Thoughts from Cuckoo HQ
May 15

One Flew Into The Cuckoo's Nest

Kasey is only the 2nd placement student we've taken on in here. We offered it to her the first time she came in to talk to us. No shit. We had already checked in with 2 people whose opinions we value and both said she'd be perfect for us. She is.


The gist

I know, I know!  The actual name of the 1975 American drama is “One Flew OVER the Cuckoo’s Nest”. 

However, since I’ve landed, I have come to the decision that one cannot fly higher than this nest. 

They say it’s tough at the top, but these people make things look easy.  This team are seriously the best in the business.  Sometimes words fail me!  Bar one word, WOW! (Martin, that’s for you!)

Feeling at home

I’ve been with Cuckoo for only a few months.  I am still a nervous wreck some days, because I want to stay.  Forever.  My time here has been nothing short of amazing and I count myself so lucky that they chose me to work along side them. 

The office isn’t like an office. There are no separate cubicles or cubbies,. There is no dull atmosphere.  There is colour, music, sweets, toys, pictures, chalk and marker-filled walls and doors. 

Most importantly, there is stability, belief, hard work, determination, encouragement and pride. 

I have never come into this office and felt unwelcome, not good enough, or not valued. I may have felt that way before I arrived, ha!

I am sometimes a ball of panic! But my team make me feel like I am one of them, like I can do it. 

Learning in action

One can read all the literature, all of the books, the tips, the online articles they want but when it comes to the crunch, being on a team such as this one will teach you everything you need to know about the REAL event world.

There have been students before me in here who will agree; book smart is simply not enough. 

Mark knows how anal I am about stuff. This year I have (just about) reached a first class honours average for my degree. Without this job, that now means nothing to me. There is no piece of paper in the world that can teach you the kind of stuff these guys do and deal with on a day to day basis. Practical experience is key in this industry.

I could ramble on and keep you for years trying to tell you what we do in here. If I’m at all honest, a list of what we DON'T do would be a shorter list. Any event person will agree. It’s a “Jack of all trades” kind of job. In here, we all do just about everything one could think of.

What I've actually been doing

I've have been curating content for the company’s mailers that are distributed every couple of weeks to subscribers, which I love! I have been doing imperative contact research for some future clients, organising newspaper public notices for a huge outdoor event, sourcing props, décor, equipment and other supplies for a range of indoor and outdoor gigs, putting suppliers lists together for licence applications and event management plans and getting these documents printed and bound so they’re all pretty for the important people.

I have also done a ton of other stuff like drive a van to collect lots of different types of equipment, which has been brilliant! I am a small girl and when I am in a van, I demand the road- and I get it!!! Who doesn't love that, right?

But the important thing about this is, I’ve been able to do what I love, while meeting suppliers, other industry people and learn how to deal with them.  It can sometimes be a little daunting but as they say, one can’t make an omelette without cracking a few eggs!


For the last week or two, I have (for some reason) felt like I wasn't being proactive enough, or that I was dropping the ball a little. I don’t know why. Like I said, sometimes I'm just a ball of panic for no reason!

Last week, I had a pretty unreal day. I got a call to say I had been nominated for an Event Industry People Award! This may not be a huge deal to many, but it’s huge to me.  To know that the people I look up to and people in industry think that I am in any way deserving of something like this makes me want to just… do… everything!!

I hope I can win it. Not only for myself, but to show others that there is a reason I would be “Intern / Volunteer of the Year”, and that is because I am a Cuckoo Intern.

My advice

So, I have a couple of things to share with any students or anybody seeking to break into the industry.

  • Don’t be afraid – if you never shoot, you never know. I was a nervous wreck coming here! I said to myself, on your first try, you've a 50/50 shot at being right.  On your second try, you’re going to nail it! It’s all about learning, and there is no better environment.
  • Open your mind – if you’re going to do something, do it right. Don’t half-arse something and more importantly, don’t consider yourself too good for any job.  We all have to start somewhere and whether experienced or not, we’re a J”ack of all trades”, remember? Events need SO many different kinds of jobs for them to happen properly, clean and dirty ones. So open your mind and get your hands dirty… Or make tea, one of those.
  • People are people – yes! We’re all human, we all forget stuff, get scared, emotional, angry, happy, giggly, and in events, angry a second and probably a third time. Don’t let this discourage you. People are people. We all have a right to our feelings. Don’t take it all too seriously, get on with the work, and you’ll be not only recognised, but commended for it. 
  • Always have manners – in this industry, everyone knows EVERYONE. It is always advisable in life (not just this industry), that if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing. You never know how life will work out. It has a funny way of being coincidental and you could wind up pissing off the MD of a company in the queue for the bathroom or something. And in general, people tend to just like you better if you’re a nice person. So play nice!
  • You’ll make friends – you will, of course! I have definitely made some friends for life. Again, just be nice. It won’t be scary and crazy forever. It’s a people business, and the vast majority of people are exceptionally lovely!
  • Only do it if you want to do it – this one is important.  A lot of people, in any job, usually don’t tap into how they actually feel about the job enough. They just seem to go through the motions. This job is a very tough job. I enjoy it, I find it hugely rewarding (can’t you tell?), and I know it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. However, it took me a lot of finding out what I DON’T want to do to know that I love it now. Make sure you are passionate enough about people, events, hard work and you’re willing to have the craic! There’s nothing worse than being on site for 10-12 hours, if you’d rather be selling shoes or in bed doing nothing. 

The bottom line

So there it is, my work life to date and my hints and tips! I’ll check in again with you again soon, hopefully. If I haven’t bored you all to tears yet!

Be good, be safe, and be nice!

October 28, 2016, 11:48 PM

Hi, this is just the best placement description ever. Only one question comes to my mind, please, how can I apply? Many thanks for this testimony, Regards, Domitille

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