Friday, 20 March 2009

Survival of the fittest? I best get to the gym!

In his latest blog entry "Survival of the fittest" Richard Bailey discusses the different types of placement students. The two types according to Richard are closed and open. He explains that the closed students "take a self-centred view of their placement year. 'It's all about me: my role, my aspirations, my portfolio.'" and that they are confident, assertive and sure to succeed in good times. The only problem is that we are living in volatile times, businesses are being asked to do more for less and having to be extremely adaptable in the process. Richard points out that closed students would be much better off if they "get their heads down and show some adaptability". What I think Richard is trying to say is that in these testing times, a student has got to be a whole number of things, not just a P.R student collecting pieces for their portfolio. They will gain much more cache if they roll their sleeves up and help the team wade through this financial quagmire. Richard goes on to say that a closed student will find it difficult to adapt, so it is the tutors job to make them see the bigger picture.

The other side of the coin is the open student, described by Richard as "much less confident of their abilities and have a more flexible view of their role in the placement organisation." these type of students are thriving because they are adaptable and can turn their hand to all sorts of different tasks, such as marketing, sales and that dreaded word admin. Richard comments that adaptability within an organization is "a good survival strategy" and that tutors have to work with open students to coax out their confidence, whilst helping them understand the relationship between their degree course and their role during their placement.

This all got me thinking about my future placement and also how I have acted whilst on my previous placements. My first placement was with a Leeds based consultancy, I worked one day a week and my responsibilities included photocopying and making the tea. Now I expected to be given very little responsibility but after five weeks working 9-6 and not getting paid, I made my excuses and left. I had taken the placement to get a feel for what it was like to work in a consultancy and also hoped that I would be able to get a piece for my portfolio, I thought this was not to much to ask after working very hard on organizing the massive back log of press cuttings. In my fifth week when I asked if I could have a go at writing a press release and was turned down, I decided to call it a day. If I would have stuck at it for a few more weeks would my portfolio now be bulging with pieces? I very much doubt it, but maybe if I would have been a little bit more "open" chances may have started to materialise.

Anyway I secured a two week placement at Trimedia UK in Roundhay, which although was again unpaid, I was determined to be paid in portfolio pieces. Two weeks later I had three superb pieces, I had not photocopied a single thing and I was tremendously upbeat about working in a consultancy. The staff were warm and welcoming, they gave me credible tasks which involved me using my initiative and allowed me to be creative.

Now although my placement year is approximately 16 months away, I have begun to think seriously about the type of placement I want and the skills that I will have to develop to succeed. I know however after my brief experience of working in P.R that I will have to be the open student that Richard talks about, I will have to develop my adaptability and master the art of SURVIVAL.

It is now 3.30pm on a warm Friday afternoon, I am retiring for the day. I hear the Oak beer garden is splendid this time of year.

I am still having problems with the Video of my interview with Lewis. I have formatted it and compressed it but still Youtube won't have it. I will work on getting up by Sunday.

Yesterday my press release about Superpowerless was published in the Pontefract and Castleford express. I will scan it in for your reading pleasure very soon.

Good afternoon


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