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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rule Number 1: Think Before Hitting Publish

...That wasn't very clever of me. A while back, I wrote an entry on this little blog - as I usually do, just off the cuff and without any planning or drafts, very much like just putting down what I felt at that exact moment in time. I was less than positive about my employer for my forthcoming placement, and this evening I received a phone call from one of the guys about this.

How did they find out? Apparently they'd got someone new in as a Press Officer, and evidently they're a fan of Googling for the company name and scouring through the results to find any relevant information - can't fault them for doing their job, if they found my blog they must be REALLY searching thoroughly! But this hit home hard, because I'd never considered in a million years that something I'd just written quickly without even really thinking about it would turn round to bite me in the arse, and I was very unfair in what I said.

You read about people who blog for Microsoft or big City law firms who get subsequent punishment for saying things they shouldn't have, and now it's my turn to get a bit of it. The original post has now been shuffled off back to the ether from whence it came for a very good reason, but the damage is done - I'm not sure if my placement is still on, pending further discussion with the label's boss (who's currently on holiday, and I fully expect to have a long telephone conversation with when he gets back), but the decision's entirely up to him.

Why did I write what I did in the first place? Well, I might not say it, but I'm very nervous about this placement. I want to do well, and I look forward to all the opportunities for getting experience in the industry along with all the years of experience my employers already have, but at the same time the other part of my brain is constantly worrying about how I'll cover costs, find enough money for rent, money to eat, money for uni fees. The uni fees are a bit less of a problem, because they're halved if you do a sandwich year, but at the same time the student loan is halved (whoever thought of that idea needs a smack). Unfortunately, none of the other costs involved with a tenancy decrease - rent has gone up, in fact, along with the utility bills, other living costs, and food's always a factor you can never reliably predict. I'm currently working nights - an unloved thing, and something I'm really not enjoying at the moment - in order to try and build up enough reserve funds to try and get me through next year, hardly the most enjoyable way to spend your summer, so in that respect I'm a little bit jealous of people I speak to who've been offered paid placements. However, I also understand that with other companies in other market sectors, their larger budgets and suchlike - but by the same token, the wealth of experience I can draw on next year is invaluable in comparison, something I think I forgot about. The previous concerns haven't gone away though, so it's something I'll just have to work out - just like everybody else. I'm always pretty worried about how I'll get along - I don't want to run out of money mid-year and have that disrupt my placement, because I want to become part of the team and help the company grow and become more successful.

However, a few sentences written in haste without much thought to their consequences might have ruined all that, and I'm gutted. I can only hope that my boss-to-be recognises that I'm 100% up for the placement, and takes into account all the effort I've already put in and work I've done even though my placement hasn't properly started yet. I'm grateful for all the opportunities I've been given already, and any I may get in the future - nothing's a free ride, especially in these years of tightened pursestrings and slimmed-down operations affecting all aspects of the industry, and I don't expect to be given one. (particularly not now). My original post stemmed partly from me worrying about my own finances, partly from worry about what exactly I'll be doing next year as I still don't fully know what's going to be expected of me, and partly because I want to make sure that I fulfil the criteria of my placement as specified by my University in order to qualify - and complete - the sandwich year requirements.

This is a big thing for me, having the chance to get a year's worth of experience in this industry, I've underplayed that aspect - the offer that's been extended to me is a great one, and I don't think I've expressed my true feelings enough on that. I've certainly made an effort, but that's all probably been overshadowed by this mistake. It's certainly not the best start to any placement... I can only hope it doesn't have further serious repercussions for me if I have the opportunity to pursue a career in this industry in a few years to come, because one of the things about this industry is that if one person can read it, they can tell their friends, who tell their friends... And in no time at all, you're being laughed out of the building. This may have also irreparably damaged relations with the company and my University too, something which I'll be even more frustrated with myself about, because you are both a representative of your Uni and the company you're working for, and I totally forgot about that too.

Here's hoping that the placement's still on in two weeks' time, because I really want to do it - and I hope my mistakes prove to be a lesson to everyone who might think 'oh, that'll never happen to me.' Think before you write, because you might never have it so good for a long time.

The only consolation in this matter is that I'm fairly sure I have a nil readership of this thing, as it's completely uninteresting, but I knew that for a long time.

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