bills or taking too long to pay, this was also the most important task I had accessed to.
The way this problem was solved was by me stamping on it, this made me feel like a valued member of the workforce. This also proved to be astonishingly time-consuming as all the files were in my opinion ‘messy’. On the contrary the job I hated most was making coffee, I mean come on, I did not intend to make coffee for myself let alone make it for 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5 other members of staff, this mage me feel completely ‘lackey’, by doing basic tasks, but at the end of the day a job is a job no matter what.
I felt that I was not permitted to a wide range of jobs; maybe it was because it is work experience after all and who knows I might be able to access this when or if I do work there in the future (as if, spending time on making coffee, I’d rather sit at home starve myself). In general I did not look forward to the jobs I was asked to do mainly because I did not feel included as a ‘permanent’ member; like the employees. The people I worked with were mostly amiable, but that does not apply to their language, which was utterly horrid.
The majority regarded me as a nuisance; it was as though I was expletives. I could work with people who were nearly all approachable or shall I say exceptionally pleasant. My supervisor looked unreservedly amusing; he had an egg-shaped head; hair all over the place, as though he had an electric shock; mud-boots in a business department; I could go on forever but I would get carried away. As a person he was the friendliest person I had ever met. My fist impression of him, made me full of disgust but my view of him changed in a fortnight.
He took very good care of me, and after ten minutes he would check on my morale, so that I wouldn’t feel completely down. He also would ask me whether I would like to do a certain task, unlike the others who would dump in my face, without my judgment, which changed my sentiment to offensive. He would be the first to greet me in the morning and the first to say goodbye, when I leave. The sort of person he is can only be described as ‘giving compliments’ as there is nothing which I discovered over my time in the business, anything negative about him.