Published: June 16th 2012June 16th 2012
While in London this summer, I am working at International Collective, which is, in its simplest form, an artist management and event planning firm in the Covent Garden of London. My title at work is the Accounts Intern, but based on my work so far and looking forward to the weeks to come, I see myself being an intern of many jobs – like a dog of many tricks.
My first day at work was a bit of a shock. Everything about the office was different than I thought it would be (I guess that is to be expected at any new job or internship, though). When I first walked into the building, the décor struck me. Much of the building is very modern – dimly lit with hard, white furniture and shades of pink and blue bulbs scattered throughout the area. There are also rooms not set up this way, which are used for rehearsals, castings, and some events. The main office does not have modern décor, either. It is located in the back of the main floor and houses about 90% of the company’s employees –13 people – including the interns, office manager, and most of the company's departments. It is one large room with a desk attached to the wall that circles around just more than half of the room’s circumference, and everyone has their own portion of this desk. There are no cubicles or separators to mark the workers’ “territories,” everyone stays in their own space and interacts with one another at all times throughout the day. I was completely surprised by this because from what I was expecting in the states, many offices have cubicles that separate everyone’s work space, thus blocking them off from easily interacting. However, London is not this way at all. The company does not have many meetings because they can go to any department at any time to easily communicate a question or concern.
Everyone in the office is very fun and relaxed, and there is an enjoyable, positive atmosphere. The office made this clear the first day. For example, one of the women’s titles is “Deputy Manager,” so, as a joke, she saluted the interns as she introduced herself. I, on the other hand, was very tense upon entering the building and throughout my first week. I still do not feel entirely comfortable kidding around because I feel that I am being unprofessional, but in reality, the office is still a professional place executing professional business, even with the humor.
In the office, people use terms that I rarely hear in the states on a regular basis, like “wicked” for “awesome” or “lovely” for “good to hear.” Profanity is also used more freely in the office here than I had expected or than I had ever heard in an office in the U.S. Listening to the vocabulary each day reminds me of the variety of business methods there are around the world and makes me curious to learn about and experience even more.