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Starting a new job can be scary, especially when you are new to a role and are thrown in at the deep end, but George Swann, Oxford’s newest Quantity Surveyor is keeping a diary of the life of a trainee QS, you can follow his blog and read all about his latest updates, but until then, check out his first post, all about his first week at Ridge:
‘Is anyone good with Excel?…’
My first week as a trainee QS is drawing to a close, and what an eye opener it has been. After the usual introductions and formalities I met the other members of staff with the usual glares of inquisitiveness which a new starter is always subjected too, and proceeded to my office to be met by my new team. They are 10 of us on this team, all QS’s and all male bar one.
The familiar face of my interviewer met me from over a pile of files, drawings and paper and with everyone’s hands shaken firmly I sat down to be introduced to my first task of getting to know the system by importing copious amounts of drawings from architects, engineers and designers. A boring task to many I actually found it enjoyable, taking the odd look at some of them made me realise I was finally part of something I had been working towards. It felt good, and by the end of Wednesday I had been handed my first live project, all be it very small, to work on.
I don’t mean this next bit to sound like a sales pitch for Ridge but I can honestly say I have never settled in so quickly to a job before and felt like I was valued enough to be given the responsibility of working on a project with a fellow QS and PM (project manager).
It was my job to sort through and document a large number of construction documents, from planning applications to building contracts, for one of our clients who was selling a large number of sites they own. The idea is that the document can be used to chase up any loopholes that may be found during the sale and make sure all documents were correct. On finishing up my documents I was left with closing off the project, as the lead QS on the project was leaving at lunch time.
Needless to say I panicked, but continued to pull together the work and start formatting the document before handing it on to my manager for sign off and sending to the client. This all had to be done for close of play today (Thursday), I had only started the project on Wednesday and hadn’t realised I was being left to do it alone until my colleague left at lunchtime today. I got it done and at around 3pm sent it over for final vetting. I soon got the document back with a number of amendments and was asked to have them done in 20 minutes. I was however not made to feel like my mistakes were stupid, despite many of them being that way, but as if they were as normal as any others.
Half way through the amendments I dropped myself in it. I had managed to un-format half the document and after a few extra minutes of panicking I turned to my team and, as red faced as I could ever get, ask “is anyone good with excel?” Friendly mocking soon followed and, despite being clearly very flustered, a plethora of help was offered and after 5 minutes of what seemed almost like cup final pressure, the document was sent over to my manager for the final time before being sent away to the client.
Not surprisingly I took my coffee break and breathed a sigh of relief. On returning I expected nothing but to sit at my desk and finish some data input from Tuesday. I found instead a pat on the back and thumbs up from the team and this helped greatly. I didn’t feel like a child but like a valued member of our team who had done a good job, this was the highlight of the week so far.
I have already been briefly introduced to a number of the projects the team are working on and I can honestly say they range from commercial, residential and through to the downright barmy! It’s great to think that I soon will be a part of these projects and with the promise from my superior of more hands on QS work as of Monday I am relishing in the idea of what is to come.
It’s humbling to think that, despite my lack of experience; I am being thrown in at the deep end and given my won workload and responsibilities. I am raring to go with my career and to leaner more and more, the team seem to understand this and are on hand at all times to help me understand and learn about everything I will need to be successful.
So that is my week so far. Lots of prospects, plenty of panicking and a shed load of new associated have been made. So far I am high as a cloud with even my minor achievements, and I can only hope for this to continue. I can truly say that at this moment I enjoy my job. The question is will it last? Will I cope when the pressure mounts? Bring it on Ridge, if it’s there for the taking I want my shot at the goal!
Time to sign off and hit the sack, another 6am start is not far off!