22 August 2014

Placement vs PA life

So the first week of placement is all over and done with. It's been a fun but strange week – having never even been in an official magazine office before I was pretty intimidated to start off with.

Luckily everyone's been absolutely darling and have fed me cups of tea and biscuits and treated me like a real-life journalist.

The course seems to have prepared me pretty well for working life. Writing news stories, features, subbing and all the other things we've been taught have proved pretty useful so far.

In fact, if I'm being totally honest it's like we've been over prepared for this. Working six/seven days a week launching a magazine while also studying for a qualification AND writing loads of other features and news stories is just crazy, when you think about it.

So really what I'm saying is that the course has turned us all into little keen bean superheroes who can cater to all of your multimedia journalism needs. I'm probably making no sense right now (tiredness is causing me to reach new levels of delirium) so I'm going to make it nice and simple for you:

Start time
8.30am and 9am on Saturdays. It's practically a lie in.
9.30am, maybe even 10am. Sometimes it could even be later. Bliss.
Days off
Sundays, if we're lucky.
Saturdays AND Sundays, plus bank holiday weekend. I don't quite know what to do with this three day weekend.
Lunch slots
Whenever we have time to go and grab something.
At least an hour's break around 1pm.
Typical working hours
8.30am-6pm at least. Then hours of catching up on the rest of the work we have to do. So really 8.30am-10pm.
9.30am-5.30pm max. I got told off for still being there at 5.45pm
We've written two features and two news stories for the app, around twenty news stories elsewhere, five features, plus subbing, web and app design, video and podcast editing, HTML coding, Adobe Suite, social media, SEO, web analytics, media law, shorthand, etcetcetcetcetc.
From what I've experienced, usually writing a few news stories a day, having a couple of features on the go at once and doing some interviews/going to events. Then dependent on your role, perhaps some subbing/proofing.
My wonderful course pals
Luckily I am on placement with some lovely people, but I can imagine that in a real job I'll encounter some less-than-delightful colleagues.

Anyway, while placement has been fun and I'm sure real working life will be too, I have dearly missed my pals at PA. There are some things you just can't do in a 'serious' working environment, like:
  • Playing Beyonce and Nicki Minaj really loudly and rapping like a boss for motivation and inspiration when times get hard (Kasia, Kaltrina, Rosie and me)
  • Inventing a 'Lad Chart' where you reward people for being a LAD, and also just “a nice and helpful person” (Tom)...
  • ...then getting into a feminist debate over the politics of said LAD chart (Kasia and Tom)
  • Getting really frustrated because nobody has any interest sport (Blayne)
  • Sighing loudly and making hilariously deadpan comments to signal your frustration and anger at most things in life (Sam)
  • Staying in the office overnight to meet deadlines you haven't completed because you were too busy being social butterflies (Rudy and Rosie, I'm looking at you here)
  • Being late for work because you just had to pop to Patisserie Valerie for a breakfast croissant (do I even need to put Rudy's name here?)
  • Leaving work early to head to a Nando's dinner (Blayne, who also forced me to tag along for tasty chicken).
I'm excited to see everyone again already.

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