Laura reflects on her placement so far…
The Christmas trees are up here at Real Gap and i to i and the office has taken on a really festive feel. And with Christmas break only a week away, now seems a good time to reflect on my placement so far and share with you some of the things I’ve learned – both in work and out.
My main project here at Real Gap and i to i is going fairly well so far. I’ve put a lot of work and a lot of time in which has culminated in a proposal which my MD was really pleased with and a massive amount of learning for me.
I think the thing I’ve been most proud of so far with regard to my project is that it takes into account not only what I can do but also what other people around the office are already doing/thinking about doing. For me, it’s important that whatever I do fits into the bigger picture and adds value to the whole, whilst also having its individual merits – it needs to be managed and continued long after I’m gone so a project which fits in with other projects and therefore resourcing constraints was always important to me.
I’ve also spent time moving around the business and understanding different elements and how they work together. I’ve even managed to fit in visits to our internal PPC agency and the Education Division’s Christmas Conference, so I’m getting a really good insight into the business and TUI as a whole.
However, the past couple of months have also had their challenges – all of which are, of course, great development opportunities. The business I’m in has faced its own difficulties recently which has been a challenging time for everyone and being sensitive to that has been a real eye opener. It’s one thing to discuss potential changes to be made which will help a business but seeing things pan out in reality when you’re really close to the situation can be hard.
On top of this, there are resourcing considerations which I hadn’t really thought about – there are people I need to help me put my plans into action and scheduling that work in can be a longer-than-I’d-like process.
But the thing that I have found most challenging is actually much more personal. I came into this process with big ambitions; I wanted to achieve a lot, to change a lot and to have a huge impact. But one person can’t change the world over night, just as one graduate can’t make a massive impact in just 3 months and, much as I’d love to see all my ideas implemented and in motion by the end of January, it’s simply not going to happen. Instead, it’s important for me to see the bigger picture and get as much out of the placements as I can, confident that I have satisfied/surpassed the expectations of my superiors and that my work will continue to show benefits long after I’m gone.
Another big lesson I’ve learned so far is to look after myself. It’s easy when you’re so driven to succeed (and when your understanding of success is so ambitious) to work all the hours you can and drive yourself to exhaustion, when in fact taking the time to have a break and relax will actually make you much more effective. I’m learning to really look after my work/life balance and to take the time to go to the gym, to cook healthy food (at the moment all I eat is Supernoodles!) and to generally just relax! It seems obvious but a key lesson for me to take throughout my 18 months.
Challenges are always going to face us, and they don’t end with those I’ve listed here, but the opportunities these bring us to learn and develop are huge and exactly what the grad scheme is all about.
Looking ahead, there’s plenty to do! It’s incredible how quickly time has passed and it’s only a few weeks until my next placement begins. But, for now, I wish the other graduates and everyone reading this a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! May the festive season bring with it good friends, good family and some well deserved relaxation time!