Surviving Work Experience


They don’t like you. They don’t want you. But, more importantly, they don’t need you. Work experience is so boring that it’ll make you beg for the library, crave tutorials and plead to be deaned. In order to avoid complete sensory collapse, we’ve come up with a few tips for keeping your mind active, when common sense says it should still be sleeping.

Bring your own laptop, so that you don’t have to feel guilty about Facebooking on the office computer. It also helps to have a smartphone, although older Nokia uses have ‘Snake’ and we’re all jealous of that. Instagramming photos of used coffee cups is an essential part of the journey, not to mention Snapchatting increasingly disgusted photos of your face.


The coffee machine/water cooler is the mecca of any workplace. It ought to be frequented at least twice an hour, so long as no-one calls you out on it. Be experimental with how you take your flat white; now is the perfect time for you to try Splenda. Offering to fetch coffees for your co-workers will endear you and also excuse your excessively frequent visits.

Most work experiencers will get an hour for their lunch break. If you take any less than the full 60 minutes then you are an utter fool and deserve endless, purgatorial boredom. The temptation to go to Pret or get a Tesco meal deal will be strong, but if you and your colleagues dress it up as a ‘business lunch’ then a leisurely Nando’s visit might be on the cards. If you are ever told to bring your food back to the office, refuse point blank. It’s unsanitary.

Clock-watching is dangerous, because it’ll appear to be spiting you. Avoid your watch during the day and you’ll get to enjoy a pleasant sense of shock when you realise that the hours have ticked away and it’s almost home time. And, as soon as it’s 5:30 you better be out of the door like a rat from a tube. Staying late during work experience is for nerds.

Making yourself useful will be almost impossible. After all, what can an untrained 19-year-old bring to an international company? If they give you a taste that you enjoy, do it enthusiastically. If they give you a task that you don’t enjoy, do it slowly and sulkily. It’s a form of Pavlovian conditioning that will, eventually, result in them only giving you your happy, shiny, sparkly tasks.




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