Today marks exactly four weeks since starting my job at Four Communications, a Marketing and PR agency. It’s been an interesting four weeks, mainly because of how new everything is. I’ve never had an ‘office’ type job before, but I’ve heard a lot about the infamous culture of the office, so as an ‘outsider’ to this new world, I thought I’d make a few mental notes on what I was experiencing.
1) Offices Environments are what you make it
I remember the first time I came to Four, for my group interview, all of their staff were smiling, and genuinely looked like they were enjoying their work. If this wasn’t strange enough the people there were friendly, smiling at you, and occasionally speaking to you… in London!
I get it’s a work environment, but either way, I was so shocked at this abnormal behaviour that I asked one of the HR staff if this was normal or just a rehearsed act to make the company look good in front on the interviews. He assured me it wasn’t. I was impressed.
By the end of the first day I could definitely testify that he was telling the truth back in April, because the office is actually a fun place to work with a chilled vibe and a modern looking workspaces, not to mention all the coffee, green tea, mint tea, and normal tea, a fridge full of milk (although only green and red tops :/) and bowls full of fruit-you could ask for. I learnt your environment really does make a difference, and I think that applies anywhere.
I’m still impressed.
2) The Art of Initiative
I’m part of Four Change, and we predominately work on NGOs and the public sector campaigns. On any given day I could be going through newspaper articles looking for client-related stories; emailing journalists for collaborations; doing research for new potential clients; creating media summaries for existing clients or managing twitter feeds for client campaigns. The list goes on. Four is dynamic.
Something important I’ve learnt the importance of is the art of initiative. For all of those above tasks, a level of responsibility has been given to me, and other than asking a lot of questions to my more experienced colleagues, there comes a time where you have to leave that newbie mindset. I’m learning more and more every day that taking initiative is a fast track way to learn.
I’m learning more and more every day that taking initiative is a fast track way to learn and I look forward to finding that point of using my maximum initiative.
3) Time is Everything
The most important lesson I’ve learnt is about time. To anyone that has made the move straight from the flexible University timetable to a full-time 9 am to 5.30 pm job, they’ll understand just how valuable your free time is. It’s simple. When you’re at work those 7 and a half hours (1-hour lunch break of course), are not yours. I’m far from perfect, but working full-time teaches you how to prioritise, and time manage both inside and outside of work. From the point you come in your time is your bosses or directors, which is fine, that’s what I signed up for.
It’s just I wasn’t ready for the forced lessons of time management that a job would give me, still, it’s very much appreciated because now, more than ever, my free time feels so valuable, and weekends are a gift from God himself.
So as you can imagine it’s been an interesting four weeks for someone who has never worked in an office before. It’s also been quite humbling, a bit like when you first start Secondary School, everything you thought you knew about education is thrown down the sink, and your head is crammed packed with new information until you look into a mirror and see a reflection of SpongeBob sweating beads of ‘best practice’ and ‘formatting techniques’.
It’s been humbling really, getting taught things you don’t know, and even if your ego might get dented from the amount of feedback- when you manage to look past your expectations, presumptions, and knowledge, every day of the world of work is nothing less than an opportunity to learn something new.
Chijioke Anosike TWN Editor