It’s hard to believe that I’ve been at this placement for 5 months. In that time, we’ve gone through our longest lockdown, 64 million vaccinations and the return of the pubs!

Looking back

Looking back at my time at bbd, I can’t believe some of the projects and clients that I’ve got involved with. I’ve aided in the creation of numerous assets for clients, delivered SEO reports, helped to build websites and so much more. I’ve really been so lucky to have squeezed so much out of the 5 months here. I don’t know how I existed before without all the knowledge that I’ve gained here – I’m looking at you, Google Docs (how was this not a staple in my life before?). But in all seriousness, I’m so grateful to have had the chance to learn everything that I have here. I can’t imagine going back to university without the knowledge and experience I’ve gained.

Lockdown lessons

In my first few weeks, I remember feeling so overwhelmed (but excited!). Everything was so new and everyone was so used to the process of agency life that I had to catch up very quickly. Agency life is constantly moving forward and you need to keep moving at that same pace as to not fall behind – this is probably easier when you’re not working from home for the first three months of your placement (thanks lockdown no.3!).

I would say that those three months of lockdown were some of the most challenging I’ve had to face, from starting a new job, to living completely alone for the first time. It was a massive adjustment period. I relied on my line manager, Josie quite a lot for support during these times. She was always there to step in and help how she could, even from afar! Meeting all of my colleagues over Zoom was another thing that I found very strange. When I finally met everyone in person, most were so much taller than I imagined, and they weren’t just floating heads behind a screen? Very misleading. 

They say making mistakes is the only way to really learn a lesson, but I actually had to learn a lesson about making mistakes –  that even with the best intentions, you can never be perfect all the time, and that with every mistake, it is never personal, it’s just an opportunity to work on yourself and improve. This was hard for me to grasp in the beginning, as without face-to-face and in-person contact, it’s easy to let anxiety take over and have you imagine things in a different way to how they really are – text on a screen leaves a little too much to the imagination. But I came to realise that everything moves so quickly, that while you’re still worrying about the past, everyone else has moved on, so you’ve just got to move with them!

One of the biggest lessons I can pass on from working in an agency is to never assume anything. One of the biggest headaches I experienced here came from me assuming that what I was doing was right, when I actually didn’t truly understand the work I was checking. Not only that, but everything I was checking against was in foreign languages – that turned out about as well as you could expect. From that point onwards, I decided to question anything that didn’t make 100% sense to me, because I realised it’s better to ask all the questions now, instead of spending time fixing mistakes that could have been avoided.

Redefining work culture

One thing that cannot be denied is that the work culture at bbd is fantastic. The people here truly do have amazing bonds and have the best ways of making office life exciting and fun. From the odd office quiz, where I ended up dressing up as Where’s Wally, to the constant banter from the team. The balance between professionalism and fun has made my time here so memorable, and it’s something that I will truly miss when I’m gone. I had the task of managing the daily quiz which was one of my favourite ways to interact with the wider team – who would have thought that quizzes could cause so much chaos on the general Slack channel? 

One of my main highlights was being here for the 60th birthday of Bright Blue Day, seeing the way that the agency has evolved and how far it’s come, with the speeches from the management team.It was very emotional, even for me who has only been here five months! But there’s something so special about the way things operate here. There’s a level of authenticity that I hadn’t experienced in a work environment before – the bar’s been set high.

The final days

I think back to where I was five months ago and it feels like a lifetime ago. This time has taught me so many things about myself that I didn’t know before, and I plan on taking these lessons with me wherever I go next. I’ll even miss the little things, like traffic meetings with the whole team, the banter on the slack channels and the vibe that working in the office brought!

I just want to thank everyone who made my time here so special. Placement year might not have started as I expected, but this experience will always be a highlight against an unusual year, and I owe that to bbd.

Matt Masters
Placement Student 2021