Coffee in hand, I catch up on news and developments in State and Federal Government. I’m addicted to #auspol. This ensures that my views are well informed when I’m collaborating with peers and executives. Today’s a special day, as I’m the MC at our Graduate Networking Breakfast. As I commute to work, my focus shifts to researching public speaking tips on my phone. Wish me luck!
I’m here at our regular Graduate Networking Breakfast catching up with my colleagues. There are over 80 graduates in my program. These breakfasts allow us to share our experiences, grow our professional networks and meet industry leaders. I love being part of this community. I’ve made great friendships here. We share common interests and similar experiences despite being on different rotations across policy, ICT and digital roles. I now have contacts across different Departments and agencies, and understand how our roles work together across government. It’s almost time for me to get on stage. I devour the delicious breakfast and get myself ready.
I’m introducing the morning’s program and speaker, Ross Carter, who is an environmental policy and regulatory specialist with over 30 years’ experience. My nerves kick in, but I channel the energy into presenting with confidence and conviction. What an exciting opportunity!
What a morning! I’m headed back to the office. My current placement is with the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS). I am a Cabinet Liaison Officer, which means I manage incoming Cabinet submissions on behalf of my Department. Cabinet is a committee of State Ministers and is the primary decision making body in NSW. Each week they make decisions on submissions that aim to improve the lives of the people of NSW. The kind of topics covered in the submissions that I receive might include: mental health, child protection and transport. Right now, I’m meeting with my graduate mentor. I was paired up with a mentor in my first rotation and I’ve kept in contact throughout the entire program. We talk about my current placement and setting future career goals. He gives me useful advice on how to deal with challenging situations. It’s great connecting with him, and learning from his many years of experience working in government.
I’m catching up on emails and find that I’ve received a Cabinet Submission from the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation. I usually receive draft versions of Cabinet submissions through eCabinet, which is our virtual records management system. Once I’ve received a Cabinet submission, I circulate it to the relevant business units across FACS asking for responses. I then compile the responses and based on that, I write one joint response that articulates the common stance the Department’s taking. This is usually titled the “FACS Cluster Coordinated Response”. Once my manager and Executive Director approve the response, I send it over to the relevant Department or agency. This work ultimately ensures that the state’s most pressing matters are addressed with great care, reasoning and collaboration.
My graduate colleagues and I are on the hunt for a new local lunch spot. We’re all currently studying a Diploma of Government as part of our program. This is a great chance to catch up on how we’re going with our studies, as well as our work projects.
It’s time for our team meeting. We’re discussing this week’s focus and priority projects. It’s also the opportunity for me to ask questions, and seek support or guidance with my projects. My colleague just got recognised for her work on a recent project, and received the ‘Flying Brain of the Week’ award! I think it’s important we take the time to appreciate my peers’ efforts, because it makes our work more gratifying.
I’m in the zone working on a response that’s due tomorrow. I’ve got this! We usually receive 4 – 5 days to work on our responses to Cabinet submissions. This means that I usually work on at least 3 deadlines a day, and anywhere between 20 – 30 responses a month. This is a challenging role that requires me to be proactive, as I’m often dealing with contentious issues. There may be opposing views within the Department. I step in at this point and consult with the teams regarding their perspectives, with a view to reaching a consensus. Our response to the Cabinet submission is articulated as one united Department voice. This helps the Minister, who can then attend Cabinet and speak decisively about our stance on the policy idea. I use my analytical thinking and legal research skills, because I assess policies based on opportunities, risks and impacts for stakeholders and the broader community. I understand how important my work is. These policies affect the lives of all citizens living in NSW, and I feel grateful that I get to help shape these though my contribution.
I’m constantly juggling competing projects and deadlines, which has taught me how to successfully manage my significant workload. At the end of each day, I consolidate my learnings and review what I’ve accomplished. I then prioritise what I need to focus on and complete tomorrow. Finally, I report back to colleagues and managers to ensure that they’re kept abreast of my progress.
I enjoy work-life balance. Training to be a soccer superstar won’t come easy, so I like to relax after work with practice. I feel so fortunate that my career allows me to dedicate some of my spare time to participating in activities that I love, including spending time with family and friends.
It’s now time to head home and unwind for the day. On my commute home, I’m researching my next backpacking trip through Asia. Looking forward to sharing it on social!