Notes from a London 2012 broadcast logistics assistant

During the Games of the XXX Olympiad, also knows as London 2012, I have been working for Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) at Greenwich Park, the venue which hosted the Equestrian events and Modern Pentathlon.

I was a support services assistant, perhaps a role more widely known as a broadcast logistics runner. The logistics department handled uniforms, accreditation, catering, travel and everything else the rest of the crew needed to have a good and productive day at work.

Below you will find some observations from my one month of olympic employment, also known as my first proper job ever.

The crew was much nicer than I expected. I was part of the Broadcast Training Programme (BTP), so before I started the job I was a bit suspicious that we, the BTP folk, might not be very welcome there as we were students and trainees. There are plenty of stories circulating on the internet and in the university hallways about less-than-perfect boss-from-hell work experience or internships, presumably because some companies have to take on interns to please the higher power and not because they actually want them. However, I can wholeheartedly say that I was made to feel like a valued OBS employee and not ‘the BTP girl’ as I feared.

Image belongs to OBS.

A busy day is better than a slow day. There is nothing worse than having to sit around aimlessly because you need to work a certain number of hours even though there is nothing for you to do. There weren’t many slow days, and thankfully the few that we experienced were two weeks before competition when OBS were setting up the compound at Greenwich Park. Having been through these, when the truly busy, tiring,12-hour workdays came along we knew better than to complain.

The LOCOG volunteers were amazing. I have nothing but utmost respect for the people who dedicated so much of their time to making London 2012 an incredible experience for everyone. Not even the longest shift in the worst type of weather managed to erase the smile off their faces. They must be made of stronger stuff than me.

If you’re not sure whether you’re doing a job right or feel the need to double check information, don’t be afraid to ask a manager. It’s better to wait for confirmation or further instructions than to do it wrong. Asking someone to repeat or clarify some facts doesn’t make you look disorganised or unprofessional, it shows you want to get it right and do a good job. However, make sure you don’t keep people from doing their job. There’s a fine line between a perfectionist and a nuisance, so don’t bother the producer in the middle of transmission just to ask what time they want to be picked up from the hotel the next day.

Think ahead. If someone comes in the office urgently needing a document you don’t have, make a note that they might need the updated version for tomorrow’s competition and get it the next morning. This way it will be ready for distribution when it’s needed. Use all available resources to find the information, because sometimes urgent updates will be delivered to your office by LOCOG volunteers (eg. results, order to go, medallists, disqualifications, etc), and other less pressing updates will be shared on the media intranet (flower and medal presenters).

Above all, stay positive. And if you work in a park in the United Kingdom, buy a pair of wellies. It will get muddy.

If you made it to the end of my post, have an almond pastry. And why not say hi in a comment?