A New Chapter

What a busy start to September!

I’ve not had the time to just sit down in my own space to just take everything in and reflect. It was refreshing to wake up this morning and start the process of taking it all in. I emptied my bags that I have been living from the last two weeks then started organizing and clearing (those that know me well would know that this honestly is one of the most therapeutic things for me, ever. 😆)

If I were to describe these last two weeks in a word, it would have to be: overwhelming asf.

Back in my August reflection, I mentioned that completed my summer placement at the end of the month then went straight into traveling down to Ipswich for the start of my induction training for BT. Upon reflection, I wish I had taken some time off to just chill out.

View from BT Tower
View from BT Tower

The last couple of weeks of my placement was just intensely trying to hand over projects and finish any projects that I could. Not going to lie to you, it was stressful. But it all felt worth it in the end – I mean, who doesn’t like completed projects? But coming in with a less-than-100% capacity wasn’t my smartest move because I ended up getting quite ill in my second week. Needless to say, I learned a lot about burnout. That’s another topic for another day~

🌳Week 1: An introduction to the company

After some issues with getting to Ipswich from Leeds (missing your connecting train is never fun), we finally got to Ipswich after a 6-hour journey. Thankfully, I was with two other girls joining the DevOps scheme so I kept calm – if I was alone, I don’t think I would’ve handled it so well (so a huge shoutout to Hannah and Rabia for being angels the whole time 💜)

I honestly didn’t know what to expect of the week, this was the general consensus but I found the element of surprise fun!

Our week started off in Adastral Park in Ipswich, where BT Labs is based. These labs are the headquarters of research and development for the company: “a campus that covers 100 acres, and home to around 4000 scientists, IT experts and engineers. Innovators who’ve changed our world. Innovating to change tomorrow’s world.” The two days certainly showed this!

Graduate Induction welcome
Graduate Induction welcome at Adastral Park, Ipswich

My highlights at Adastral Park

  • Meeting so many new hires from across the business including Openreach, Global Services and of course, Consumer (the part of the business where I sit!)
  • Learning so much about BT:
    • The heritage – they’re the oldest communications company in the UK.
    • The goal, vision, strategy – to be a leader of converged technology and to add value, growth and use the power of communications to make a better world.
    • The impact – not only to power social media. For instance, the role of the network in air traffic control, emergency services, stock exchange, fleet vans.
    • The culture and values that bring people under One BT – Personal, Simple, Brillant.
    • The technology – I wish I could go into detail about the tech at BT, but that is way too complex! All I know for sure is that I kept saying, “THAT IS SO COOL.”
    • The opportunities available – outside my day job, I can get involved in so much including helping bring in talent with Campus Champions, helping with the corporate social responsibility and more!
“Purposeful innovation” in telecoms
  • Listening to talks on Brand (a personal favorite topic of mine)
    • Brand of the company – I found this interesting, I never really thought about how much of an impact brand had on influencing customers. An example I liked was water bottles, have you heard of someone say “Evian water tastes better, IT’S FROM THE MOUNTAINS!!!!” when they, in reality, it all taste the same? The power of a brand.
    • Personal brand – our personal brand is not what we think it is, it is how people perceive us i.e. talk about when we are not in the room. This was my favorite talk, we were given a sheet to reflect on What we stand for, What we offer and What we want to be. It was a great way to organize my thoughts, get to grips with my own brand and provided action points!
  • Learning about all the programme itself – they scheme is so exciting and full of opportunities. By day 2, I was excited to get into the office and just start!
  • Meeting Jake Humphrey
Adastral Park highlights
Adastral Park highlights

After 2 very full-on days at Ipswich, the next stop was London where we had more Consumer-focused talks and activities.

My highlights at Week 1, BT Centre

  • Hearing from senior leadership about their career journey, their advice for new hires/graduates, opportunities at BT including a talk from Marc Allera, CEO of Consumer.
  • Learning more about the BT Consumer side of the business from HR, Sales, Retention.

  • Having a tour around the BT Sport Studios in Stratford.
  • Our grad buddy showing us all the Instagramable places near St Pauls and taking us out for dinner 💖
BT Sports tour
BT Sports tour

BT Sports Advert – Take Them All On

I had to include this in the blog post, the first time I saw this advert was at Adastral Park and I loved it!

