Last month we ran a competition to give Creative Employment Programme participants a chance to win tickets to the Creative & Cultural Skills Annual Conference, worth £400 each. To enter, participants were required to write a blog, take a photo or make a short video explaining the best thing about their placement. Over the next few posts, we’ll introduce each of the winning entries – we hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
Camilla Martin, who is Communications and Digital Media Assistant at South Dorset Ridgeway Partnership, wrote a winning post musing on how best to manage the sheer wealth of opportunity that has arisen so far in her internship. Sound advice for any intern, apprentice or trainee, we thought!
The South Dorset Ridgeway is an area of protected land – quite literally a protected ridge – which stretches roughly across the north of Weymouth. Apart from being a stunning piece of hilly landscape, the area is important because of its status in pre-history. That is, it’s surprisingly special when it comes to neolithic, bronze age, iron age, and general pre-Christian times after homo-sapiens arrived in Europe. Intriguingly, not long ago a whole heap of Viking heads were discovered in a giant pit. My job, broadly, is to try and communicate all this exciting information to more people.
Now, this is a job that is as big or as small as I want to make it. What I have so far loved about this placement is the autonomy to make big decisions and then bring them about.
• I have re-structured the website in order to make it more intuitive and easy-to-use (a big job!)
• I have liaised with the web team to create a new, smoother, and more contemporary website
• I intend to re-write lots of the content to make it more user-friendly (the waffle will be attacked on all fronts!)
• I intend to make a really strong and fun social media presence, once the website is improved, using information from Google Analytics
• I intend to make a series of films about the ridgeway which can form a YouTube channel
Brilliant, eh? But recently I have come up against the stern wall of practicality. I will try now to illustrate my point.
I read an article on LinkedIn by Greg McKeown last week about the difference between ‘successful people’ and ‘very successful people’.
What the author said wasn’t particularly profound – in fact, it was nearly obvious – yet it really resounded with me. As a starting premise he was bouncing off Warren Buffet’s words “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything”.
McKeown then detailed a series of typical character traits attached to so-called ‘successful’ people. For instance, “Successful people say ‘if I can fit it in, I should fit it in’. / Truth: very successful people are absurdly selective.” Another good example he used: “‘Successful people think play is a waste of time’ / Truth: ‘very successful people see play as essential for creativity’”.
I liked the article because it reflected something I’d been considering for some time in my home-professional life (I recently started and closed a business), but I have realised it can be applied to my approach to the internship as well. When I first arrived in October, I saw what needed to be done and achieved… and tried to do it all.
I would learn as much as I could about pre-history, I would learn all about rock formations, basic coding, google analytics, google webmaster tools, I would learn every social media trick I possibly could, I would learn how to write for the web, how to use photoshop, how to use illustrator, how to use Joomla, how to make a documentary, how to –
It was absurd. I couldn’t do all this. What planet did I live on?
The best thing about this internship is learning that yes, I do enjoy a whole host of totally disaparate things, but in order to succeed personally and to make real changes for the ridgeway I need to seriously hone in my focus, set goals, and stick to them. It’s obvious, or is it?
So, my New Year’s resolution has been to select a few parts of the website which I think have the most potential, and go for them. Further, to accept that I’m not super-woman, I don’t have a Hermione Granger time-turner clock which allows me to re-live hours to fit more in, and, ultimately, I’m the intern! I need to use this time wisely and be direct.
Let’s see how I get on.
Follow the South Dorset Ridgeway Partnership on Twitter: @LandBoneStone