Diary of a Work Experience Student ( Part 1)

Leila, who will shortly be entering Year 11, decided to do her compulsory work experience placement with us from 2-6 December 2019. 

It was refreshing to have her temporarily join our team and, even more welcoming was to hear her thoughts and opinions of the daily tasks which have now become second nature to us. 

Leila was kind enough to share her daily journal of her experience with us and we are delighted to share this with you all. 

The paragraphs below highlight her choice of placement and the first two days of Leila’s work experience with Silver Service Real Estate. We will share the rest in an upcoming blog soon.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Hi! I am Leila McDonald, a year 10 high school student studying at Albert Park College. I am the niece of Mariam McDonald, the head of Silver Service Real Estate, and I chose to work there as my compulsory work experience placement.

I chose to do my placement here for a few reasons, starting with the fact that I think the skills involved with real estate are valuable in everyday life. I’m very interested in psychology and how human minds work, however considering the confidential nature of clinical psychology I struggled to find a placement in this specific industry. To me, real estate seems like the next best thing. The marketing and engagement skills essential to the job are so important in interacting with people, and the requirement of knowing how to appeal to people and their needs is a deeply psychological process. I’m interested in exploring the world of real estate, and how it can give me an insight into how people engage with it.

From what I can see, the job of a residential real estate agent entails the marketing of a property being leased or sold, conducting inspections, negotiations between landlords and tenants, being responsible for any difficulties or problems with a property that may arise, and some other, smaller scale tasks. I think it’s quite a demanding job, and as much as the administrative hours of SSRE maybe 9 am-5 pm, I’m fairly sure that the agents dedicate large parts of their own lives to it.

Day 1: Monday 2 December 2019

I pulled myself out of bed as I remembered that it was day 1 on the job. I mean, adults are always nattering on about the inconvenience and pain of their work-life, so my tentativeness to embark on a week long journey of a “9 – 5 grind” (as some would say) was not baseless. However, a small part of me felt excited to begin my stint in the workforce, despite my measly wage of $5 a day.

 Dressed to the nines and perfectly preened, I began my long commute of, well, 3 minutes. That’s right, I met my aunty (or should I say ‘supervisor’ for this week) across the road from my apartment building, in our favourite local cafe. So, perhaps the travel experience wasn’t so reflective of a ‘real’ job. The rest of the day made up for it. We spent some time in the cafe as Mariam talked me through the digital system Silver Service Real Estate utilises to organise their files and access their database remotely. It all seemed pretty nifty, and much more convenient than having to travel all the way to the Richmond office.

 We then hopped in the car to head to a routine property inspection, which I was admittedly eager to experience. Being on the other side of a tenant-agent relationship was interesting to observe, knowing what sorts of things my real estate agent zeroes in on when they inspect the apartment I rent with my dad. We then continued on to some small chores and tasks, everyday occurrences for the standard real estate agent, such as meeting with a painter and choosing a new carpet for a recently flooded apartment.

 A bit after midday, we hit the office which was where we spent the rest of the day. Now, I feel like I should mention that the whole time, Mariam was speaking to me in words that clearly made sense to her, but kind of just went over my head. Real estate jargon, you know? I had many questions by the end of the day, some of which I asked at the moment, but the fast-paced environment meant that some had to be saved for later. I mean, what on earth are arrears? Anyway, I finished up my day scrutinising the website and social media platforms that represent the business. I noticed that there was possibly room for expanding and utilising the accounts to more of an extent than they had been, which I will pitch to Mariam if we get time tomorrow. I want to help with what I understand, and I feel like social media is almost my area of expertise!

The day ended and, lucky me, dad agreed to call an Uber so I could get home speedily and efficiently. Not sure I’m getting that 5-star treatment again, so I may have to look into how I’ll get home via public transport. It sounds kind of exciting though.

So, overall, an eventful day and a great start to a productive and insightful week, and I feel ready to approach the job with an open and inquisitive mindset. Bring it on.

Day 2: Tuesday 3 December 2019

Fortunately, it seems that Mariam has set up the week so that seemingly every one of our days begins in the suburb I happen to live in. I had already chosen my outfit in my mind last night as I tried to fall asleep, so I had a plan of attack when I woke up this morning. I, again, began my arduous commute to Mariam’s apartment where we began our day, sending emails and discussing the difficulties of tenants who are unable to pay their rent and get themselves into “arrears” (that fancy word I learnt yesterday). 

We then headed across for another routine inspection, which I’m beginning to enjoy. It does feel a bit invasive, however, it seems that renting a property warrants these visits. Mariam did share some anecdotes about the people living there so, I did get to appreciate that it is also someone else’s home though.

The next stop was an inspection as well, and the tenants were home and had an adorable little toddler, which makes the job so much more enjoyable. 

We then returned to the office and stayed there until the end of the day. Mariam had a meeting, so she left me in the hands of the team to continue showing me the ropes. Lewis, one of the Hub Support members of the SSRE team walked me through how a tenant is secured, and all the paperwork and contracts that are required. We drew up an offer of tenancy, a lease agreement, a lease schedule and some other basic documents that I forgot the name of. It all seemed very standard procedure, but it was very informative for me to know what process my parents go through when they lease a property.

The day wrapped up, and as I suggested yesterday, I did indeed have to catch a tram home. It was so frustrating, and it took like, an hour. It doesn’t sound long, but it felt like years. I think I’m starting to get an idea of what having a full-time job really feels like.

Thank you for your candidness and authenticity Leila. We look forward to reading the second part of your work diary!

Keep a lookout for the second part of this blog!

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