E for Easter. E for Experience. E for Editor.
By Nicole Correia,
Procrastinating revision with something to help my CV was my plan to feel guilt-free this Easter holiday. After a bit of Googling and a few phone calls, I managed to organise a work experience placement for two weeks at Bloomsbury Publishers - the folks who printed Harry Potter. My English Literature modules this year have really encouraged me to read as much as possible and I am enjoying it more and more, so where better to go than to the people who read it first?
The editorial offices were based in central London, and so I visualised the ‘Ugly Betty’ experience for myself; working in the city, I’d be best friends with a down-to-earth type colleague, it’d be glamorous, fast-paced, and I’d be trapped in an office until 5 o’clock each day with an attractive boss. The reality was not quite the same.
I had to wake up at the crack of dawn to buy an £11 travel card and get on my 8:05 train. By 8:15 my make-up’d face would be printed on the coat of an unsuspecting male commuter, my hair caught on someone-behind-me’s rucksack. Rattled before I’d even headed underground, I was introduced into the reality of London commuters. Being a Kim Kardashian 5 foot 2, this was not a fun ride but after a couple of days I wasn't hesitant to get my elbows out, too. On Tuesday morning, however, I was grateful for the swarms of grumpy suits on the commute, as I was able to hide from my ex- boyfriend’s twin brother who got on my packed carriage. Of all the trains and carriages in London (!) there I was, inches away from being forced into acknowledging him from beneath his armpit as he held onto the bar above me. On the commute home on Tuesday I was accidentally elbowed in the eye by a man who decided to scratch his midriff. It was a dramatic and bad day for me. Perhaps slightly more ‘Ugly Betty’ than originally thought.
The work experience itself was good and I highly recommend organising work experience to all students - it boosts your confidence, you gain contacts, and it gives you a taste of the real world. Your expectations will be different, as mine were, but it's all a learning curve. Yes, I had to use a photocopier and, yes, I ran errands occasionally, but the office people were lovely and let me proof-read manuscripts whilst drinking Twinnings tea for hours on end. It wasn’t glam, but it was cosy. Unfortunately my boss wasn’t an attractive Daniel Meade lookalike, but I was content enough with my smiley blonde lady. I didn’t make many friends in the office but the Tottenham Court Road Starbucks baristas do know my name. Close enough.