Saturday, 11 December 2010

My First Day With Conde Nast!

20th September 2010

It is 16:22pm and I have nearly finished my first day as an Editorial Intern at Condé Nast Traveller Magazine in London.
This morning I thought I would die. I was convinced that I was going to be late, as this is the first time in ages that I have had to rely on my own (questionable) directional skills. Navigating London City with only half a contact lens in is not advisable. In the space of about an hour, my demeanour went from the blissful excitement that woke me up this morning, to the sheer panic that I felt when signs for the Victoria Line seemingly vanished.
I woke up at 8:00am in order to meet the lovely Editorial Assistant Alice at 10:30am. I hopped into the bath at my aunt’s house and washed my hair, since it didn’t quite have the right amount of ‘spring’ to it when I rolled out of bed. I painted my ‘special occasion’ Benefit makeup on with military precision, and then began to get dressed. What does one wear to a ‘smart/casual’ office which just happens to share a building with the likes of Vogue, Vanity Fair and Tatler? Definitely NOT the ‘jeans and a t-shirt’ that Alice had confirmed would be ‘fine’ a couple of weeks ago. Oh no. I put on some golden tapered trousers new from Topshop, a brown pair of brogues with cream laces new from Dorothy Perkins, a long-sleeved cream t-shirt old from Abercrombie and Fitch, a luxurious fur gilet new from Topshop and a tan ‘I mean business’ satchel/briefcase, which yes, you’ve guessed it, is new from Topshop. Well, you know they say dress for the job you want, not the job you’ve got, so I channelled the ‘Editor-in-Chief of Vogue’ which I know I have in me, and marched out of the front door.
Within seconds my confident attitude had gone. Waiting at an unfamiliar bus stop, not knowing when the bus would arrive, how long it would take to get to my tube station at East Finchely and not knowing when to get off. But before I knew it I was enjoying the ride and waiting for the notification that I had requested from my bus driver as to where my stop was.
I felt like I was running late. By the time I got to East Finchely it was already twenty-five past nine and I hadn’t even topped up my Oyster card yet for London travel. Shoving £10 into the machine and running onto the Southbound platform meant that I got straight onto my train. Success! Now this is where my whining starts. Why are people so rude on the tube? It’s almost as if there is some kind of negative energy force field which compels Londoners to create an impenetrable barrier with their copy of whichever superior book they are currently ‘reading’, or pound their music so loud that their eardrums may burst. Well, whatever, I thought as a kindly looking old lady had blanked the grin I flashed her as I landed on the train just as the doors shut on my back. Fine, you don’t want to be nice, do I care? No I don’t. And so I topped up my makeup after confirming that I would change at Euston and get the Victoria Line for two stops until I reached Oxford Circus.
I became one of the rude Londoners in seconds. I found myself shoving past people on the Underground, asserting myself with a gruff ‘Excuse me’ on the escalator when tourists were loitering up the left side. What had I turned into? A city girl. And I had better get used to it.
At Oxford Circus station one of the stroppy Tube Men told me that I needed Exit 3 to get to where I was going, and I was off again, pushing and jostling and even elbowing one foreign pervert. Luckily the directions were fairly straight forward, and not even a monkey could have gotten lost.
There it was, the grandly-named Vogue House. And what a dump it looked. No offense, but I was expecting a big white chocolate building bathed in sunlight, not dissimilar to the one Oliver Twist stood in whilst chirping ‘Who will buy?’ And yet, the concrete jungle surrounded by a mass of other buildings covered in scaffolding faced me head on, as if to say, ‘What? Are you going to throw away this opportunity because I’m ugly?’ It challenged me to enter, and never being one to turn down a challenge, (after double coating my lipstick) I followed a pretty girl inside, and I was automatically glad that I had.
Even the security reception area was glamorous, with a copy of each magazine Condé Nast create framed onto the wall. After asking for Alice and saying my name, I sank into a plush red leather sofa and thought, ‘Today will be a good day’.
I got directed up to the sixth floor and as the elevator doors opened I saw the great big silver magazine title signs were revealed. I was stood at the point where Condé Nast Traveller and Brides Magazines meet. When Alice opened the door I was in a complete daze which she had to snap me out of by saying, ‘Are you Gabriella?’
