I’ve finally started my year-long work placement at IBM, and my life’s had such a change in format it could easily flesh out a moderately large essay so I’ll do my best to summarise everything that’s happened here.
Firstly (can’t remember if I mentioned this whole process before), I had to go to apply online – an extremely long, boring and complicated trek involving copious amounts of personal data entry and various IQ-style tests. Somehow this all worked out OK so I was asked to visit one of IBM’s assessment centres – this one being located at IBM’s UK headquarters, Portsmouth’s North Harbour site. After discovering what ‘business dress’ meant, I and many other hopeful industrial trainees – which I’ll refer to as ITs from now on, as this acronym defines me within the scope of the company – were made to complete the IQ-ish test again. Nobody liked this of course, but it ironed out cheaters. We then had two interviews and group activities and were told within a couple of days whether we’d passed the thing. Somehow, I had, and they passed my CV around the various managers in the business, until mine ended up on the desk of my now-Task Manager. He then phoned me up and explained the job, and after deciding to accept, this long, long enrolment process finally ended.
The first couple of days here introduced me to the company very well, and overall the atmosphere (especially in Hursley, the site where I’m working) is very relaxed. My induction was riddled with continuous banter – something, I might add, that was fed by my decision to walk part of the route from Southampton to Hursley on my first day. Anyway, there were various teambuilding activities and free food. Literally no complaints here.
So about travel from Southampton to Hursley: this route is not very well indexed by buses, with the only bus that would get me to work on time leaving from the Southampton Central Station at 6.30. Not very desirable, especially when considering I’m literally on the other side of the city, and that the bus arrives here two hours before I start work. The next best alternative is a frequent bus from Southampton to Winchester that gets me somewhere close to the site. I tried this on the first day and ended up having to walk an hour (three miles) along a main road to arrive, and had to spend yet more money on two separate buses to get back. I decided this would not happen again. So after my first day I looked up how far it actually was from my house to Hursley (a meagre seven miles) and decided it would be worth, perhaps, biking it (and changing into a suit – required for the induction – once I arrived). Not exactly an easy task considering I was following handwritten directions on a mountain bike that was falling to pieces but, nonetheless, I managed it, only to arrive at the site on day 2 having forgotten my shirt. Thinking on my feet, I improvised using a jumper that at an absolute glance looked like a black shirt… albeit with a zip. Against all odds nobody noticed. Except those who I told as it made for a bit of an anecdote.
So after the two-day induction I was introduced to my department and was thankfully given the option to take off the flippin’ suit and come into work looking pretty standard. Hursley doesn’t have casual Fridays, it has casual weeks – from what I’ve worked out, IBM treats the employees here very well and as a result they have a massive work throughput. I’ve been shown the mainframes – literally amazing stuff. You have to wear earplugs in the server room (they’re that powerful.)
In summary, I’ve just about finished my first week, and I’ve come out of it more energetic than when I went in. I seem to have adjusted quickly to this – or at least, that’s what I’m hoping. The people here are more than nice and buy you food and drink a lot. On that note I’m off to a networking barbecue now, and later tonight I’ll be DJing in Southampton. Life is pretty damn good really.