Work… it’s a marathon, not a sprint

In England by Eller Student

Lexi Silverman

10 July 2013

FIE Blog #3

My second week of work at was very comparable to my first week of work with checking newspapers, magazines, and websites for coverage. I have gotten into the routine of doing the same tasks each day, but I enjoy doing each one and learning how a PR department operates. The PR team, which is comprised of four other women, assigns me tasks. I’ve worked on teams many a time in my life, but I’ve never held a job in a professional workplace.

The structure of my workplace is comparable to the U.S. in that my actual site supervisor, Mel, does not distribute tasks to me, rather the other members of the team do. Mel is the leader of the group, as she is head of PR, so there is a hierarchy of position. I believe a similar order is present in most businesses back home. Despite this sort of organization, I feel that my fellow coworkers completely respect me and I am treated as an equal. I do not take any offense or feel of any less self-worth when I am given errands like recycling newspapers or taking packages to the post office. This is my first internship, after all.

I am learning to be accountable and self-sufficient by working both on a team and individually. I enjoy that the tasks are very straightforward and I feel comfortable approaching Becky, Jade, or Ashleigh when I need extra clarification about any of the assigned work. The team makes small talk with me and there is always mellow chatter occurring around me, as I learned is common in a British workplace. I was surprised to hear personal life nonchalantly being mixed in with work. It’s as if the two worlds combine for my coworkers—maybe because it is a fashion workplace and fashion is a big part of their everyday lives. My first impression was that the people are fashionable and take work seriously, but it is refreshing to see that they are also laidback and enjoy other pastimes in their free time.

On Tuesday, I finished my coverage in record timing, with Jade chuckling that I was “too fast” for them. I always say that “slow and steady wins the race,” but I think I get nervous that I won’t complete all the work in time and I am used to doing my schoolwork in a fast-paced setting in America. Although I got it done fast, I truly can say I worked with diligence and precision. I sense that Britons take their time completing their work, but when they work, they work very hard. Seeing how fast-paced London transportation is, I would have thought that the workplace was of a similar ambiance. There is also diffusion of responsibility in the workplace, like in America, but I don’t see the psychological trend of workers not feeling responsible for their own share of work when it is diffused. As an intern, I constantly inform my coworkers when I have finished my work and ask if there is additional work I can start on. I feel that I am very fortunate to work in a British office for my first job and be exposed to cultural differences.