Alice is lovely. She looks young enough to be your friend, yet sensible enough to be professional. She has beachy blond hair, one of the most naturally pretty faces you can ever imagine and an effortlessly cool sense of style. Guess what she was wearing? Jeans and a t-shirt.
I blabbered some rubbish about being surprised I didn’t get too lost, and she made me feel at ease immediately, showing me my new desk surrounded by different people involved in the editorial team. She gave me the Work Experience Handbook and told me to give it a quick read before sorting through the weekend newspapers.
Here at Traveller (I love saying that) we keep all the past week’s newspapers. Each time a new paper comes out, we replace the old one and so on and so forth. With it just being the weekend I had to sort through Saturday, Sunday and Monday’s papers, taking out all of the supplements (especially the Travel Supplements) and putting them into their relevant slots. After sorting through all of these, it was post time! I sorted the post into the separate piles necessary for a smooth distribution. This was a great way of learning everyone’s names. Everyone was really nice as I was giving out the post, asking how long I will be here, what I will be up to etc. After doing the post, I had a little mini-tour of our floor, saw where all the old magazines are stored, visited the travel library and learnt how to operate my new best friend; The Photocopier.
Alice had some work to be getting on with so she went to do that at her desk near mine, whilst I had a more thorough look at the Work Experience Handbook. It’s quite good really, and with the assistance of this I began sorting through the mass of emails which come into Condé Nast Traveller daily. There were so many competition entries that I had to divide into winners and losers, tons of press releases that I needed to forward to the correct editors, and a mass of work experience, writing, photography and illustration enquiries. It made me think, ‘You want to work here, and I’m actually here!’ A little like a celebrity I guess!
Before I knew it, it was already 12:30pm, so I had to run some post down to the mailroom (where the men cannot speak English and are so mean I bet they wouldn’t even if they could!) Also, I met an absolute bitch in the elevator on the way back up. She pressed number five whilst I pressed six, and feeling a little more confident than earlier I asked, ‘What is on the fifth floor?’ This is how the conversation went;
‘Vogue. And the fifth?’
‘And you work there?’ (This was asked with a disbelieving look on her face.
‘I am interning for the next three weeks.’
‘Oh me too. Iloveitit’samazinglikejustthismorningeveryoneinmyofficewastalkingaboutLondon fashionweekandiwaslikeohmygodi’mreallyhere.’ And then she got out of the elevator. Yes, I’m really enjoying my placement so far too, thanks for asking. Cow.
Anyway, I sorted through a couple more emails and then jogged off for my lunch at around one-ish.
There is a lovely little sushi bar right next to Vogue House, so I popped into there, even though I am on the Special K diet until the end of October. I treated myself to some Edamame beans with a sweet chilli dressing, called my mom and boyfriend to let them know that Condé Nast is nowhere near as grim as my first impression had led me to believe, wandered around the leafy square before going straight back to work. An hour long lunch break is too long when you love your job! And you know, as I walked back the sun was shining and there were tons of fashionable London people bustling around, and for some reason, Vogue House looked so much more glamorous.
I went back ten minutes early, and got back to work, looking through, forwarding, responding to and deleting emails as necessary. I looked over the old Work Experience Handbook to see if there were any tips or tricks that hadn’t been mentioned in the new one, and a piece of advice for what to do if you are bored occupied my next hour or so. Not that I was bored, I just felt like I had completed one task and wanted to move onto another, so I began going through the piles of magazines which have been popped onto the ‘recent areas of interest’-type pile. I removed anything older than a couple of months and filed them with their even older counterparts (or ‘back-issues’ as we call it in the magazine world), and then organised the remaining magazines into piles according to their general topic, such as food, travel, fashion, politics, economics etc.
I bet Alice must have thought me an idiot, as this took so long. Alice is the editors PA, also known as the Editorial Assistant. I think that basically makes her the second most important person at the whole magazine, as she seems to be the only one who the editor (Sarah Miller) ever talks to. Plus, her name is second in the list of names in the magazine masthead, so that has to count for something, right? Considering she looks so young, she seems to have gone far already. She is my idol. Haha.
