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 February 2008

Brunswick: 9 months on

It’s been almost nine months since I started at Brunswick. What began with an offer of a one month contract was extended to two months, and then for a further six – and at the start of this year the three interns (including me) began on a more formal training course – which gives us all a period to learn in a structured manner.

Our last training session was on the role of an executive (the next step up from an intern). Our role is, essentially, to support the rest of the office. The point that made the biggest impression on me was how to do this more proactively. There are several ways we can be there for our teams:
- if there is a meeting we can offer to take notes and then distribute them
- before an upcoming event we can ask what needs to be done and how we can help
- if we see something important, such as an article that may need urgent attention, we need to take responsibility for making sure the right people have seen it
- in all our work, it’s important to consider what would be most useful to whoever has asked for it – and take care to present it in a way that is accessible to them. For example, during the recent power crisis, I was collecting some news coverage for a client. Rather than sending a mass of news articles only, I highlighted in red what would be relevant for them.
- there are a multitude of smaller things we can do – for example, when we send out news coverage, we can write in the subject of the e mail what the article is about, so that the person reading it can immediately see if it’s relevant.

The bottom line is: how can we work more efficiently and what can we do that will save whoever receives our work their time?

We’ve been encouraged to start working more proactively rather than simply getting bogged down by the volume of work. It’s challenging to think about things in this way; rather than waiting to be asked, to offer instead. This way, we will all feel like we’re making more of a contribution to the team and I think start to learn more and more.

Daniel, our trainer, emphasised that the more efficiently all the teams in the office work, the better the service we give to the client.

So I challenge everyone to think about how they can be more proactive in the workplace - rather than wait for work to come to you.

4 comments:

Valentin said...

I am glad that everything goes well with your work and training, and you enjoy it!

Thomas Blaser said...

Ja, that is a good observation. It is not just useful to be proactive at work, but also in all the things you do, in your relations to other peopole and so on. Often though, we lose our initiave through mindless power games and people who feel easily threatened.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan

9 months! It’s fantastic that Brunswick is working out for you, and that you are working out for Brunswick.
You articulate what is expected of an ‘executive’ so well. But I think your learning points are as relevant for someone embarking on an internship, or entering the world of work for the first time. I’ll print out these points and give them to the people participating in the WoW Programme 2008, the new interns.

Best
Lesley Emanuel

Thomas Blaser said...

Team work is crucial. I am amazed how difficult it is to make people understand. As with many other things, it has to be the policy of the organization to support it. Otherwise, individuals may hardly be able to practice it with others.