Daniel Ajakaiye is one of two new faces at Wonderful, and joined the agency as interns via the government’s Kickstart scheme. Daniel has made some excellent contributions as part of our Digital Marketing team already and we’re looking forward to him growing into the role (although some of the team wish he wasn’t so good at table tennis!). In this article, Daniel recounts his initial few months working at Wonderful, his experiences working as an intern and some of the cultural aspects.
Daniel shares his time with us so far
I always had a slight reluctance towards the limited range of careers that my coursemates at university and I considered, and into which we eventually filtered. Just over a year ago, I was unfamiliar with the work of digital or creative agencies. I then came across an immaculate website belonging to a brand consultancy which kickstarted my ambition to work in the wonderful space between brands and their customers nurturing positive customer perceptions, and all amidst an active pursuit of a career in another area of consultancy. Fortunately, I have now been on this journey with Wonderful for three months.
Before my current role, I would enjoy the forensic process of scouring a company’s website for a clear impression of the employee’s working experience, which was usually unsuccessful. Altogether, I believe there is a challenge in gauging a company’s workplace culture before you participate, and even more, whether it would suit one’s own needs. This is because company culture tends to be vaguely illustrated despite their best efforts and can even be enacted in a way different to one’s anticipation. Yet, a trait that I have learned to appreciate in diverse forms and which has truly marked my work experience at Wonderful is openness – also a distinct feature of our office layout.
Conveniently, the working process at Wonderful is necessarily collaborative. It is rare that one person has all the answers for the mixed palette of digital and creative projects that we execute. And this is especially true for the projects that involve consistent to-and-fros between colleagues working to deliver an optimal solution. In addition, I have found that what remains consistent is the diffusion of project-related information around the office. From this process, I have benefitted from a steady awareness and appreciation of our various projects’ progression. And as is increasingly the case, my desk bridges colleagues engaged in problem-busting to-and-fros and I can acquire insight into a particular task and gain fresh perspective.
While we do spend most of the day sitting down, with most breaks from this position involving trips to the kettle for coffee (with the occasional table tennis game), I believe that the continuous stream of learning that happens for and on projects is what distinguishes work in an agency. As an intern, I have been exposed to a healthy balance of ‘on the job’ training and structured learning which has provided a comfortable foundation for conducting individual work tasks. Yet, responding to the unique challenges or desires that clients present, whether that is fixing web pages that unexpectedly return 404 errors, making changes to a desired brand identity, or rendering a complex website function into an intuitive and user-friendly feature, frequently warrants the fluid collaboration of various colleagues who develop a new shared clarity in an area. In these situations, I have cherished the ease with which I can ask questions and be an active observer of the more exciting ‘learning’ process at Wonderful.
Work as an Intern
In my work, writing has gradually emerged at the centre of my role; and actively thinking about my use of words has closely accompanied it. As a slower writer, I was wary of being able to complete written tasks with a deadline even though I was drawn to the challenge of writing for clients and their unique audiences. This reluctance has been gradually assuaged by building an appreciation for audience, keywords, topical research, tone of voice, and trends in producing written content along with access to constant support from my manager throughout the writing process. I have also noticed my improved confidence in delivering various forms of output and I am eager to develop further in this respect.
My experience at Wonderful has also been exclusively office-based and I have found this element to be favourable. Having colleagues in the office is always fun and discovering their quirks and interests is even better, but I have recognised how physical proximity has often preceded and consequently enabled our collaboration, even if colleagues continue to demonstrate a fluent approach to virtual teamwork – thanks to the pandemic. And I believe my experience has been enriched by being present in the work environment. During the first few weeks of my internship, I was invited to shadow a client workshop meeting for a familiar transport company’s summer campaign and was able to participate in the ensuing brainstorming session. This amounted to an absorbing experience where my lack of experience in the agency was wholly irrelevant, but simply drawing on my real-world experience added value to the process. Otherwise, this opportunity may have been missed in a situation where being out of sight would likely result in me being out of mind.
A few weeks ago, we had an Away Day with all our team at Wonderful. Our work trip to the coastal destination of Margate served as a notable moment to welcome new colleagues to the team, learn about the company’s goals and plans, while discussing how we can work and collaborate better. Within the Digital Marketing team, we followed the Away Day with further discussion and an actionable plan on how we wished to work individually and with each other.
As a whole, this has contributed to my view that culture is not the people or the values attributed to a work environment; rather, I believe it is the template of routines and encouraged behaviours that guides how people express themselves and interact at work.
Conclusively, I look forward to witnessing how this open culture continues to enhance and improve the work experience for all here at Wonderful.
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