And here I am now. Just about to pop the last bits of mail for today into the mailroom before having a mooch over the magazine. I have emailed Matt Buck from the photography team already to compliment his work on the Gothenburg Sweden feature in next month’s edition, and he has offered to let me shadow him a little; no I don’t want to be a photographer, but there is much more to his job than that as he told me in his response email so I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from him on Thursday when I return to London. No experience is a bad experience. Or is that supposed to be publicity . . .
Well, whatever.
The only thing that I’m not too keen on is the fact that the office is so quiet! It’s that quiet that you can hear other people holding their breath, just so they don’t break the streak of hush. Matt even joked when I mentioned it and said that our office is known as the Silent Witness. At least I think he was joking.
Just before the end of the day I will print off the last few ‘Where are you now?’ competition entries, and put them into the correct boxes, giving each reader an equal chance at winning a holiday in Thailand. Lucky them!
Anyway, it is off to Birmingham for two days now, so as I flick my computer off and clean my desk, I kind of marvel at the way that the day has turned out, and I hope that every day will be as dream-worthy.

Top Ten Ways to Get Over 'The One'

So the worst thing that could probably ever have happened in the world EVER has just happened; you must change your Facebook status to ‘Single’. For whatever reason, your relationship is over. Perhaps you made the decision, or maybe you were the one who has been ‘dumped’, or better still it may have been what they refer to as ‘mutual’. Well, no matter what the terms of this hairy situation were, it is likely that you are feeling a little fragile, doubtful and maybe even *gasp* desperate! Well, don’t grab for the pills just yet. Give this a quick read and follow my top ten ways to get over ‘The One’.
1) Go cold turkey
This is the biggie, the one that no-one wants to hear, but trust you’re Auntie Gabbi; it’s for the best. Your time is precious, and the way you handle the next few days may be critical. The last thing you need it to be trying to juggle through the absolute mind-blag that is two people’s feelings. Being the first to get in touch after a break up when you really aren’t over it yet shows weakness. The guilt caused by your hyperventilation over the phone at four AM almost invites the other to ‘dangle the carrot’ and screw with your vulnerable mind; a danger which you need to avoid at all costs in your fragile state. What’s a relationship built on guilt anyway? Plus, even if you got back together, you would be constantly at the mercy of the other, which isn’t the way ‘love’ is supposed to be. It is difficult, but it will be worth it once the whole nightmare is over. You know I’m right. So turn off your cell phone already!
2) Organise your thoughts and just feel
So it sounds really sad and eighties to sit and write about how them coming back to you ‘is against the odds’ and that’s what you’ve ‘got to face’. However, I reckon Phil Collins had it right, because this really helps! Sit and type a letter. Just let the words flow without you really thinking about it, until you can’t think of anything more to say. Write down everything you want to other to know. Then save it. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT send them a copy of this letter for at least a week, by which point you will have had time to add to it, take away from it and in some cases, realise how pathetic it is. The great thing about doing all this is that no matter how messed up you have become during the ordeal, you will be able to make sense of your thoughts and learn some home truths. Nothing is going to change over-night, but perseverance is so worth it.
3) If you need to cry, cry
If you have to cry out loud and have mucus pouring all down your face with your make-up looking more smudged than one of those creepy clowns . . . then you have to go for it. Keeping it in is never going to help, although you must remember that your eyes aren’t like a bottle of vodka where once it is empty there’s none left. Fresh tears will creep up on your when you least expect it. They will come from your eyes, your heart, your head, your lungs, your stomach, everywhere. And this is why you need to embrace this and learn to control it after a while. There is one condition to this; set aside time to be upset, like you would with revision or exercise and don’t let it over-run. You have to take care of yourself and be practical. Don’t ‘let yourself go’.
4) Don’t alienate people who are trying their best
Why can’t your mom come up with anything more comforting that fish-related metaphors? What makes your work colleague think that ‘slutting it up’ is going to make the pain go away? And why doesn’t your best friend realise that the love you had is nothing like what she shared with an ugly chav when she was sixteen years old? Well, it’s hard to believe but they really are trying. Be patient, gracious and strong. Tell them that you will take their advice on board, and you’ll get in touch soon; keep conversations like this brief and to the point, in order to prevent the use of aggressive four letter words. When you are ready to talk to them, they will be there to listen, but for now, you need to learn to comfort yourself.
