It’s late September, 2016, probably early afternoon, I’m sitting in an office chair, 12 floors up, at the top of Colston Tower, in SBW Advertising’s Bristol office, admiring a panoramic view of the great city of Bristol, and thinking about writing—a lot.
But let’s press the rewind button on things for a second, like a film clip, and watch as all the fresh coffees and teas in the SBW office, get comically absorbed back into the kettle they started from—the hands on the clocks turn themselves backwards to about 8:30am—and everybody walk backwards, out the office doorway, and back into the nearby elevator.
We need to go all the way back to about nine months ago. I’m going up the elevator in a building called Colston Tower. At this point, I’m probably thinking about how I’ve never applied for a job at a place with a 12th floor—this feels special. My MA in Creative Writing from Surrey is at the back of my mind, along with some questions and answers that I need to think about for what’s coming up next.
I ring the doorbell, it opens, and I’m greeted by a solid handshake from Richard, the Account Director, and I’m led into the meeting room. There’s a vibe in the air; I take in the upbeat radio music playing in the background, the large open-plan office, a small sitting area, with a glass coffee table, that has numerous creative magazines on it, and above all, the fantastic view of Bristol, that stretches out from the centre, all the way to the surrounding countryside—some great stuff must come out of here.
We sit down in the meeting room, and talk qualifications and skills, and then I meet the MD Simon Wright. There’s this sense of a genuine interest in people, which inspires confidence—and in some kind of abstract way, it’s somehow in keeping with the music, the view, and the other first impressions.
“We’ll be in touch”.
The interview is over and I’m shown the door, knowing that my chances are 50/50. I get the news a few days later, and I’m given the nod for one month of work experience. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity.
It’s now January 1st, I walk through the same door on the 12th floor once again, and I’m introduced to the Creative Director, Cerys, and I get to know the wider team, what they do, and learn a little more about how an advertising and marketing agency works.
Now let’s press the fast-forward button—the office desks at SBW blur with activity, people rapidly appear and disappear inside the office meeting room, and the sun switches with the night sky, as the days, weeks, and months roll on. SBW want to keep working with me, and I’m thrilled, as I get ongoing support, and take in more and more information. I’m being given more responsibility too, Cerys gets me more involved in the creation of ideas, and builds up my confidence, while I work with her, and the design team, on website content, blogs, radio adverts, animations, prints, and even tenders for new work. If we pause, and press play for a moment, we can see a number of people sitting in the office meeting room, around what looks like a banquet—and it sort of is—it’s SBW’s bring-a-dish. If we skip forward a little bit more than this, we can all be seen at a bowling alley, and somehow I’ve managed to get the highest score.
If we fast forward more than this, well, a lot more actually, I’m sitting in the SBW meeting room, about to be offered a role for a full-time position. A little bit further on, and I’ve been given the opportunity to have a mentoring session with an industry heavy weight with years’ of experience—one of the most interesting and informative discussions I’ve had this year.
Now let’s skip forward a few chapters. We’re back to where we began. It’s an afternoon, in late September, I’m back at my desk, thinking about what’s been achieved, what I’ve experienced, and what I’ve learned over the course of 2016, and the answer to that is an awful lot. Thanks SBW.