23 June 2013
My name is Andrew Smith, and I’m 25 years old from Southern California. I’ve found myself in a lot of different places doing a lot of different things, but never did I think of being the official ambassador for all things fun in New South Wales, Australia. In March 2013, I saw a Facebook post for a social media position labeled “The Best Job in the World”. At the time, I was working as a social media manager for an international travel show out of Dubai called Peeta Planet, sponsoured by Google. I thought to myself, “how could this be any better?” I clicked and was impressed––$100,000 salary, full-time media creation and living in one of the most beautiful and adventurous places on Earth? Not only was I reeled in, this came at a time when I quit my job, put everything in storage and moved to the Middle East in 5 days to chase fun and opportunity. I had nothing lined up when I got home. A mix of curiosity, fear and excitement compelled me to take a stab at this dream continuation of my career and there were only a couple days left to apply.
I made my application video on an airplane to Dubai. The Chief Funster uncovers all things awesome in events, festivals, food, nightlife and more throughout New South Wales. I felt like my name was all over it. My heart sank as news reports revealed that I was just 1 of 612,000 applications for the Best Jobs in the World. My odds were terrible. I felt content with my submission but disregarded it after seeing the explosive, worldwide enthusiasm. Though I usually make great guesses, I found out how wrong I was when I actually made the Top 25 for the Chief Funster position.
Things got very real, very quick. In the Top 25, everyone exuded excellence and went to incredible lengths to stand out. My now friend, Cameron Ernst, will be called “Party Pants” for the rest of his life. Anyway, it was time to put up or shut up. My chances of generating sufficient media buzz while working 16-hour days from Austin, Nairobi, Buenos Aires and Beirut scared me. Taking to social media and recruiting every human with a profile to use #PickAndrew seemingly worked. 2,200,000 online impressions later, I made the final round and was headed to Sydney for the finals!
I figured that I would learn Sydney in a few days just like other cities, but what a gross underestimation. Not only is Sydney massive, the variety is, too. Our itinerary reflected this and was extensive; we had multiple events everyday, tons of media creation and challenges. We had to now show our creativity and create content while keeping up with the pace. Not separated by computers anymore, it mimicked the real job!
The challenges commenced and I stuck to my plan. I knew good stories would speak for themselves and I didn’t let anything or anyone get into my head. Whether it was sandboarding in Port Stephens, playing footy with the Sydney Swans, yachting through Sydney Harbour, or giving my World Cup qualifier tickets away, Australia showed me just a taste of how many stories are waiting to be uncovered. When I experienced Sydney during the finals, I wanted to be there more than ever. Three months of competition later, the Best Jobs in the World had to be awarded. On stage in front of all the media, my name was read and my future permanently altered. They say there’s nothing like Australia and I’m going to show you just how true that is. New South Wales is full of opportunity and it anybody’s for the taking. Let’s go!