5) If you don’t want to eat or sleep, then don’t . . . for no longer than three days
This may sound like horrific advice, but I think it is genius. Something has epically changed in your life and you need to acknowledge this. Now, let me make this clear; if you are hungry, eat and if you fall asleep from the exhaustion of crying for the past 29 hours, then don’t beat yourself up over it. However, your body may feel so full of tears that you can’t physically stomach your breakfast cereal, and your mind might work on overdrive for so long that it’s time for work at 9am before you know it. You actually might not want to sleep because you are scared to wake up in the morning and realise that it wasn’t all a nightmare . . . and that is fine for a short period of time. Just make sure you are drinking a lot of fluids, and that you aren’t consciously denying yourself what you need. You’re body will usually automatically go into survival mode, explaining why you might not be hungry or sleepy. But this will not last forever, and even if after three days your appetite and sleep pattern have not returned to normal, you MUST force it. Slowly at first, drink soup and eat toast and close your eyes for a couple of hours at night. You have to take care of yourself; people will just think you are pathetic if you become an insomniac anorexic because of a break-up.
6) Remember that you are still as awesome as you were before
This is vital to your recovery! Remember that everything that was great about you when you were still ‘us’ still stands. Perhaps you have a great sense of humour, or you are intelligent or a great artist. Remind yourself that your ex didn’t give you these talents; you were born with them, so they cannot be taken away by mere heartbreak (although they may temporarily become invisible). So make a funny video by yourself, launch yourself into your studies or paint a pretty picture. Which leads me to my next point . . .
7) Have a new project
Find something which excites you! Try that pole-dancing class you’ve always wanted to go to, boost your CV with amazing work experience and volunteering, take up a new instrument, make yourself a reading list or even plan a holiday. The world is quite literally your oyster. We are young and fresh enough to be able to have dreams and achieve them, especially when you don’t have some un-ambitious loser dragging you down. Realise your potential, make goals and shoot for the stars. This will keep you busy, and hopefully give you a new skill and teach you some new lessons which you wouldn’t have learnt before.
8) Pamper your mind, body and spirit
So for the first few days, it is totally OK to think ‘I’m a fat, ugly pig, it’s no wonder my ex doesn’t want me . . . no-one else ever will’ and then begin with a fresh bout of tears all over again . . . But then . . . GET OVER IT! Remember a time when you have felt really beautiful, or when you’ve received a lovely compliment. Embrace how you felt when you got that and aim for it again. If you’re memory is feeling mellow and comfortable then try a yoga class. What if you felt your sexiest after a massage? Treat yourself; it’s only a one-off after all. Give yourself a facial, get some fresh air, dance around the room, spend an hour on your make-up and a million on a dress and just be! The best thing I can say, is an old cliché. Write a list of as many things as you can think of that you love about the way you look, love and think. You can write as long a list as you want, but it must have at least three items on it. Pin it up and repeat the items over and over to yourself whenever you are feeling sad or lonely. And learn to cuddle yourself!
9) Learn who you are and who you can be without your IN-significant other
You are your own person. If you want to move to New York and pursue a career as an artist, then do it. If you’ve always fancied charity work in Honduras, plan it and go. What if you’ve been dying to work in Disney World since you were twelve years old? Follow in my footsteps and freaking apply! You’ve quite literally got nothing to lose, and now is a time to realise your dreams before you get to an age where you have to support your own family in achieving theirs. I know that my readers have more potential than they could even imagine, and I love them for that humbleness. But now is the only time in your life when it is totally excusable to feel over-confident, unrealistic and reckless. Just take care of yourself, and learn who you can be without your ex. You will grow!
10) Take your time
This is the big one. You don’t want to go clubbing with your mates or on the pull with your colleagues and you can’t imagine being with anyone else. So don’t! No-one can force you to do anything you don’t want to do. This experience is all about you, and you are going to work through this in your own time at your own pace. So take it easy. Don’t rush into anything that you might later regret and be true to yourself.
And if all else fails . . .
Realise that you were sedouched once again, and make a list of all the things you hate about the other. Not as healthy as my previous options, but this is the alcohol of the break-up-recovery world. You’re heart will fix. I promise!
Until next time