More Than Photocopying: work experience at Octopus Group

Annabelle Matthews joined Octopus Group for 3 days to experience the work place first hand. These are her thoughts as she goes back to school to focus on her A-levels. Good luck Annabelle.


Work always seems to be something far away in the distant future when you’re drowning in text books and frantically writing essay after essay. However, with each year that passes, the concept of actually getting a job and starting a career gets closer and closer. So, when is it a good time to start thinking about a career? I don’t think there is a right or a wrong time, you just have to go for it.

As a child, I dreamed of being a rock-star (I know, what a walking, talking – or should I say singing – cliché), but in reality I can’t sing, dance or play an instrument! So, with no dream job, what can I do?! In all honesty, I don’t have a clue and, quite frankly, I don’t think most people do either!  

After fainting from the mere sight of a needle, I knew I wasn’t destined to be a doctor. My lack of mathematical insight ruled out engineering. Slowly I was crossing professions off the list and beginning to wonder, what can I see myself doing?

Well, there are millions of jobs out there and you don’t need to limit yourself to any particular one, especially not while still at college. But I think beginning to get a grasp of some ideas, or perhaps a field of work, can help you to tailor your studies towards potential careers.

At one of the career meetings organised for all of us students, one woman gave a speech about the work she does at a Marketing and PR agency. She described having constant variety every day due to the mix of different clients, how there are lots of positions available – such as developing of ideas and projects, copywriting, client relationships or sales – depending on your strengths and interests.

To me, it sounded like a fun, engaging job that appeals to my own strengths and interests. Her speech inspired me to look deeper into the marketing world. The more I looked, the more interested I became. By emailing several organisations, I gathered more understanding about this area of work and hoped to book in some work experience. I was incredibly fortunate to find Octopus Group and even more fortunate to find they would allow me to come in and do some work experience with them.

The fact I was about to walk into a real working office only sank in on the train journey down. The queries, questions, doubts, confusion, nerves and excitement all flooded into my head as I realised I did not know what the next few days would hold.

The transition from studying at college to an actual workplace is a strange one. Whilst sat studying, you dream of a time after all the exams and learning are over, but when you take your first steps into an office, no matter how many daydreams you have drifted into, you can only prepare yourself to an extent because the mysteries of working life are yet to unravel.

In my opinion, through doing work experience, it is just as important to find something you don’t like, as it is something you do.  My work experience was a perfect way to dip my toes into the large pool of future opportunity. I found it fascinating in terms of the learning curve and gained familiarity with the working environment. My great experience with Octopus Group also increased my interest in the big, wide world of marketing.

Who knows what the future holds? Certainly not me, but I am beginning to develop some ideas regarding potential future prospects. There is no need to feel overwhelmed or anxious when thinking about the future because, in reality, there is a huge world of possibility waiting for you, and that is exciting.