Upon my return to the office Debbie gave me a piece of paper and told me to go and make one thousand two hundred copies of it. Tina came with me to show me how to work the photocopier. Returning to the office with the huge wad of letters in my arms, I was delighted to be given a more forgiving job of looking through the return slips from the GPs about the dinner they were invited to and save them onto the database. After three hours of working, Nikki and I went to lunch. I found the morning quite stressful and felt nervous inside mainly because everyone and everything was new to me.
My mothers’ friend Nikki came in to get us to go with her but Debbie declined the offer, as she was going to lunch with someone else. Nikki is also my friend Sam’s mother so I got on quite well with her. At lunch it was much less tense, we talked about people we knew. In the afternoon I had to help Debbie with something on the BUPA website. I had to create a profile for two doctors that had not yet been registered on the website.
I was nervous about the work I had to do because it had to be 100% accurate but was pleased that they had given me this task to complete. I was supposed to leave at 3.00pm with Tina but I forgot my house keys so I had to wait until after 4. 00pm when my mother had finished work. I sat around doing nothing for ages. I tried to go on a games website without anyone noticing but it was blocked, and when the page saying ‘THIS PAGE HAS BEEN BLOCKED’ came up I was rather worried that someone might see that page and think I had been looking at something I shouldn’t have. This concerned me so I did not try again. When I arrived on the second day I was still a bit nervous, but I had spoken to some of my friends the previous night and felt that I was doing well in comparison.
On arrival I greeted by everyone. Once again Debbie asked me to open the post; this time there was not such a large pile. The majority of the post was replies for the GP dinner; the rest was just junk mail. I had to sort all the replies into ‘yes’ and ‘no’ piles and then put them onto the database. Up until then I had done exactly the same as Monday. I thought to myself, ‘This could get very tiring very quickly. ‘ Debbie asked me to do five hundred photocopies. Later that day the Personnel Manager came in to speak to Debbie. She also asked me briefly if I would be interested in some part-time work.
After that another lady came in, I am not sure of her position but she was asking Debbie for advice on the transition of a PowerPoint presentation. Debbie helped her for awhile then had to rush off to a meeting leaving it on her screen. I looked at the work on screen, realised that I knew what to do, and finished the presentation. Debbie came back and was delighted with what I had done was also overjoyed that I had completed it for her. That day I made sure I remembered my keys. Tina gave me a lift home with Eileen, the receptionist. Tina did not work on Wednesdays.
I walked into the office and Nikki said, “Jus’ me an’ you today mate. ” She speaks in a very friendly tone making her sound immediately welcoming. That day was a bit quieter because there was less company; I was left on my own a few times. It was a bit boring compared to the other days because Tina was not in. She is very talkative and I got on better with Tina than Debbie, mainly because I spent more time with her. I did not have to open the post on Thursday which was a good start. I worked with Nikki, the Customer Complaints Administrator.
I found Nikki quite friendly, having eaten lunch with her every day. Whenever people phoned up she put it on headset and I listened through the telephone. This was fun, more eventful than photocopying anyway. BUPA do leaflets in the outpatients ward that are instructions on how to self-diagnose. Nikki is in charge of keeping these leaflets topped up, so we took a break from the phone calls to do this part of the job. Then Nikki had to deal with a rather difficult customer complaining about an operation called Bat Ear Treatment (getting your ears pinned back) that he had over a year ago.
He was complaining that it had gone wrong and now wanted a free operation to fix it. So while she was busy she left me to deal with the leaflets. That afternoon was extremely monotonous. I was given two twenty-six page long lists. One with the details of all of BUPA’s consultants from last year, and one of all the updated information for this year. I had to carefully scan through to find any changes, and if I found any I had to highlight them. This took all of Thursday afternoon. When I woke up on my last day I had a horrible feeling in the bottom of my stomach.
I did not want to go back to school. Though I did not realise it during the process, when I thought about it, I much preferred work experience to school. I wore my best shirt for the last day, and newly ironed trousers. I went in, got my name badge and sat down in the familiar office. I had a little chat with Debbie and Tina before settling down to work. Debbie asked me to ‘finish’ the consultants list. It was not so much a case of finishing it, more a case of getting started. I had already spent three hours on Thursday doing it and was less than a quarter of the way through it.
