Working for Free in One of the Most Expensive Cities in the World…

IS SO WORTH IT! So what, I paid about 6 grand to be here, I get paid zero dollars and zero cents per hour (compared to the current minimum wage: $17 per hour!) and a small coffee and muffin costs me at least $10.

I wake up actually looking forward to work. I leave my apartment at 8am every morning, wait for the train to take me into the city and then wait at the bus stop for a bus that takes me over the bridge and into the suburb of Mosman. I arrive at Dani Lombard Public Relations at 9am sharp with a smile on my face!

For those of you who don’t know anything about Dani Lombard Public Relations or public relations in general, let me fill you in. DLPR is a small, boutique agency specializing in eco-friendly, natural health and beauty products. A few products you might be familiar with include Yes To, Neal’s Yard Remedies and Pukka Tea. DLPR has five employees, that is, if you include me.

There’s basically a whole wall of shelves dedicated to all their amazing clients!

Dani Lombard is the ‘chief talker’ and she deals with new business pitches and directly contacting clients. She also just had a little, baby girl so she’s often out of the office being a new mum! Then there’s Jess, an account manager. She’s been with the company for several years and she’s literally the nicest person I’ve ever met. She also has a young, baby girl at home and usually works three days a week. She’s such a fun person to have around the office. Next is Zoe, also an account manager. She’s the fashionista of the office and moved to Sydney from Adelaide to work at DLPR. She’s been with the company for a few years now and lives nearby with her boyfriend of several years. Finally, there’s Sam. She’s usually my go-to when I need something to do and we collaborate on a lot of projects as well. She only works twice a week because she still attends Uni and will be graduating soon! I’m so grateful to work with 3 of the nicest, most down-to-earth girls I’ve ever met.

Anyways, I walk into the office every morning expecting to learn more about PR and I most certainly do. What I love about my job is that I’m handed a wide variety of tasks every day. I work on everything from packaging up a product to send to a journalist or updating the media contact list to searching for social media coverage online or actually crafting a pitch for a real client! At first, I did more basic tasks like running to the newsagent to pick up a magazine. As I continue to learn and get a better grasp for Australian media, I’ve been handed more important tasks that truly challenge me and allow me to test my PR skills. I’ve been able to work with almost all of their clients and prove that I’m a valuable asset to the team!

Another great thing about DLPR is being able to openly communicate with my co-workers as we all sit at the same desk. I hear EVERY conversation that’s had, meaning I get the inside scoop on everything going on in the company. I can ask a question out loud without having to email someone on the other side of the office. We can all talk about each other’s days and take chat breaks when we get stressed! Aside from learning tons about PR, I’ve been able to build relationships with all my co-workers and that’s what makes my job so much fun!

Here are a few highlights from my work experience so far:

I get to take an hour lunch break and I usually walk to this peaceful, little park where I eat my yogurt with no spoon. Whoops! Sometimes, I’ll sit outside the Telstra store (an Aussie phone company) so I can pick up Wifi and use my phone!

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I get to take home the occasional freebie! These are a few Yes To products I took home and I love them!

The other day we got a new set of shelves because we didn’t have enough to fit all of our client products. That means my co-worker Sam and I got to reorganize the whole office, put products on shelves and de-clutter. If you know me, this was one of my FAVORITE tasks. The photo above is the before picture. I forgot to take an after shot! But, that’s my co-worker Zoe finding her way through the mess.

Last week, we delivered cake to several journalists for a new client, Love Home Swap, with the tagline “Swapping your home is a piece of cake!” Get it?! Anyways, the baker brought in leftover cake and we each had a slice. I’m not usually a cake eater but it was really moist and sweet!

I got to meet Dani’s puppy, Tibby! She has allergies so she has to wear a doggie sweater to keep her from itching too much!

Everybody told me that Halloween didn’t exist in Australia. That’s not true. It exists it’s just not as big. Social Diary is a blog that sends us updates when journalists, editors, producers, etc. change jobs or move positions so we know who to contact for pitches. Every year they host a party around Halloween time and I was invited this year! The party is phobia-themed so I’m going as ‘public speaking’ and pinning pieces of paper with a speech on them to my outfit! The party’s on Halloween night and I’m looking forward to a fun time with my co-workers.

Apparently the Melbourne Cup is a bit deal here. Like bigger than the Kentucky Derby. Oh, it’s a horse race by the way. It’s on Nov. 5th. That’s a Tuesday. Nobody works. You’re some sort of crazy if you don’t bet on a horse and you’re even more crazy if you don’t dress up and where a fancy fastener like the ladies above. Restaurants offer special deals for race day like 3-course meals for $90 per person. That’s how much my lunch should cost but instead it’s FREE courtesy of my wonderful boss! We get to leave work early and enjoy the race over drinks and a gourmet meal. Talk about perks!

Ok, I need to shut up now. Long story short, I LOVE my internship. It’s the best work experience I’ve ever had by a long shot. I know I mentioned several wonderful benefits of working at DLPR but the main reason I wake up wanting to go to work is because I’m surrounded by positive, caring and down-to-earth people. It makes all the difference!

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