What role are you in and what does an average day of work look like for you after 3 months at the agency?

Galit: I’m a Business Development Coordinator. Nailing down a typical day is tricky, as my day-to-day work varies. However, if I were to capture a typical week, it would involve delving into research on new business opportunities, industry events, competitors, and media outlets. Additionally, I manage GPJ UK’s social media accounts, organise client image folders, create slides for internal marketing meetings, and offer support wherever my team needs me.

Canace: My role at GPJ London is as a Creative Technology Intern. A typical day involves checking emails and Slack, working on ongoing projects or receiving new briefs. For new projects, I conduct research on the client, their offerings, and the event to brainstorm ideas. I have catch-up meetings to present ideas, seek feedback, and ensure alignment. Sometimes, I test new technologies or event activations using equipment from the lab, compiling test reports summarising user experiences, successes, and considerations.

Hannah: I work in the integrated production (Event Logistics) department as a Project Coordinator. My work largely consists of aiding the producers on their projects. This could be doing venue searches, raising POs, purchasing anything they need or even posting a parcel. 

What were your initial expectations coming into GPJ Ignite, and did they match with reality?

Galit: Initially, I expected to be more coddled in the tasks I was given and the responsibilities outlined in my job description but I was pleasantly surprised to be thrown into the mix, and not treated merely as just an “intern” or “graduate”. Instead, I carry more value and responsibility within my team than I anticipated.

Canace: Entering GPJ Ignite, my expectations included hands-on experience with projects, exposure to new technologies and software. The role hasn’t required as much coding as I initially thought. Instead, it focuses more on generating ideas for activations.

Hannah: I didn’t really know what to expect when I first started. I had never had an office job before but I can definitely say it is more relaxed than I originally thought which has been great. Everyone is very eager to help and they are very careful to make sure you don’t feel overwhelmed with the workload. And everyone drinks a lot of tea and coffee, which is what I expected!

What has been the steepest part of your learning curve so far?

Galit: Mastering time management by understanding project expectations. The challenge often lies in discerning whether a project demands seven hours to ensure every photo lines up perfectly on just that one Google slide, needs to be more text and research-heavy, or just a quick turnaround of info. This can be a bit like asking “how to make the perfect cup of tea”– it’s very specific to the individual. Communicating your working style, and asking for clarity on task expectations/direction, can make it much easier to manage time. 

Canace: While the learning curve at GPJ has been gradual, the first month was probably the steepest. Transitioning from university to my first job meant adapting to professional skills and soft skills required for an office setting. Learning about timesheets, payslips, holiday bookings, and effective communication proved challenging initially. However, these skills will undoubtedly contribute to my future career.

Hannah: Being in this role has given me insight into just how much goes into the events we execute. Sometimes the work I do might not be the most exciting thing in the world but seeing how it all comes together and the part you’ve played is really great at the end. 

Canace Chen with her activation at Cisco Live Amsterdam 2024

Can you share some specific challenges you’ve encountered and how you’ve overcome them?

Galit: One challenge I’ve been navigating, and still fine-tuning is office etiquette. You can prepare for your interview, job responsibilities, and get familiar with software, but one thing you can’t prepare for is knowing if you are supposed to add a smiley face at the end of your message or not! Get straight to the point or be overly polite? Ask in person, email, or Slack? A seemingly small thing to some but is an unexpected challenge when first starting in an office environment. Overcoming this challenge was realising that the key is to always match the other person’s energy. 

Canace: Adapting to collaborative work across different departments was a challenging yet exciting aspect of my job. Unlike university, where individual projects were more common, This dynamic is akin to a relay race, with each team member contributing their part. The key challenge was effective communication. Learning to understand and clearly convey ideas proved crucial. Emphasising communication has not only improved project efficiency but also highlighted the power of team work.

Hannah: Starting this job meant that there were a lot of new programmes and systems that I had never used before. I am not the most technology savvy person out there so it took a bit of time to get used to it all, but there were lots of people around to help me with my ridiculous questions. 

Galit: As I am a part of the business development and marketing team I don’t often get to see our work until the post-event images come through, so it was a nice surprise to be told I was getting to help onsite at this year’s Cisco Live conference in Amsterdam. I was extremely excited to be able to get hands-on with the building process and to see the entire event unfold from start to finish. 

Canace: The most significant highlight has been working on Cisco Live. From the Cisco Live Circuit Challenge to the Networking Cloud, the Cisco x Live Nation showcase, and the ABC Guide website, each activation has been unique, teaching me new skills. Heading onsite this week to witness the culmination of these efforts is particularly exciting, and the experience has been a testament to the variety and depth of experience marketing.

Hannah: A massive bonus to my role is that I’ve been given lots of opportunities to travel. I’ve helped at events in Amsterdam and Barcelona so far. Being able to see first hand the events and what goes into building them has been great. You also get given the opportunity to work with many experts in the industry.

What’s a piece of advice you would give to someone just starting off in their first job?

Galit: Remember names. It makes people feel seen, appreciated, and valued.

Canace: In a supportive environment like GPJ, don’t hesitate to seek help whenever needed. Everyone is willing to assist. Additionally, be proactive in sharing your work with others and asking for feedback. Mutual sharing is always a powerful avenue for learning and personal growth.

Hannah: I would definitely say don’t be afraid to ask questions, everyone has been in your position before and are always willing to help. Try to make yourself available, let people know you have free time in case they need any extra help on anything. Bring in your own lunches! London is very expensive and it soon adds up.