14 June 2013
On day 2, we woke up bright and early to go back to the airport where Virgin Australia blocked off Gate 45 for a photo shoot. Everybody suited up in their official Best Jobs gear talked amongst each other as things started to become real: this is the final week. Some people fitting right into their gear, and some of us swimming in excess fabric, all our outfits aligned and the 18 finalists were sealed into the competition. Media crews instructed a walk out of the airplane corridor and through the gate as if we hadn’t ever arrived the day prior. Fat smiles were requested for the cameras and the candidates quickly obliged––but some more than others (Funsters, of course).
Faces half numb from smiles, we headed up to the Virgin Australia lounge where the CEO of Virgin Australia and Nick Baker, Chief Marketing Officer at Tourism Australia, introduced all of us to the media and then did a big reveal. They officially announced a 7th job, the “High Flyer” working directly with Virgin Australia to study, experience and help grow their customer service experience into something unmatched by other airlines in the industry. This position allows the candidate to fly to every state in Australia tasting food and wines, seeing tourism packages and analyzing areas of improvement and innovation through media and blogs. Richard Branson still appears to have his hand shoved deep into the workings of Virgin as they embrace personality over profit every single day. I have definitely gained respect for his brands after experiencing them first hand. Even Liberty, Virgin’s marketing manager came up to me and vocalized their hopes to work with people of character, the bridge between their company and their fliers. We saw all the makings of an ace organization. I’m honored to know they’re looking at us with high considerations.
After we ushered ourselves out of the terminal, the group bus was awaiting to take us to the most iconic visual in Australia, the Sydney Opera House. Getting off the bus and seeing it, I knew exactly what to expect, but that made no difference. Being there was incredible, and the further you look around Circular Quay, the more you realize there’s no place like Australia. Every 20 degrees you turn, you see something else spectacular. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is arched in the distance, covering an entire landscape of sky just by itself. A ferris wheel spins right below it and The Rocks, the oldest landing spot for immigrants is found just on the opposite side of the bridge. It is impossible to take a bad picture because something good is always in focus. The Quay is such an amazing spot, yet hundreds of jog by, sip wine and hold hands as if it’s just a normalcy. But, I suppose if you’re a Sydneysider, my “amazing” is their “normal”. Jealous.
On the following day, we had another early call time. This day, we got another big dose of Aussie experience at Taronga Zoo. We arrived before the zoo was open, which I realize now was an exclusive perk that only Best Jobs could’ve pulled off. We
were immediately brought to the koalas. They sleep the majority of their days, but as luck would have it, they were so active that we saw them leaping from branch to branch literally inches away from our faces. I’ve never seen animals like this before from green-billed ducks, to seriously frightening gorillas and giraffes sniffing my hair. People use the word “zoo” to describe something crazy. For the first time, every meaning of the word came together and I had a complete blast there. You can see it in my face in the videos––I look like a 12-year old opening a Nintendo 64 on Christmas in 1996. I’m loving New South Wales so far, and if you can’t tell, I’m doing something wrong. Don’t blame the place; blame me because there’s absolutely no way not to have fun here.