My alarm goes off. I hop out of bed, get changed into my gym gear and I’m out the door.
I park at Lake Burley Griffin and begin running around the lake’s exercise/walking paths. Exercising in the morning helps me wake up, and allows me to justify enjoying one sausage roll too many from the local bakery, Dobinson’s, at my team’s fortnightly morning tea.
I make my way home, have a quick breakfast and get ready for the day. I leave my apartment and begin my daily walk to work. Fortunately, commuting around Canberra is super convenient. Living in Dickson, I walk most days to and from work. This only takes me 30mins or so, and it’s a great way to clear my head and listen to a podcast. Today I’m listening to the most recent Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales’ hilarious ‘Chat 10, Looks 3’ podcast, which I thoroughly enjoy having a good laugh to.
I arrive at the Department, ready for a new day. I like to arrive a little earlier most days, but I also come in at 9:00 am some mornings. Fortunately, the Department’s flexible working hours means employees have the ability to work anytime between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm, with a standard working day being 7.5 hours of work. The flexibility of being able to pop in and out of the Department during the day is something truly unique and one of the many benefits working for the Department.
After making a cup of tea, I read through my emails, check my calendar, and browse the day’s news headlines. As the Department’s work spans broad cross-sections of Australian society, the headlines are valuable for understanding external matters affecting the Department and our Ministers.
My colleagues have all arrived for the day, and after catching-up on everyone’s evening, I create a list of priorities for the day. This assists me in structuring my work whilst also helping me organise my rotation work around graduate commitments. Being a graduate, you’re fortunate to engage with a wide range of opportunities to develop professional and personal connections with people in the Department and the Public Service more broadly. Specifically, I list my daily tasks, accounting for my upcoming Industry Tour report (a field-based project), and our graduate cohorts’ Social Club responsibilities.
My Director welcomes the team for the day, and we start the day with a team meeting. This is a great opportunity to understand the priorities of my fellow colleagues and share any upcoming commitments I have. This also helps me understand how my work directly contributes to the team’s strategic direction, and how the team progresses the Department’s broader objectives.
I get stuck into my tasks for the day.
My current rotation is in Aviation and Airports Division’s, International Standards team. I’m thoroughly enjoying my experience with this team as the work directly relates to my academic background in international relations and the work I produce directly contributes to progressing Australia’s international aviation agenda. At the moment, I’m working with my supervisor to progress Australia’s re-election campaign to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly. ICAO is a United Nations body that works with 193 Member States and industry groups to reach consensus on international civil aviation Standards and Recommended Practices.
An urgent request for a brief on a policy issue has just come through to our team and is due COB today. We all come together in our work area to discuss our next steps for tackling the task. I volunteer to prepare an initial draft brief. To assist me with the process, I reach out to our external colleagues in the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and Airservices Australia. Their knowledge and background on the subject provide me with confidence that I can deliver a high-quality brief. I set to it, using the advice of my colleagues as well as additional research to pull together a draft brief.
Following this, my supervisor and I run through the draft, providing helpful feedback and discussing where further information may be required. I review the brief and send off an updated version to my Director.
I head down to the foyer of our building where the 2019 Graduates eat lunch together. They are a fantastic bunch of likeminded, funny people and it’s always a joy to catch-up and check-in on each other. As I moved down from Brisbane to work for the Department, the Graduates have become my support network. I truly appreciate them for it.
Some days I also treat myself and grab lunch from Canberra’s various cafes and restaurants. Being located in the City, there’s a lot of great food to choose from!
With the day flying by, I change focus for the afternoon. Looking at my calendar I remember that we have an afternoon teleconference with our Mission in Montreal, Canada. We use this as an opportunity to catch-up on updates from ICAO, which is based in Montreal. This helps us understand the upcoming priorities of ICAO and work accordingly to progress Australia’s aviation agenda.
I spend the next two hours reading through relevant briefing and notes to provide background on our meeting. Even though I’m still getting my head around aviation jargon, I find background reading is always beneficial when preparing for meetings.
My team and I meet for our teleconference. I agreed to Chair this meeting, and as a result I take the time to run through our agenda items, which has been kindly prepared by a fellow colleague. Our team has a fantastic collaborative culture, and everyone is always willing to assist each other.
The teleconference runs smoothly, and we cover off a variety of points. We agree to reconvene in the coming weeks.
I finish off the day by assisting my supervisor with ad-hoc tasks. In particular, I focus on drafting several diplomatic cables to Australia’s Missions overseas, informing them of news relating to Australia’s aviation priorities. This is a great opportunity to practice writing concisely and clearly, whilst also allowing me to use my knowledge of international relations.
I start to pack-up my belongings as the day draws to a close. I double check my tasks list and have a look over my upcoming meetings for tomorrow. I make note of anything that will require my immediate attention for the next day. I grab my sneakers and head off for my walk home.