Watching Expectations

Next week I embark on a two-week work placement with a local children’s publishers. It’s the fruit of a proactive nature and not being afraid to pester via emails – something that has given me great opportunities in the past. I’m now faced with the unknown – it’s a company I found through endless searching for anything not London-based, as far as I can tell it’s relatively small, and I have no idea what they’re going to give me to do for the fortnight to come. My email correspondents have been very friendly and happy to accommodate me; the first stated she was in charge of the Editorial Internship scheme which I hadn’t realised actually existed. But now I’m trying to keep a lid on my expectations, and step into it with an open mind and willing hands.

The main cause for my slightly lofty hopes is the work experience I had with the Puffin & Warne section of Penguin Books in 2012. It was just a week, but working under the Editorial Assistant gave me phenomenal insight into the world of publishing. From the word go I was filling order forms to send new books to authors and their respective agents, commenting on completely unread manuscripts, re-writing and copy editing little inserts in soon-to-be-published children’s books, and generally getting well and truly stuck in. Not once was I asked to make tea, and my half-dozen mood boards to help with the rebranding of Flower Fairies were taken into all sorts of official meetings so who knows, something I thought of might have actually been used. It was a brilliant week, and the team I worked with were keen to let me get really involved straight away – only when there were no more ‘real’ tasks was I asked to tidy the Peter Rabbit cupboard (consisting of 7 shelves and a ladder).

So I think it’s safe to say I was rather spoilt – that week was exactly what it would be like to work in that office. I wasn’t the run around; I was valued, and taken for lunch to go over how to get into publishing by someone just a few years older. I’ve since discovered that the wonderful woman who took me under her wing has had a huge promotion, and I’m not surprised. She was inspiring and encouraging, and cemented my pursuit of that career.

I have no idea if next week is going to resemble that experience in any way. I like to think that given my slightly extended period of time there, I’ll be able to move between tasks and gain a little more understanding of the company as a whole. But I’m being careful – I cannot expect anything close to the scale of such a huge, established, and well-known company. Yet at the same time mustn’t underestimate the smaller industries, finding those authors rejected by the big boys, making a huge difference on a smaller scale. Either way, I’m keeping my mind clear, and looking forward to stepping ever closer to that elusive graduate job. Fingers, toes, and everything else crossed that they decide I’m worth it..!

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