Diary of My Work Experience

Day 1

Arrived 20 minutes early (because of the trains, it was a choice between 20 mins early or 10 mins late. I always go for early).

Spent the morning learning about the company – how it’s divisioned, who does what, how it works, what kind of projects they’re working on.

Spent the afternoon putting my maths skills to use by modelling some water flow. Took me a bit of time to figure out what was what, but my colleagues were more than willing to help me out!

Day 2

Spent the morning and early afternoon in the field, meeting with another firm that we were collaborating with on a big project. It was fascinating to sit in on video calls and learn about what kind of problems we needed to solve, and the possible solutions to those problems.

It was also interesting how informal the video conference was – people would walk in and out of the room, depending on whether they felt like it was a good use of their time or not. I sat there like a sponge, making notes.

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Afterwards, we went to see previous projects that my company had completed – it was fascinating to see how much had gone into all of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of something you might take for granted. Of course, some things were not working, and I found it very impressive how experience helps you diagnose these problems almost immediately.

On the way back to the office, we talked about the future of the company, and the steps to becoming more sustainable. This really interested me – and it made me feel more hopeful for the future.

On our way back to the office, I was taken on a tour of the area surrounding the office. It was a historically significant place, and I felt like it was a very quaint place, quite well-suited for a small, esteemed and creative company.

Day 3

I spent all of Day 3 in the office, continuing my calculations and writing up the report.

A colleague had set up one of the new apparatus outside, and showed me how it worked. It was beautiful.

Day 4

I used a formula and a bit Excel sheet to model the water flow as part of my work experience. I weirdly enjoyed it – it was satisfying and reassuring to be doing something I knew that I was good at in such an unfamiliar environment. Many colleagues who walked past asked me if I enjoyed that kind of thing – and I think that’s where I differ from most of the people there.

I have a knack for numbers, but that has led me to focus a lot on maths and solving problems, and less on my artistic and creative side. Everyone has a little creative rabbit in them somewhere – often, though, it’s hiding deep in its rabbit hole. Mine had its rabbit holes slowly filled in one by one – ever since I stopped drawing, stopped blogging, stopped singing, let piano slip – until eventually the only rabbit holes my creative bunny had time to emerge from were those for violin and fashion.

As a result, my creative rabbit has become uncertain of the outside world, and is not a very strong rabbit. Maybe I’ve taken this rabbit analogy a bit too far.

Maybe I’m one of those people who are supposed to be in the rat race. I sometimes feel like my soul is already drained, so what is there to lose?

Or maybe I’m just not feeling very inspired right now because I have some mock tests coming up.

By Ryan McGuire

After writing up my report and summary, a few colleagues gave me feedback on it. I wrote a new introduction geared towards a specific audience, I redid a few diagrams, I gave it a document ID – but most importantly, my colleagues gave meaning to the numbers I had calculated.

I had figured out the numbers, but I didn’t know how this would affect the design or impact the engineering. This is also what experience gives you – the ability to see what the consequences are of a certain decision or starting point.

Day 5

Another day in the field. Visited another design collaborator, and listened to all the nightmares of outsourcing designs for other people to deliver. It was quite sad to hear about how easily things can be botched up, and then it turns into a blame game between the various companies, to figure out who pays to fix it. But business is business, and I certainly think I learnt some business savvy at that meeting.

Afterwards, I was taken to see more of the previously installed projects that my company had done – each one was so different but still had that touch special to the company. I liked listening to the stories about the unique challenges of each project, and how they were overcome – some were completely wacky, such as one of my colleagues having to stay in a hatch for 2 and a half days with a thermos flask and a huge bag of sandwiches, or another time when they had to catch spiders before installing anything in case there was an extinct species living on the site!

Even the things that look so simple that you don’t think anything of them, are actually very thoroughly thought through. That is what sets apart quality, I think – the consideration of details that others would never think to consider, but makes the project easier to build or more satisfying to look at.


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