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My work experience diary

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Staring up at the tall building in front of me, two words raced through my mind: “work experience”.

I’d like to say that I was chilled out and calm, but Dad, who works here, insisted on parking a brisk 15-minute walk from the Churchill Court offices. By the time we arrived I was hot and panting – what a great first impression.  

“Art is everywhere,” I was told as I sat with James, the user experience manager, in front a computer screen filled with complex-looking (yet apparently simple) flow diagrams, which I think explained someone’s journey through an app. My artistic ability is practically non-existent, and I prayed that I wouldn’t be asked to design anything.

Well, guess what I was asked to do next? Yep, design a sign-up system for an app.

After a short discussion with James, I was directed to a table and presented with 20 sheets of paper, each with 10 sketches of mobile phones. Two hundred phones, what on earth was I going to do with all of them?

Turns out that it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated, although I didn’t use all 200 phones.

FYI designing an app is surprisingly difficult, and it took me nearly all afternoon and eight different sketches just to create the sign-up process.

Day two

Again, my second day started with the brisk walk to wake me up (thanks Dad).

I attended a couple of meetings, before learning about the Agile way of working  and Scrum system. I still think that ‘scrum master’ sounds like something that should be from Harry Potter, not an insurance company.

Then, Hiren, an app expert, talked me through how to run tests on apps, and I watched as Fernando, one of the designers, recreated the new layout of the redesigned Green Flag app.

Enter Alex, who whisked me off for a quick discussion about project management – I certainly didn’t realise that the role involved such a variety of jobs. I found that Alex used to work in TV (shows like The Million Pound Drop); if she left that for DLG, this must be a fantastic place to work.

Day three

By Wednesday I was getting used to the walk.

My day at the office started with a ‘huddle’, in which the team were updated on their progress, and attention was brought to areas which maybe weren’t doing as well as they would have liked. It was a chance for the entire office to come together, and ensure everyone was on the same page.

Afterwards, Caryn showed me how to use Adobe Analytics, and even though I’m not entirely sure what I was doing, I made some pretty line graphs and doughnut charts.

This made my mind wander, and after having thought about doughnuts for a good 20 minutes, I was excited to see what food there was on offer at the ‘Lunch and Learn’ event.

Answer: there was no lunch.

For the afternoon, I joined the copy team, and was given the task of rewriting copy from the website to make it more user friendly; a job that I didn’t even realise existed but was actually really fun. It almost felt like creative writing.

Day four

Thursday. I overslept. Whoops.

But it did mean that my walk was cut slightly shorter, as Dad parked the car closer to the office because he was stressing about being late.

The afternoon was a break from work; a leaving party for Ash, the director of Digital. Only a couple of people knew which fun activities were planned, and so there was much speculation around the office. At 2pm, it was revealed: a scavenger hunt around Bromley in teams of four to eight.

With a measly five members (including me – someone who had never visited Bromley before this week), we were apprehensive. Surely we were at a massive disadvantage.

But guess what? We came second! I mean, it would have been much nicer to win, but it’s safe to say that we were all pleasantly surprised. The afternoon finished with an exquisite spread of food, and an amusing leaving video that the team had compiled for Ash.

The experience at DLG definitely wasn’t what I expected it to be. I knew the company was centred around insurance, and that was about where my knowledge ended.

I definitely was not expecting it to have such a large, digital department, and even as I end my work experience it still feels as if I haven’t touched on a large proportion of what DLG does on this ‘phase’ of the third floor, let alone in the entire building.

One thing that was so successful about the week was the variety of areas I was lucky enough to experience. Being the most indecisive human on the entire planet, this was brilliant as it meant I had the opportunity to refine my interests and be introduced to career paths I had never considered. For instance; design fascinates me. I find the creation of apps, from brainstorming to creating to inserting links and testing unexpectedly interesting.

To all the Direct Line team who made my work experience just so unforgettably unique, thank you.