🏙Week 2: Marketing, Digital and DevOps

Unlike week 1, week 2 involved more of the EE side of the business focusing on Marketing, Digital and DevOps which is more relevant to my line of work.

BT Tower
BT Tower

My highlights

  • Hearing from teams focusing on the EE brand and really getting the insight of what these teams do e.g. Data and Insights, Community, Digital Marketing, Architecture.
    • My personal favorite talk was on the EE Brand, I enjoyed learning about the history of EE and what makes up the EE brand identity. This session also highlighted how a strong brand allows loyalty, trust, forgiveness in addition to generating value.
    • Another favorite was the Digital Architecture session where we applied SWOT analysis to understand websites. Y’all know how much I love talking about websites. 😆
  • Going to the EE Oxford Street store for a secret shopper task (this reminded me a lot of the times I was working in retail and had secret shoppers come in to assess the store’s customer service and experience)
  • Visiting the BT Tower 😱
  • Winning Wembley tickets 😱😱
  • Learning how to cook (but mostly eating and drinking) at L’atelier des Chefs. This was our surprise activity on Friday, it was a lot of fun! We made our own sushi, dumplings, barbeque with the guidance from chefs at L’atelier. 👩🏻‍🍳Work hard, play hard. 

⭐️Key takeaways

There was a lot to take in from the last two weeks, here are my key takeaways specific to career.

* Applicable to any recently graduated student heading into the workforce.

  • Be self-aware – what can you do? what can’t you do? what do you want to do?
  • Be proactive and seek out opportunities, make the most of what’s on offer but also create your own!
  • Persistence trumps talent i.e. don’t give up when it gets tough, keep going, keep learning!
  • Create a reputation for delivery
  • Be a sponge
  • Listening > Talking
  • Start taking a long-term view of your career
  • Be open to being flexible
  • Be a great teammate! Acting competitively shows focus on your own lane.
  • Always ask for feedback.
  • Make time to make space, hitting the ground running is great but you will need to recharge sometimes because this allows better decisions and you will be a lot more effective!

The last one is sound advice and is something I especially need to do more of 😆

🏃🏻‍♀️Kickstarting this new chapter

I want to tell you about how excited and ready I am for this new chapter, and even though that is 100% true, this new chapter is also super daunting to me.

I’ve been quite open and expressive of my imposter syndrome because it has been affecting me badly recently. It’s something I need to snap out of because I know that I got this far for a reason! I’m very grateful for the reminders and the support from my friends, family, and communities for helping with this 💜 I know that the 2 weeks of induction helped kick some of the imposter syndrome out of my head but sometimes we just need the encouragement!

Walking around London
Walking around London

With all that said, here’s to an awesome two years on the Digital Development and Operations Graduate Scheme with EE! I start my first rotation in the Digital Architecture team on Monday 🎉Wishing all my fellow recently graduated friends also starting their new working life, the best of luck.  🙌🏼

22 responses to “A New Chapter”

  1. It sounds like you’ve had a hectic two weeks! It’s really interesting to follow along with your journey because I literally know nothing about graduate schemes. There weren’t really any available for geography graduates when I was at university (it’s probably still the same!), and the thought of applying for a graduate scheme in a different field never occurred to me.

    I had an three month break between leaving university while I searched for a job, and while I was stressed out because I had no income, looking back I’m really grateful that I had that free time. I wish I had enjoyed it more to be honest!

    I hope you find some time to chill out and take care of yourself over the next few weeks. You deserve a good rest. 😊

    1. I know exactly what you mean! I was so scared of applying to graduate schemes that were not in bio/pharmaceutical industry, I kept thinking “they won’t even look at my application because I’m a life sciences student!” But I’m so glad that I tried. It turns out, passion is visible (hi, tech!) and your degree background isn’t as important as I had once thought.

      I do wish I had the three-month break because I know I would’ve felt a lot more refreshed for this graduate scheme. With that said though, I did learn a lot on my summer placement so I’m still glad that I did it!

