19 July 2013
FIE Blog #4
“Heatwave hits London”: this is the headline that burned my eyes as I checked the newspaper for coverage this week. My coworkers complain about the heat and ask me if Arizona is hotter. The answer is always the same… yes. However, although it’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit in London compared to 115 in Arizona, the lack of air conditioning in the office, our flat, and really anywhere makes the summer much more unbearable. I use the loo about five times a day considering I am constantly gulping water in the stuffy office. I still haven’t seen any of my coworkers use the loo; I constantly wonder if they are super-human. Every day at promptly 3 pm, the ice cream truck makes its way through Camden, and a part of me dies inside at the thought of people enjoying cold ice cream and frolicking in town while I’m sitting at the computer. Tuesday, my team jumped up to get “lollipops.” I politely declined a lollipop offer, but my eyes lit up when they brought me one anyways and it was what we Americans call “popsicles.”
On Wednesday, I worked with the other FIE intern at my-wardrobe.com. She is a marketing major like me and it was cool to hear another American’s opinion about the work atmosphere in the UK. She noticed the synchronic quality of the office, too, in that we could easily finish our work early and leave early, yet our coworkers take breaks and chitchat, dragging out the work process. They don’t have many tasks for us when we finish early, but we believe we are working at a steady, yet productive pace. If they do have another task, it can be an unorganized process of relaying it to the intern. I believe that my-wardrobe is a family (person oriented) culture. The workplace seems effective, but inefficient compared to the sequential nature of jobs in the U.S., where an employee gets everything done practically before he or she takes a breath.
The biggest news of the week that I found out while searching for coverage was that the founder of my-wardrobe.com, Sarah Curran, decided to leave the business as both its founder and a board member. She won some big award from the queen for her work, so I am surprised and confused why she would exit after a mere six years involved with the company. I never met her, but I’m interested to see how the company will operate under different leadership. Some of the PR team I work with also got promotions; basically it just seems that their titles changed, but they do the same tasks.
Lastly, the best part of the week had to be when my boss told us interns to throw away the remaining samples of last season, which included a pair of nice sunglasses, shirts, and shoes. I couldn’t believe it! She let us keep what we wanted, so those sunglasses are now mine! Power is ascribed naturally, but wealth is shared. Apparently, employees get a 40% discount off of merchandise, too, so I will be taking advantage of that before I leave. Also, fashion is very different. My co-workers show self-expression through their outfits. It is still a professional workplace, yet they don’t feel a need to show professionalism through their apparel. Despite the company being high fashion, it is refreshing that the employees do not brag about their nice clothes. They don’t keep price tags on their samples, which to me, shows they praise their fashion, and not just money.