Dressed up in jeans

This is an article by Joe Whitmore.
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Joe taking it easy in Australia

Joe taking it easy in Australia

On embarking on my journey to Australia to do a four-week PR placement, there were a lot of questions I was eager to have answered.

There were the obvious, niggling questions that most who have partaken in an internship will relate to, usually consisting of: ‘Will they like me?’ ‘Will they take me seriously, or just have me make tea for four whole weeks?’.

But the real question I wanted answered and the ultimate reason I went on a placement in Sydney was to experience PR from a different angle and see if it were all that different to my experiences in the UK.

Many of us have a preconception of the Australian’s to take a much more care free approach to life than us, which lead me to ask the question ‘Are the Aussies as laid back and unperturbed as their British cousins when it comes to work within the PR industry?’.

The agency whom I would be working under during my stay in Australia was ‘One Green Bean’, a relatively new agency whose clients include Lego, Warner Bros, Coca-Cola, Pepsi & Nike to name but a few. With such an impressive and varied client list, I was excited to get stuck in and see what kind of work I would be carrying out.

Despite the sweltering 35°C heat on my first day, I commuted to the offices in a shirt and jeans; intent on making a good first impression.

As I entered the office a lady named Sariah, who would be my supervisor for the duration of my time there, greeted me. As I looked around the large open plan office I realised that everybody was dressed down in shorts and the occasional t-shirt.

Sariah took me to a nearby café and explained to me what I could expect from my time at One Green Bean and told me that she would be my ‘bean buddy’, a term used by the agency as a chaperone figure who I could go to if I had any queries. After this I was then taken around the whole office and personally introduced to the 50 plus members of staff.

After I was settled at my desk and all the formalities were out the way it was time to get down to work. My first task was to complete a Lego coverage document, although it wasn’t anything too hard hitting it was work nonetheless and by all means a lot better than packing press kits all day. I continued with this task till the end of the day.

On my second day I went to work in shorts, something that felt alien to me but had been told by Sariah to be “perfectly acceptable”, given the heat. I continued with the coverage document I started the day before, running errands here and there till the end of the day.

This continued throughout the week, with little much else to do other than coverage documents. I wasn’t completely disheartened as I told myself the work might get more interesting at the start of week two.

When my second week finally came around I found myself completing the coverage documents I had been given, expecting to be given some more to finish. I was instead asked to help with the corporate team who were in the process of running two campaigns with their largest client, Commonwealth Bank.

I had been asked to draft and write up a press release with regards to Australia’s latest Home Buyer Index. The task was daunting, as I had no idea who the client were and had never written a corporate press release before. My deadline was lunchtime the following day for the first draft, so I was equally nervous about this.

Nevertheless I got to work, asking my colleagues lots of questions in the process and sent over the first draft at lunch time the next day.

From here on out, the workload piled up and I was often working on numerous tasks at one time. The material I was working on also got better and I managed to get myself involved in some very interesting campaigns.

My worries of not being taken seriously as an intern had soon faded and started to really enjoy my time at One Green Bean. Obviously, there were times where I made the teas, packed media kits and ran errands but that’s to be expected isn’t it. After four weeks, numerous media releases, blog posts and campaign shoots later, my internship had finally come to an end.

On reflection, my time at One Green Bean had been a real eye opener for me. At first glance, the sunny weather, dressed down attire and ‘bean buddy’ reference made me think that Australian PR is a far cry from what I had experienced back in England. Though once I had settled and got and really got my teeth into my work, I realised that it really wasn’t all that different at all.

Even on the day of the record breaking 42°C scorcher, it was business as usual and the team were as professional and dedicated as ever. It was encouraging to be taken seriously as budding PR practitioner, as I know of occasions where this has not been the case.

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