Being at Upgrade Pack for 5 weeks I can say I’ve definitely learnt a lot from the whole team; I’ve picked up on so many great skills and become so much more experienced. Leaving university leaves you strapped with a qualification for the future but it does, however, leave you inexperienced and nowhere near prepped for the real world. I’ve been lucky enough to land an internship with this great company. Coming here for my first full time role has made me more productive, more experienced, and generally left me feeling much more prepared to enter the workplace.
1) Caffeine & enough rest
Being involved with a startup it is essential to be fast paced and efficient with your time. I learned that within the first week - coming from university, and having a very relaxed timetable, it was quite a shock to come into full time work. I’ve learned to keep myself on the ball and get enough rest (having the occasional help from caffeine!) to keep up with the fast pace and be constantly productive with my time. Although I am in a fast environment, making sure research comes out at a high standard takes time and is very important to me, so taking a few days to do a piece of work has been fine as long as it is done to a high standard. There is no point in being quick if the work comes out awful, finding the balance at being fast and producing good quality work has been the best skill I’ve taken. Always measure the result not just the hours put in.
2) Ask any questions at any time
Honestly, starting any job is nerve racking. As I’ve never worked in London, or worked full time, I found I was quite shy at the beginning when it came to asking questions. I didn’t want to be asking silly questions that were easy to answer; I wanted to figure it out on my own. As time progressed I realised its ok to ask any question, it’s the only way to learn. Realising I wasn’t actually expected to know how to do everything was in itself a learning curve, I was actually more productive when I asked questions because I had more of an idea of what I was expected to do.
3) How to use software effectively
I can now say I can use software to a high standard. It’s actually all so technical - knowing how to use each program properly so that you’re not asking for help every two seconds can be a tough one to get your head around. They don't teach this at school or university. I am now a software expert thanks to being taught how to use everything properly (of course no where near good as Craig, our CEO, who manages to do things in seconds where it takes me a half hour of panicking).
4) Take every bit of advice that’s offered
Working for Upgrade Pack I’ve had the opportunity to work with really smart people who have had a lot of experience in their area of expertise. Speaking to some of the team on a regular basis and being offered advice here and there has essentially opened my eyes. Not only has their advice genuinely helped me but it has also led me to further opportunities which I am so grateful for - every piece of advice goes a long way.
5) Take on any responsibility
I’ve been very fortunate in that every task I’ve been given I’ve genuinely learned from. Even the long research challenges that took me days. From proofreading legal documents to handing out leaflets and inputting data onto spreadsheets; every one of the tasks I’ve been given I’ve taken something from. I’ve taken on any responsibility given to me and it’s the best thing I could have done for myself. It has kept me constantly learning and has taught me to adapt quickly to new situations.
Some tasks have taken me a while. For example, I had a massive research task in the middle of my internship. It took me a good few days and sent me a little bit crazy when I couldn’t find the information I wanted. But - even though certain bits of information took me a while to find - having it finished (and to a high standard) felt great in the end. It felt like I’d accomplished something.
7) Maintaining professionalism
Due to my lack of experience in this kind of environment, knowing how to be professional is a learning curve. I am in a very friendly, easy-going team. But this, of course, doesn’t mean professionalism goes out the window. Working here has taught me that you can be friends with colleagues (of any level) and still get the task at hand done, whilst maintaining a professional manner throughout. It’s what’s great about working here; people can have a chat and a laugh but everyone gets on with producing great work.
8) Confidence booster
Working here really has been a confidence booster. I feel more confident to go out and look for a job and be part of a team then I ever was before. It has taught me to voice my opinion and say how I feel. It has shown me how to be apart of a team and bounce ideas of each other.
9) Take breaks
There have absolutely been times the work hasn’t come to me straight away and I’ve researched for hours on the same topic attempting to find the information I want. It doesn’t help to go over it over and over again. I’ve learnt to take a step back, catch a breath, and then come back to it with a fresh mindset. Working here has taught me you wont always get the answer or the information you want, as long as you’ve exhausted all attempts possible its ok to take a break and come back to it or to move on to a different task.
10) Enjoy yourself!
Last but not least, I’ve had fun. It has taught me that you can have fun at work. Things like having time on a Thursday known as ‘Dolly the trolley’ in the office where we have a few drinks and catch up about the week. Or how we can all choose the songs on Spotify for the day. Going for lunch as a team to celebrate my leaving, etc. All these things create a good working life and make it even more enjoyable with things to look forward to. Not only has it been a great atmosphere, I felt really valued as an employee working here.