This blog reflects on life at work at comments on the latest news that shapes my 9-5 working day in a Corporate Communications consultancy.

About Me

I am a born and bred South African who has always loved to read and write. As a child my mother used to read to me and my siblings, from classics like the “Lord of the Rings” but later also from her own stories. She would write children’s stories and then use us as her test audience, but I loved to hear what she had written long after my siblings had tired of it. So I grew up in an environment of reading and writing, which inspired my love of these things. I hope to write a great book some day, and have learnt first hand the determination and will that it takes. My love of English inspired me to continue my study of it at university. I majored in Law and English in a BA degree at UCT where I found that I took to English much more than law. I enjoyed learning about South Africa’s history and the development of our liberal Constitution, which increasingly made me committed to the hope this country has for the future. Ideally, I’d like to find myself in a job where I am able to write; that allows a good mix of time spent with people and being able to work on my own.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Day 2… the learning continues

When I got home yesterday after my first day at Brunswick I felt exhausted – there was a lot to take in and adjust to! I’m pleased to say, however, that today I feel quite energised – part of that is down to meeting the wonderful Irish author Marian Keyes (known as the “queen of chick lit”) this evening at a talk hosted by The Write Company. (Read more about her at She was a joy to listen to because she was very lively, funny, personable and confident – all great qualities for anyone to have, especially in the workplace! She was also very gracious and kept thanking the audience for coming to listen to her – even though she’s a best selling author, she seemed genuinely surprised that people had chosen to spend their evening with her.

Today was a similar day to yesterday for me – a continuation of the induction process. An important part of being in the communications world is keeping up to date with the media, and becoming familiar with all the important publications. Today I was working on an assignment that would help me to get a feel for these – ones I’m used to like the Financial Mail, but also others I haven’t read before such as Maverick and Fin week. I also had a ‘crash course’ in some financial terms – I’m hoping to pick those up as I go along – I know I have a lot to learn! I think a big part of my learning in the next two months will be to manage my time… Janet’s rocks and sand. In the workplace there are always several things happening at once, so learning to prioritise is important. I’ve noticed that Thobeka (the other intern in the office) always communicates with whoever has asked her to do something – for example, yesterday, she had a few things to do at the same time, and she spoke to someone who’d asked her for something urgently to explain the other pressures on her time. This is a good lesson for me - communicating makes sure that both people are on the same page. Another adjustment will be working in an open plan office – it’s great that everyone’s accessible when you need them – even the directors share this space - and it creates a friendly atmosphere, but I find it fairly difficult to focus on something that I’m doing with other things happening around me. I remember that I found that tricky at first when I was at Caxton, but after a while I got used to it.

Watch this space for the next instalment about my life in the working world!


Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

I felt quite energized myself reading about your day. My goodness! Everyone seems to be doing their internships in organisations that are suited to their skills and expertise. It really makes me pleased and hopeful about my own future work-wise. Thank you for sharing your experience. I will certainly be watching this space for more. By the way, you better leave a comment or two on my blog or else....

Thomas Blaser said...

You are lucky to be at a communications firm. So you won't be censured for talking to people. I mean like your fellow intern does, you need to keep people in the loop and talk to them. Pretty much what communicators do...

Susan Arthur said...

Thanks Thomas for reminding me to communicate. I meant that Thobeka asks when the person needs it done by, always asks when she's not sure about something, and if she has 10 other things to do, let's the person know to help her to prioritise things. If it's needed urgently, she'll deal with it accordingly. I think her example is a great one for all of us as we go into our internships.

Ijeoma, sorry about the lack of comments on your blog. I'll try to be better; thanks for being so good about commenting on ours and blogging regularly, even though you have a lot of other things to do!

Adam N. Mukendi said...

Hi Sue,
That fantastic. I know that you can do it. You have that hability to learn about things or person. I remember what I have learn from you: Keep quiet, observe and then speak... You saw Thobeka doing her approach; I wish you get open and make friends there. An open office is never easy place to focus but you can do it. All the best

Valentin said...

Susan, it all sounds difficult at the beginning, but I am sure you will manage.
By the way, this is a great skill to learn and develop-how to manage your time (ie. "time management").
I think I learnt that skill in America after having four jobs one after another, and I had ten minutes to reach the next job with a bicylcle of a distance of about fifteen kilometres.
Now I realize how much I've benefited from that.
Again, I repeat. Thare are two essential things that people need to develop into skills in life and at the workplace:
"one is the ability to focus (concentrate and prioritize) and the other one is the ability to manage your time".
I've learnt the first one from my teachers in Bulgaria and the second one through personal experience.