I cracked on with it, and sooner than I thought lunch sprang upon us. I made the most of lunch, prolonging it by buying a packet of Maltesers and eating them very slowly. When we eventually did have to go back I quietly pointed out to Tina how tiresome the job was. She was very considerate and offered me another task of scanning through the newspapers looking for any advertisements or stories about healthcare. I do not think I have ever been more excited about reading a newspaper. That job lasted around thirty minutes, then back to the lists.
I worked hard during the rest of the afternoon and managed to finish ten minutes before leaving. I expressed my gratitude to all my colleagues, then left with Tina. The majority of the work was interesting but I found some of the tasks very mundane. The whole of the BUPA work force treated me as an equal. I greatly appreciated this as I am only used to being treated as an adult when out with parents, friends or family. The greatest responsibility that was placed on me was doing the web profiles for the two consultants perfect.
They were for public view and any mistakes I made would not be altered before they were placed on the website. Surprisingly, I did not find the placement at all tiring. This is possibly because I woke up an hour and a half later than usual and got home an hour and a half before usual. The only contact I had with the public was when I was filling up the leaflets in the outpatients department and when I was listening to the phone calls in the customer complaints department. The hardest and most boring aspect was by far the analyzing work I did on the last two days.
During the rest of the week I was not particularly eager to go home, but after the analyzing on Thursday and Friday I could not wait to get home. The most enjoyable aspect of the week was working in the customer complaints department listening to the phone calls. I learnt a lot about myself: that I am better at listening than I thought, that I have quite good people skills, I got on really well with all of the office staff, especially my Supervisor, her Assistant and the Customer Complaints Administrator. I learned a lot about marketing itself.
Before I went on work experience I thought it was just advertising on television and newspapers and so forth. But I now know that it is a very interesting aspect of office work that I would definitely consider doing when I am older. Work placement brought home to me how important it is to do well at school and university so that you can enter work at a graduate level and secure a job with greater challenges and opportunities. Marketing is all about attracting people to come to you rather than other firms of a similar business.
Hospital marketing is slightly different; instead of just trying to appeal to the customers you have to try to get GPs to refer their customers to the consultants at your hospital. You also have to get consultants to stay at your hospital, and you obviously have to get customers to come to your hospital. One of the reasons that I found it so beneficial was because I was treated as an adult the whole time, whereas at school, students are treated like children, as if they do not know anything most of the time. I also found that the work load was easier on work experience.
This is probably because it was only work experience, but still, when you left work it was over; no homework. I think that when you are a student at school and university, you look forward to finishing it and moving onto a new chapter of their life. However, when you start working, that is it – that is what you will be doing for the rest of your life until you retire. That in itself is rather daunting. Looking back on what I did, there would be a few things that I would do differently if given the chance. On the first day I was instructed to photocopy one thousand two hundred letters.
The marketing assistant came with me and showed me how everything worked and told me how to do this job specifically. She said that if I had any problems, go and see her. As soon as she left, there was a problem – I could not load up the paper properly. So naturally I pressed all the buttons, anxious to show her that I did listen and that I could get it right, but then the photocopies started making a funny beeping noise, so I gave in and went to see her about it. She came and showed me how to do it and, not surprisingly, it was something she had shown me how to do.
So looking back I would have listened better and made sure I understood instructions. Secondly I had not envisaged how friendly everyone would be until the end of the week and was pleased how well I had got on with them. I wish I had been more open to discussion and friendlier towards the start of the week and this would have made the whole week more enjoyable. Finally, one of the other things that made me rather annoyed with myself was that one day while I was sitting in the office the Human Resources Manager came in to speak to my supervisor.
I said, “Hello,” and shook her hand and she realised that I was the work experience placement and said, “We might be able to offer you a part-time job, if you’re interested? ” I just nodded and mumbled “Yes. ” This, I think made her think that I was not particularly interested, but I am desperate for a part-time job. If I got the chance to repeat this I would have been very friendly towards her and been very enthusiastic when she mentioned the job.