So I've been working for the Churches Conservation Trust for 3 weeks now, and I've already travelled far and wide (well, Bristol and Boston), met many people from the humblest retired volunteer parish committee member to a room full of advocates of national and international societies like Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, Institute of Historic Buildings Conservation, the Victorian Society, and the Regional Teams of the CCT (which all have pretty logos:
This is very very good - not least because it provides a welcome change to only interacting with my flatmates and the library checking-out machine during the long, cold, summer months of dissertation-writing social wasteland. Its also good because its exactly why I'm here - to get as full and rounded experience of the heritage and conservation industries as possible whilst contributing for free, so that I become an attractive asset to any or all of them when it comes to looking for paid work.
One of the very first lessons I was given upon starting this internship was 'never turn down an invite to the pub'. This is because business doesn't just stop at the office door. Even in the Third Sector, important networks can be made and reinforced through what I'm reliably informed is called 'face time', and any one of those alcohol-fuelled rants about 'Grand Designs' or 'Country House Rescue' could turn into an interview, or at least prick up a few ears.
The next lesson for me was that you should always be polite to people (and about people). This was reiterated during a car journey to Boston (the cabbagey one, not the one founded in 1630 by Puritans) when my shadowee pointed out just how often she interacts with previous employers and colleagues at meetings, conferences, training days and site visits. Everybody smile, shake hands and speak clearly.
(Images from CCT SPAB, IHBC, and Victorian Society)