23rd September 2010
Oh my God is it hot in here? It’s like an OVEN. Plus I have done quite a lot of exercising work today. It is nearly four o’ clock and I have spent most of my day reaching high into shelves full of travel books in order to organise them into correct alphabetical order. There are hundreds of books, and basically, when a writer wants to write a piece on a city they help themselves for research. However, when they have finished their research, the cheeky little blighters go and put the books back in the wrong place now, don’t they? Enter Gabbi. I come along and put all the books in alphabetical order according to the country which they refer to, so that the naughty writers can go and do it all over again tomorrow. I don’t mind though; it has kept me busy and I love when I get a big job like that done. The shelves look nice and tidy now, and I have pulled the spines of all of the books forward so they look super neat and even.
I arrived to work an hour (!) early this morning. I guess when my dad gives me a lift to the tube station and I know where I’m going I don’t need to set aside an hour and a half for travel time. It was ok though, it meant I could wander around the area. I discovered this amazing sandwich shop where they do like, a million different fillings on all kinds of bread. It looks lush there, and isn’t too expensive either. If only I wasn’t back on the Special K diet again, I could pig out a lot.
I also had my first ‘coffee’ today. I went to the tiny café in the offices and had an espresso with two sugars. It wasn’t too bad really. I guess coffee just isn’t my thing. I couldn’t believe how small the café is! It’s called Tony’s and I think that literally only Tony works there. No wonder Alice didn’t plug the café when I asked where I could go for lunch . . .
I had a small handful of Special K for my lunch and half a pot of sundried tomatoes with mozzarella balls. It was really good, apart from the fact that the inside of my bag had a little oil in it. I managed to mop it up though, so no harm done.
I did a ton of photocopying earlier on. Sarah (the Editor) had stuck post it notes in about ten different magazines, and wanted the spreads on those pages to be copied for in a meeting tomorrow or something like that. I love photocopying massive A3 pictures, since they look so good when I’ve done them. I then folded them around the issue which they had come from and took them over to Alice’s desk. I felt like I was doing a really important job! Only downside is that my fingers got all inky, which wasn’t great on top of the dust that sorting through the books covered my hands with. Nothing that giving them a quick wash in the toilets didn’t fix, but my hands still feel a bit odd and dry . . . Never happy am I?
It’s nearly time for me to take whatever post that we have down into the mailroom.
You know what is really odd? My phone hasn’t rung once. And I haven’t had to take any of Sarah’s or Alice’s calls yet either. I really hope I have chance to pick up and say, ‘Hello, Traveller.’
I think we can just help ourselves to any magazines we come across, apart from obviously back-issues and stuff like that. On each floor there is a magazine stand or two where I think we can just take a copy of the magazines that are produced on that floor. At least I hope so, because this morning I took a copy of Brides! Not that I’m becoming a bride or anything, but it is always useful for the purpose of becoming a magazine journalist to read all kinds of magazines, and if they are free why not?
I think I might be meeting dad in Camden for dinner tonight. I wonder what we’ll have. Apparently there is this event called Lock Stock on tonight, where all the bars open early and the cafes stay open late, so there should be plenty on offer. I just hope that I don’t get stuck at Oxford Circus for twenty minutes like I did the other day. I came across a ton of people waiting outside the tube station, and I asked someone what was going on,
‘They close the station every so often to prevent overcrowding. They will let us go in ten minutes or so.’
How silly is that though? All that happens is that hundreds of people get really hacked off that they can’t go home, start jostling etc and then absolutely stampede through the station once they can. Surely that is more dangerous? Whatever.
Each week Condé Nast will pay me up to £50 to cover the costs of me coming here, so by Thursday afternoon I have to collect as many receipts as possible from various spends I have made. This week (keeping in mind that I have only actually been here for two days so far) has cost me around £47. In fairness though, part of that is because I had to trek all the way back to Birmingham on Tuesday which cost £27, but still. I’ve spent about £6.99 on food, £10 on tube travel, £2 on the bus, plus my Birmingham money. And yet I only have a receipt to prove £2.99 of it. Shocking right? I’m sure I have my train receipt at my aunt’s house somewhere, and I’m going to try and bully the tube people and people from Itsu to give me the receipts for my previous trips, but I’m not feeling too hopeful.
Something else productive that I have done today is to create four documents which basically have a template of our generic email which is sent to aspiring writers, budding photographers and illustrators and prospective staff. This is because we often get emails asking how to freelance for us, or how to get a job within the company, and yet this is not the best way for they to get a decent answer. With freelancers we advise them to send their link or story to the correct person, and with prospective staff we have to direct that to the main website www.condenast.co.uk where they can find all of the current vacancies. It was getting a pain to have to type the same email over and over, so I made documents which can be pasted in, and then all I really have to change is the name that it is addressed to. Job’s a good’un! I am a genius.
The only thing that I don’t really like, is that there isn’t really much socialising that goes on in this office. I know that sounds silly, because work is for working and not chatting about last night’s mojitos or whatever. But, like, people don’t really talk in here unless it is to do with work. And even then it is quite brief almost to the extent of being abrupt. I guess it means that the job gets done quicker and more effectively, and I’m sure that everyone wouldn’t be able to leave work twenty minutes early like they seem to if they we babbling on all day, but a ‘Hey how was your evening?’ or ‘Been up to much recently?’ wouldn’t go amiss. I’ve had quite a busy couple of days, and being a sociable person I want to discuss them, and find out what everyone else’s days have been like, but I don’t feel comfortable enough to ask. Perhaps on Monday I could just launch in with, ‘Were you up to much this weekend?’ to Alice, but I’m not very motivated since I’m sure the answer would just be ‘Not really, could you sort through those competition entries?’
The other offices aren’t anywhere near this quiet. I went into the advertising office earlier on today, and it was like a party in there! Everyone was laughing, chatting and having a good time, whereas in here people actually have their iPods on! I think some people actually come in here, and don’t say a single word until they leave later on in the day. It’s nuts. And with my fantastic observational skills I can determine that this is because the Editor in Chief’s office is kind of attached to ours. I don’t know whether people are scared of making noise around her, or if they are just following in her footsteps (she actually hasn’t so much as LOOKED in my direction since I got here) but I think it is definitely down to her influence that the atmosphere lulls so much.
If I am being fair to her I guess she is getting the job done. At the end of the day, people have completed their tasks in a quiet environment and that’s all that matters. And if I was a powerful Editor-in-Chief I’m sure I would have things as I wanted them, after all it is ‘her’ office and we are ‘her’ staff. And why would she smile at me, or introduce herself to me? Every three weeks the person in my seat changes, and when there is work to be done I guess it’s not a busy person’s priority to come over and mingle.
The only difference is that I would have a fun and chatty office. I would be respected but enjoyed. I would introduce myself to every new person who comes into the office, because you never know who they might be, or what they might have to offer. And I guess that’s why she’s an Editor-in-Chief and I’m not.
This is yet another learning curve for me, but so far I am really enjoying it! I’m seeing that yes, sometimes people might have different ways of working, and they may not be your favourite, but as long as they work it doesn’t really matter.
Despite all of the silence I am thoroughly enjoying this placement. If I could afford to do this all year and go to university at the same time then I would. But I can’t, so I have to make the most of each moment I’ve got, and not grumble about something as petty as a little peace. J