Charlie Bunn joined the Magenta team for a week’s work experience. Here he writes about his adventures.
It may be of those semi-mythic activities which generally only happen in sit-coms, but this week I rode the tube from one end to the other. Well, from one end of the Metropolitan line to the other. Accompanying Cathy on a couple of client meetings in London, I found myself riding from Uxbridge to Aldgate and thinking how bizarre this whole travelling lark is. Seasoned pro that she is Cathy somehow contrives to make every second of the journey productive. At the first hint of time spent away from the office out comes the laptop or the iPhone, often simultaneously, accompanied by a notepad and her work commences. There are no wasted seconds, the last minute scramble to find tube tickets aside, and I admit that such incredible use of time is a skill I am far from mastering. My attempt at tube-board laptop use resulted in a very jittery few seconds of trying to maintain my precarious hold over my PC so that it didn’t simply crash to the floor. It was perhaps three minutes before I admitted defeat and passed my time reading the tube map time and time again.
Now in a week with Magenta I have undoubtedly learnt much and certainly been productive but I have also spent a lot of time on trains. A lot of time. Even Cathy is occasionally stumped when she enters an area without Wi-Fi. Me, while commuting I’ve finished the book I was reading, worn down my I-pod battery twice and developed fairly constant back ache but nothing which could be described as particularly constructive. And that’s the other thing, even though I’m 19 and on work experience I’m not completely unfamiliar with working all day, but I’ve not been confined to the same chair for so long before and my body’s rebelling. My back hurts, my neck hurts and now when I stand up my legs are not so much instruments of stability and propulsion as collapsible jelly sticks. Strangely I’m more tired from this than I have been from weeks of physical labour which I’ve previously endured.
Incidentally a Magenta client told me that an office-based worker will put on an average of 2kg a year in weight more than an ‘active’ worker, a depressing statistic which means that my mere presence is causing me to gain weight I can ill afford. This slide hasn’t been helped by the mountains of food I’ve made my way through, I’ve been treated to lunches and snacks and I find that my journey home passes in a satisfied haze if I have one of the delicious bagels from a shop I’ve found waiting in my pocket. At least if I’m lucky enough to find space to eat it. And this search for the empty seat, preferably two side by side has become my personal Everest. This week I’ve been squashed against the window by a caricature of every conceivable stereotype, the fat man with the greasy tie armed with a donut, a teenage Gangsta with gigantic headphones and baggy jeans, and an old lady who spent at least 20 minutes mindlessly bellowing ‘hello?’ into a phone that I’m 90 per cent sure was switched off. Initially it’s all quite amusing. Initially.
I’m worried now that I’ve made my time here sound exceedingly miserable which is far from the case. All the people I’ve met have been kind and helpful, I’ve learnt a lot of things and I’ve been enjoying myself, certainly it has been a worthwhile experience, even if every time I’ve told someone I’m doing work experience they’ve automatically assumed I’m 16 or 17 and killing time during half term. I might have to take up drinking on street corners just so everyone knows I’ve left school. Seriously though I’ve had good fun and even though I got home too late for the Arsenal match one night I’ve had my first Wagamama’s and I liked it, so that’s okay.
So it just goes to show that if you do a week’s work experience at Magenta, you’ll really go places … literally. And of course in the future. All the best, Charlie – from Cathy and Marianne