      Thanks Holly! I’m definitely taking it super easy over the weekend. 💜

  2. Hey Paw! I love reading about what other people do at work because it gives me a different perspective compared with life as a student. This post has given me a clearer idea of what life as a graduate will be like once I finally complete my studies which is super helpful. BT sounds like a really great company to work for and I’m glad to hear you’re settling in well! Hope you get to chill/relax soon and take the time you need off to focus on your health so you can perform at your best at your new role 😀

    1. Hey Enyiie! Thanks for dropping by 🙂 It sounds like you’re doing great yourself, super happy to hear that you’ve been working hard and securing a fantastic placement in the summer. I just want to see you shine!!! <3 Hoping to hug you again sometime in the future 😆

  3. Best of luck with your rotation; hope you’re killin’ it out there. (And getting some rest too!)

    And I feel you on having that uncomfortable excitement when it comes to life changes like these. It sounds like you’ve had a lot of good things on your plate (bummer about getting sick, though!). Can’t wait to hear more!

    1. Thanks Cindy! It’s a lot to take in but taking it a day at a time. 🙂 Thanks for following along!

  4. Sounds like it was such a busy month! Congrats on this new opportunity! 🙂

  5. It sounds like you are very excited for this next chapter. That’s great! Don’t worry about feeling like an impostor. When I first started working as a teacher, I was told that you have to fake it till you make it. Just believe in yourself and your skills and others will believe in you too. Good luck!

    1. Great advice, thanks Deanna!

  6. Heya Pauline! 😀
    Good luck on your new chapters and endeavors!
    I can feel your enthusiasm in what you’re doing that’s why you’re having a productive month!
    Keep up the good work then! 😀

    Thanks for visiting my blog as well <3

    1. Thanks so much Xian! Always trying my best to look at the good side of things 🙂

  7. Congratulations on getting into the graduate scheme! Sounds like an amazing opportunity and I’m so happy for you! 🙂 I’m curious though, since you mentioned rotations, are graduate schemes similar to management training programs?

    “Make time to make space, hitting the ground running is great but you will need to recharge sometimes because this allows better decisions and you will be a lot more effective!”
    – OMG yes. But just like you, I know this to be true but I still struggle in following this advice! Haha! Take time to chill out though, and I hope you recover soon! I’ll see you in a few weeks! 😉

    1. It is similar to management training programs! I basically spend 6 months in a rotation for 2 years, this allows me to get a taste of the other aspects of the business 🙂

      Thanks so much girl! See you soon 😉

  8. Holy cow girl! This looks like it was an absolute whirlwind trip. But it also sounds like you took away a lot of important information and lessons from it too. I have a feeling everyone around you knows how AMAZING you are (you literally do everything!) so you need to see yourself like that too! You’ve got this! Anything you don’t already know, you can learn :). Keep doing what you do because you’re incredible!

    Susie | http://milehighdreamers.com

    1. Aww Susie, thanks so much! I can’t wait to keep learning!!

  9. That is some exciting and fun event you had. I consider it really a blessing to be a part of a global company. Cheers to your new employment, hope you will a great time.


    1. Thanks so much Mercy! I do feel very fortunate. 🙂

  10. How exciting! It sounds like you had a fantastic induction. I wish mine gave me lessons on how to cook. I honestly think that’s the most useful skill when it comes to working full time. (I’ve spent too much money and calories dining out this past year…) Best of luck on your rotation. Digital Architecture sounds like a good rotation to start with.

    I’m not familiar with the term “graduate scheme”, but it sounds similar other corporate rotation programs that we have here in the states for fresh graduates.

    I also wished I had spent my time traveling the world in the summer prior to starting work, but then again, I had no money at that time. Now I have money but no time…

    Anyways, Pauline, you got this!

    1. It is exactly what it sounds like – fresh graduates going into the corporate world getting a taste of different rotations! 🙂

      Thanks so much Thao, I hope you find the time to travel soon. I’ve started booking out time to travel soon myself – it’s needed!!

  11. Congrats on starting your first job (not summer placement or induction)! I’m excited for you and I believe you will do well in it and have the determination to pass all the challenges that you may face in future! Gambatte! 😀

    1. Thanks so much Sakura! 🙂

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