Libby Toms: My Month at Chadwicks
When I was asked to write my first blog, I could feel anxiety spread across my chest. It fills me with awe to imagine that somebody could process words to form sentences (not just bullet points!) which make sense and sound eloquent, clever and witty. But I am not a writer.
I am unfortunately an experienced word scrambler, whisking dishevelled nouns and adverbs into some burnt concoction. Think soggy alphabety spaghetti, or a black and rubbery scrambled egg.
During my second year studying sociology at Hull University, I set my sights on high-value work experience to better understand and prepare for the daunting corporate world - and was accepted onto a month’s internship at Chadwicks, a wealth management firm.
I usually dread a 9am lecture, clad in comfortable sportswear and no attention to my hair, so how was I going to cope with a well-kempt 9 to 5? Coffee was my answer.
My time on this team has pushed me outside my comfort zone, from researching and drafting finance blogs, compiling the health and safety policies, to analysing datasets and sourcing new leads. I’ve grown as a person, sitting with pride, wearing my smart office clothes while I travel by public transport to my daily destination – ready for the day ahead.
It’s a world away from customer facing roles, but I’m not any less busy for it! It’s exciting to see how I can apply my current skills to new experiences in the working world.
I like working in an office – despite no longer reaching my 10,000 steps a day. Working at Chadwicks I’ve experienced a compact, unique office environment: sitting in a meeting with all my colleagues, I can see the functional fit theory flowing through the tasks. I understand the need for a streamlined workforce, sharing objectives, to facilitate clients’ needs and make a business grow. Looking at the creation of health and safety policy through the eyes of a business offers a fresh perspective on the guidelines I’ve received in the past as a part-time hospitality minion.
As I plan for a trailblazing career in human resources, I think it’s good that I’ve gotten experience both studying and applying corporate policies.
Typical of a sociology student, I look at most situations like it’s a case study. I ask myself the implications of doing one thing instead of another. Comparing tasks and mentally noting the similarities and differences.
I can see that, while hiring individuals on the basis of qualifications and experience is important, successful applicants ought to share the same values as the business environment they’re entering, and this value set and atmosphere will be unique to each company. This is the basis of organisational culture; the idea that strategies that go against the grain of the business are likely to be met with resistance and anomie. But the culture at Chadwicks is friendly and emphasises learning new skills, with strong value alignment within the team. It’s been great to be a part of.
And I’ve learnt what workplace culture I thrive in: a culture that values my opinions and input; a workplace where I am free to manage my deadlines in my own timescale, and; a working environment that fluctuates between deep concentration and delightful conversation! I’ve gained new skills and know my way around a spreadsheet.
But I also realised that I miss chatting with clients and solving queries, managing public relations, and I want to be back on my feet more, with a variety of tasks – both digital and physical.
No matter where my career takes me, this is important information I will take away.
I feel like my brain has expanded over the last few weeks. (Plus, because of all those articles I drafted, I now have concrete plans for how to save for a deposit, pursue a mortgage, and manage my bank accounts!)
I feel grateful for the opportunity Chadwicks has given me, and I’m ready to enter my third year with a stronger idea of my future and the financial industry. Watch out bullet points – I’m a blog writer now!