From learning how to handle a difficult call, to brushing up on forgotten Excel formulae, not to mention an introduction to the fast-paced world of digital marketing, my time at ICS-digital has taught me many useful skills that are sure to benefit me in my future endeavours.
However, some of the most important and valuable lessons I’ve learnt have been unrelated to business or work. These are, nonetheless, mantras that I will be able to take into any social or work environment I might encounter in the future.
Here is my list of four rather ordinary, but also integral, life lessons that I’ve gained from my time working at ICS-digital.
1. Food, weather and weekend plans are great conversation starters
I can safely say that my kitchen small talk has definitely improved since working for ICS-digital. As an undergrad, my go-to conversation starters were limited to what degree you did, or which library you were choosing to revise in that day.
Who knew that guessing each other’s weekend plans, or what we were all having for dinner that night, could spark such stimulating discussions; leaps and bounds more exciting than chatting about what time the library was due to close on Sunday.
Extra tip: bringing in some chat-worthy food for the office will always get you extra brownie points.
2. Memes are always appreciated (within reason)
Whilst office meme etiquette requires a more tasteful approach than the tactics you might apply in your friendship group chats, I’ve learnt that a good meme never goes unappreciated. It’s important to keep office spirits high, and a funny animal video, or work-related pun, can go down a treat on a Tuesday afternoon.
Proof: Adding a little pun to the bottom of my suggestion box proposal not only made someone giggle, but also made one of my wildest office cheese dreams come true.
3. Learn how to make drinks properly
A good brew can go a long way in terms of improving someone’s day, and learning everyone’s tea preferences can save a lot of time in drink rounds.
Unfortunately, drink preferences here are almost as diverse as our range of office nationalities. Nevertheless, it’s important to make sure you know who takes sweetener over sugar, ‘bag-in’ or ‘bag-out’, and who that one person in the office is who has their tea black (I know, weird…).
That’s only the tea part covered, though – coffee belongs to a whole other institution. After completing a pretty rigorous apprenticeship in coffee making, I’ve finally nailed the perfect bean to water ratio. It seems the general consensus is ‘the stronger the better’, and since coffee seems to be the chosen drug for the majority of the office, don’t dare mess it up.
4. Always wear a helmet
I was quick to ditch my helmet after a couple of practice runs getting into work in my first week, plagued by the fear that someone might spot me lamely cycling along with an egg on my head. But one rainy Thursday evening changed this all. If it weren’t for my regular commute to ICS-digital, and the almost-fatal clash I incurred with a little Toyota Vitz, I may have been moving down to London with the intention of sporting a bare head on far more dangerous roads.
Lesson learnt: safety over style, always.