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 A day in the life of a grad – Patrick

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Policy stream

8.20am

Arrive at work. I live in Griffith so will walk to work a couple of days a week. On days I do walk, I have a shower in the change rooms before heading to my desk. I like to be ready to meet anyone in the department on any given day, so usually wear a tie with my suit.

8.30am

Get settled at my desk. I read over emails in my inbox, and look at the morning clips (media articles relevant to the department and portfolio) for significant headlines I should be aware of. I make a ‘to do' list of my immediate priorities for the day, the tasks I that need to complete during the week, and less urgent tasks. I am in the Office of Legal Services Coordination (OLSC), so the less urgent tasks can often be quite process-driven, which helps break up bigger pieces of work that take a lot of concentration or energy. In OLSC, this list can change any number of times a day, as we react to urgent tasks coming through that take priority. As far as the public service goes, OLSC is definitely a section fit for adrenaline junkies!

9.00am–9.20am

Coffee catch-up with my ‘buddy'. The support network in the Graduate Program is superlative. Your buddy is a former AGD grad who can help you through anything grad-related. They've been through the program before, and are full of invaluable advice on work-life balance, which committees may interest you, or just what it's like being new to full time work. My buddy and I try and grab a coffee every week just to have a chat and check in with each other.

9.30am–10.00am

Branch stand up. Stand ups are your chance to hear what's going on in the rest of your branch for the week, and see where your work fits into the bigger scheme of section, branch, and wider departmental work. The branch head and sections heads explain their priorities and any significant pieces of work on the horizon or that will completed in the week ahead. My branch holds a mini-tutorial of sorts at the end of each stand up as well. This is a great opportunity to learn and further your on-the-job knowledge. After the stand up, it's back to my desk and tackling my to do list. My priorities for the day include summarising public submissions and progressing a major expenditure report.

12.30pm–1.30pm

Lunch. The grads catch up for lunch most days between 12.30–1.30pm. I join the rest of grads outside at the barbecue tables (I'm sure we'll move inside when the mercury starts to really drop). Lunch with the other grads gives me a chance to debrief from the morning. Social time like this during my lunch hour is really valuable – it gives everyone the chance to discuss challenges from work or help one another if we're having trouble in work or outside the department. You also get to plan what's on for the weekend and hear about what's going on outside of the department.

1.30pm–5.30pm

Some work wins! Afternoons can go really quickly in OLSC. We have regular section meetings to make sure everyone has enough to be getting on with, and aren't being swamped or feeling overwhelmed by their to do list. I have a nice clear schedule this afternoon, though, with no meetings, so happily sink my teeth into some report summaries. But what's this? An urgent task emerges! Due COB today! My supervisor asks if I'd like to take it on. I'm nervous. The deadline means I have to put all other tasks aside, and there's little room for error. But I'm excited, and encouraged that my supervisor and section head trust me with something as important as this. It is an afternoon of researching documents and checking through our records, typing emails and discussing potential solutions with my team as hurdles arise. After the initial drafting stage, I spend some time discussing with my supervisor and section head to iron out any errors. Once we're happy with it, it is approved and sent for further clearance. A collaborative effort that I contributed to in a significant way – definitely a work win!