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Nadim Sassine

No matter what your official title is, problem-solving is at the heart of being a Project Manager.

Who is Johnstaff? What is your position?

Johnstaff is one of the largest employee-owned Consultancy Firms, specialising in providing Project Management, Construction, Advisory and Cost Management Services. The majority of our work is with Government Organisations, with offices based all over Australia and New Zealand.

My current role at Johnstaff is as a Project Engineer. Explaining what I do in a few sentences is difficult, as every day possess a new challenge. No matter what your official title is, problem-solving is at the heart of being a Project Manager. My responsibilities are vast, and include but are not limited to; taking meeting minutes, reviewing disruption notices, undertaking defect inspections and attending site safety walks.

What's your background?

I grew up in Sydney Australia, and went to school locally. My upbringing was no different to any other teenager. I grew up loving sports and thinking that I knew what I wanted to do after school. Initially I wanted to become a Lawyer. When I graduated from school, I was given the opportunity to move to Melbourne and work as an Assistant Project Manager for a family friend. This experience was the catalyst behind my decision to change from wanting to become a Lawyer, to a Project Manager. At the time I had already registered to study commerce at University and it was too late to change. I then continued studying commerce for 1 year before transferring into Construction Management and Property. Upon returning to Sydney after 4 months of working in Melbourne, I started working for Johnstaff . Two and a half years later, I am still working at Johnstaff and finalising my studies.    

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes. Common sense can get you a long way in any industry you work in. As a Project Manager you need to be organised and able to adapt to different situations. As mentioned previously, problem solving is at the heart of what we do. Analytical and technical data is learnt throughout your day to day interactions with contractors and users. Confidence when it comes to public speaking is required as our job revolves around informing people who have no construction background about what works are occurring.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The coolest thing about my job is that I get to interact with individuals of different ages and experience levels. I can go from being in a meeting with a builder, to discussing hospital operations with a surgeon. Furthermore, my job allows me to actually utilise the information I’m learning at University. Being able to establish a direct link between work and university creates a more efficient learning platform. 

What are the limitations of your job?

Like any student who is both working and studying at the same time, managing your work load can be difficult. Johnstaff sets high, but realistic expectations for all their employees. The work load will not be unbearable, but the expectation is that it is done. Establishing a work/life balance whilst studying is also essential. I find myself needing to play catchup on work after hours and on weekends at times.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • No matter what you’re studying, make sure you get work experience in that respective industry. You may spend years studying, to only realise that once you start working in the industry, you hate it;
  • Ensure you make the most out of University. Socialise with your peers and Lecturers. It will allow you to begin establishing a solid communication platform within your industry; and
  • Just generally enjoy your time and freedom at University while it lasts.