A Week in the Life of an Octopede: Bailey Hewitt

During my half term (instead of sleeping in until 2pm for an entire week or revising non-stop), I decided to do a work placement at Octopus Group. Going into 222 Gray's Inn Road, I had no idea what to expect and had so many questions to ask as I have no background in business whatsoever. It was quite daunting entering an office, but I wanted to find out more about the kind of career that might suit me and the education path I would need to take in order to achieve that.

My initial thoughts:

I see so many of my peers planning their futures to the last detail that I thought it was the norm and wanted to follow in their footsteps, admiring their ambition. But one thing I have learnt this week is that there’s no one right path into a certain line of work, and I can still study my favourite subjects without cutting off future job prospects. Speaking to people from a range of teams – from PR to graphic design – I learned that they all took different routes into their current roles. This made me realise that careers are much more dynamic, and that there’s a limit to how much planning you can do.

My experience:

Upon entering the office, I was taken aback with how kind and hospitable everyone was, even though no one had any idea who I was. I thought that the people I'd work with would roll their eyes as soon as I walked in, and be annoyed by all my questions, but everyone treated me like I was a full time member of the team. I felt like an Octopede from day one.

Throughout the week, I learned many new ideas and concepts that, in my opinion, a person my age could only learn from observing a work environment, and not from a classroom. One of the most important things was that feedback isn’t a bad thing, and is in fact beneficial. I always thought that you got feedback or criticism because you were doing something wrong. But feedback helps you to improve and expand your subject knowledge, making your work the best it can be. This may seem like a strange observation, but for me as a student who always aims to impress her teachers and the people around me, while being an independent learner, the concept that criticism isn’t a bad thing was entirely new.

Another observation I made during my time at Octopus Group was that everyone genuinely cares about their co-workers. I can’t speak on behalf of other businesses, obviously, but at OG it feels like one big family. That’s a key factor for why I enjoyed my time here so much. I felt appreciated and valued which, as a 16 -year old working in an office with people much older than me, I didn’t expect to feel.

Overall, my experience at Octopus Group was extremely positive. I not only learnt about the different roles, I learnt what my key strengths and weaknesses are. Without spending my half term here, I would never have learned that I was good at quickly processing information, or that I needed to be more vocal about when I’ve finished my tasks. Thank you to everyone at OG for giving me my first insight into the life of work that lies ahead of me.

Ed. Thank you Bailey, it was a pleasure to have someone so motivated, ambitious and proactive in the office. We're glad you enjoyed your time here and hope to see you again 🙂