29 October 2014

Lessons Learnt in the Meantime

Most of you now know that I have just been offered a  6 month position at Grey EMEA in London as a digital communications intern. I am sure that part of the reason I was given this offer was due to the hard work I have put in since leaving university. I have certainly been busy. For the past month and a half I have had two part-time jobs, a bartender at a local pub and a retail sales advisor at EE, alongside writing this blog.  Although these positions were not part of my ultimate career goal they have taught me a lot of different skills which will be useful for the rest of my life.
So I thought I would share what I have learnt with you!

In both positions I have had to deal with difficult customers. It's almost impossible to work in sales without meeting at least one. I've learnt that unless you were rude to them first, it is not your fault that they are angry or rude. The best thing to do is to listen to them, let them have their say, always remain calm and never to interrupt them. If you don't know how to help them, ask your manager if they can. I firmly believe that it's the difficulties you face which make you stronger and which you learn the most from. There are always going to be times when you will meet with these sort of people in any career and the more experience you get dealing with them, the better.

I have become an expert at small talk, a skill very useful when you go for interviews and you're in the lift before it starts. I've always been quite an outgoing character but occasionally when I've been nervous or meeting someone for the first time I have been stuck for something to say. (Hard to believe I know.) But now I feel confident talking to almost anyone. In the end people are just people and whether they're a 40 year old farmer demanding another pint of Carling at 1am when you want to leave, or a timid shopper looking to get a new pay as you go handset, being able to connect with them is really important.

Being busy at work is actually so much better than having nothing to do. There is nothing more boring than being at work with literally nothing to do! No customers to serve, no glasses to put away, nothing. When you keep yourself busy the time actually goes much faster too. Also standing still for a long time is more painful for you legs and feet that walking around doing things. You might not like your job, but sitting around complaining about it isn't going to make it any better so just get on with it.

Patience is a virtue. Or so that's what people have been saying for ages and ages. If I'm 100% honest, I have never been the most patient person but the last month and a half has really taught me to be a bit more patient. Not everything can happen all at once and understanding that is really important. In the new position I'm about to start I will be communicating with people all around the world and with different timezones there's definitely going to be a fair amount of waiting around. If I had started this position in July I don't think I would have been as well prepared as I am now. So I am really glad that it didn't all happen straightaway for me because I would have been as good as I will be now.

My first time being formally employed has also taught me a bit more about the different ways you can be paid, and how and when you pay taxes - which before I had absolutely no clue about. With the government's allowance of the first £10,000 you earn in a year as tax free, I'm feeling pretty lucky! I've managed to save up some money which will help me pay a deposit on a flat (when I find one). I've never really been motivated by money and while I've been living with my mum I've not had to pay for any rent or food. In the past I would have said that I didn't need a part-time job because I don't care about money but the savings I've made are going to be really useful.

I'd advise anyone who is in the position I was in to try and get a local job while you're still applying for positions that are closer to your ultimate career goal. They might not always be fun but they can actually give you a lot more than just money!

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