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For two weeks I would take part in two vastly different types of work experience. Week one would be at a very popular, national car magazine and the second placement would take place in a small local newspaper.This diary captures the experiences of a professional work environment for the first time as a journalist in busy London capital and a sleepy Midland city.

The first week I stayed in London with a friend.

Up at 6.30. This isn’t new. When I’m being good I often get up at the same time as my girlfriend back home, so I’m quite happy to get up, washed and dressed at this time.

I left just over an hour later. As I was walking to the tube I rang said girlfriend and she’d informed me that my colour-blindness had let me down again. My choice of blue shirt with a purple jumper and a red tie on top of grey trousers wouldn’t work. I then scuttled back to my friend’s apartment, where he is kindly allowing me to stay, to change tactics.

I made it on to the tube in plenty of time so I wasn’t completely bowled over by the rush hour rat race. I was also early enough that it allowed me to take my time and find the right train line and the correct platform with ease. Others seemed to be rushing round but I really didn’t see what all the stress was about, this may be because my starting time for the first day was an hour later than most people in London.

Once I got on the final train toward my destination, several stops along, the tannoy started to say at each stop “this train is going toward Waterloo”. Now this information posed quite an issue because I had got on the damn thing at Waterloo and I really couldn’t remember us turning around, we were still going in the same direction as when we first started. In panic, I leapt off the train at a place called Putney, which must have been a nickname as I think it’s real name was ‘Dog-shit Nowhere’, and began looking for a digital board a bit sharpish. Typical of Dog-shit Nowhere, there were few to be found so instead I asked a warden gentleman, at least that’s what I think they’re called, unless political correctness has issued a change in that department. He said the train I need is the one just behind me, the one I’d just got off, and as I turned toward the train so to did my chances of getting back on. The doors shut and the next one would be half an hour.

No need to worry as this was the reason I left so early. The next train arrived and I got on and took my seat. By the time it arrived at the destination I was now nearing the time I had to meet the co-ordinator of the work placement, so I ran and reached the office with about 3 minutes to spare, sweaty.

I removed my jacket and risked showing off my sweat patches to try and air my pits out to counter the problem and luckily the co-ordinator was half an hour behind schedule so this allowed me to recuperate.

Once we had done the hello’s and nice to meet you’s, I then proceeded to do this with everyone else in the office. One gentleman said I was the best work-experience person he had ever seen, because I was wearing a tie, I made a quick note to myself “this was gonna be easy”. The co-ordinator was well prepared despite being late and she had drawn me up a list of names of the staff members I’d be working with this week and correctly situated them in a seating plan for the office.

After the additional hello’s and nice to meet you’s, I sat, took a deep breath in then before I let it out, my supervisory person appeared. Quite a nice gentleman, I was glad to hear that he had studied at the same university I am currently completing a course in. He asked me how familiar I was with the magazine and the press release website that the company generated a lot of stories from, I skirted around my lack of car knowledge so expertly that I’m sure he didn’t suspect for a moment that I knew anything about cars, but he ran me through the basics anyway. Before I could do such a thing another man appeared at my desk.

I had of course just done a tour of the office, and I knew that some of the staff members weren’t at their desk when the co-ordinator had initially shown me around, so I didn’t in fact meet everyone. But did I meet this gentleman? For the life of me, I couldn’t remember. When he stood there expecting, I said “Hi I’m Huw, what was your name?”

He was someone I had just been introduced to. Fantastic. The Digital Editor. The person I should have memorised perhaps more than the Editor himself, the person I’d be working most closely with above all other staff members, and I’d already forgotten his name. Oh well, he gave me some work to gather the magazine’s most popular road tests in order of date so that when the facebook timeline goes in to effect they will be able to make good use of it. This took several hours and ate in to my lunch break, not that I minded I was there to impress, although at one point there was no one to impress as everyone seemed to take their lunch break at the same time.

25 minutes in to the company recess I set off in to the local high street to find myself a sandwich and a beautiful little genuine Italian café bistro with what I would later discover to serve the greatest Latte this side of Rome. Despite the great taste of this and an oven baked spicy meatball and mozzarella wrap I walked away a little disgruntled as everything cost more in London.

Well over £7 poorer, I returned to the office 15 minutes before everyone else to display my eager nature to an empty room again. I completed the remainder of my morning task and when my supervisory person returned from his lunch I was asked to write up a news story. “Yes!” proclaimed I, “Yes! I can write a news story.” It was of course a news story about a new car and its features…

As I desperately tried to stitch my limited knowledge base together with some quick wikipedia explanations I eventually cobbled together a 200-word story that I never received feedback on and I’m sure got entirely re-written. Something I will be sure to ask about tomorrow. How can I improve? That should impress them.

Following on from the work I did for the Digital Editor bloke, whatever his name was, I was asked to hunt down some additional landmark moments in motoring history to finish out the day, and while I didn’t complete it by the time I left (around 25 minutes after many others) I figured I can start of tomorrow with this task.

I turned out to be coming home rather late and thus rush hour had passed and I managed to avoid the obscene stress rush that I so feared when coming to London.

Once I returned my gracious host kindly offered to take me out for food which although I probably could have done without he seemed keen to show me about town and ensure I have a good time so I happily accepted. We went to a wonderful and mildly famous Bangladeshi restaurant Tayyab. The place was alive. For a Monday evening at 21:00 when a table eventually opened up, the restaurant, all three wall to wall packed floors of it, was only just entering their busy period. On the table next to us sat 20-25 blokes, an entourage of a certain Tinchy Stryder who seemed to be enjoying an evening out. There were so many of them they ended up taking the majority of the waiter’s attention but the food, when it arrived, was undeniably fantastic and it was easy to discover why the place was so full.

When food began to be digested and plates began to empty the place quietened down (a lot of this had to do with the sliding away of Tinchy’s group of friends) and once we went to exit upstairs another line of people had begun to queue in anticipation of a table.

Tired and ready for bed, the two of us returned with a view to do it all again tomorrow.

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