Last week I was lucky enough to share 5 days with Nevhan and Dennis as they completed their work experience placement through the ICT Excellence Fellowships program.

Here are some of my thoughts about my work experience week:

1. Passion without inspiration is like suspenders on your boxer shorts!

I made the important connect between passion and inspiration during my work experience week; the power of passion can only be realised when it inspires someone else. I really got this when Nevhan and I were having a chat about his interest in building PC gaming machines. I mentioned that I was thinking about building a home machine, and he came alive. He systematically went through the latest and greatest components, comparing and contrasting motherboards, processors, memory; and practically built the dream machine in my head, using nothing but communication and passion.

2. "If you can learn from hard knocks, you can also learn from soft touches" - Carolyn Kenmore

I love this quote, because it really summed up the whole week. Showing Nevhan and Dennis through the office, taking them out on client visits, buying them lunch; it all cumulated in a great work experience. And not once did it need to be a "Don't bother me, I'm a busy man" experience. I think there are alot of misconceptions about work experience that stem from bad experiences and urban myth; but in essence, it was all about integrating them into the daily "business as usual", rather than trying to think of "safe" ways to keep them occupied.

3. "Don't believe the hype" - Public Enemy

My last thought on work experience is inspired by Nevhan's last blog post and another famous quote from none other than Public Enemy; Don't believe the hype!

Microsoft is one of the most amazing places to work. But unfortunately we are thrust into an industry where well established oppositions influence people's perceptions. If a Microsoft and an IBM employee walk into the same meeting, there is an almost certain expectation that they will immediately drop their notebooks, grapple with each other Foxy Boxing style, and slug it out until neither is standing. Nevhan's blog post really hit home for me that it doesn't matter who you work for; at the end of the day, if you're passionate, interested and genuine, then you are capable of changing someone's bad perceptions into good experiences.

So good luck guys! It was a pleasure to work with you both, and thanks for the experience!