What's your employer doing and what are your areas of responsibility?
TransGrid manages and operates high voltage electricity transmission in NSW and ACT. I am by no means an expert in electricity! My role as a Corporate Services Graduate means that I get to rotate around the business in the support services. My rotations so far include Transformation, Human Resources, IT and Legal. In each rotation, I have learnt new skills which I have been able to utilise in other teams.
On a typical day, I’ll get into the office by 8.30 AM, check my emails and write up my ‘to-do’ list. Before getting stuck into any work… it’s coffee time! I’ll loop in with my teammates to get clarification on the tasks ahead and see if there is anything else they need help on. We will usually have a team stand-up where our manager provides a business update and we go around the room with our priorities. Before you know it, it’s lunchtime where we walk down to Chinatown for a quick bite. Back in the office, I have a catch up with my mentor who helps me think through and discuss any issues I may have. I’ll attend project update meetings and work through any action items that have been assigned to me. If I am conducting research, putting a presentation together or even writing up communications, I will always discuss these with the relevant stakeholders to ensure I have accurate information. The day flies by and at 5.30 PM everyone is chatting about their plans for the weekend before heading home.
Where did you grow up? How did you get to your current job position and for how long have you been doing it already?
I grew up and started university in Sydney. Halfway through my degrees, I relocated to Perth where I completed my studies. I’d work casually about 25-30 hours a week to save up for the uni breaks when I would almost always be travelling. I have worked in many different areas from coaching sport, working in a restaurant to being an educator at before and after school care. I found this role in Grad Australia and was instantly attracted to the rotations that were on offer. Coming up to my last year of uni I had no idea which pathway I wanted to pursue: Law or Human Resources. I knew I wanted to be part of a graduate program because of the development opportunities and support they provided. Many programs are strictly either a business or legal program not combined. I thought having the opportunity to gain experience in both would help me decide what I wanted to do.
I have now been at TransGrid for just over a year with the grad program commencing in February 2019 and am loving all the opportunities that have arisen! It is never easy making a decision when you get to a crossroads and you think there is only 1 path to take. One year into the program I think I am getting a feel for where I would like to be and how I would like to utilise all the skills that I have learnt so far.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes! You definitely do not need to have a specific degree to be a Corporate Services graduate. Depending on what you have studied and your areas of interest, there can be flexibility on your rotations if you start discussions early with HR. At the end of the day it is about your attitude and what you want to develop. Having technical knowledge is one thing but having persistence, initiative and eagerness to learn are critical. For example, I am by no means a technical IT person and felt completely out of depth going into that rotation, thinking “how on earth can I add value here”. I soon learnt that there is actually a lot that I can do and even just observe. I was able to bring across my process mapping skills I learnt in a previous rotation and learnt about IT communication and change management within projects. Be open-minded and never cut yourself short but saying no.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
I love partnering with different people within the business and creating something that can initiate change and better processes. Whether I am conducting research, structuring a presentation, writing a report or building a giant excel spreadsheet, I enjoy process improvement and working with the business to achieve their goals. As a graduate, some of the tasks that you are handed are very tedious but you are also given the opportunity to run your own projects and present them to your manager and stakeholders. The 9-day fortnight is also pretty cool!
What are the limitations of your job?
Personally, the only limitation I have found is being boxed into your area of study. Some people may not think I am interested in a particular piece of work because it has no correlation with legal or human resources. I have been proactive in letting my relevant managers aware that while these may be my ‘areas of expertise’ it does not mean I am not eager to be exposed and challenged by other parts of the business. As each rotation is different, I wanted to make sure I learnt what I could from each even especially if it was something I have zero prior knowledge in like IT and Transformation.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
Never be afraid to ask questions and speak up! It sounds simple but too often we can be nervous to ask especially when you are a grad as you may not feel like it is your place. I quickly learnt that our opinions are important as we are a set of fresh eyes looking over problems that other people in the business may have encountered years ago and are now applying the same methodology.
Be open to endless possibilities. Just because you have studied something for 5 years does not mean you HAVE to pursue it! There are so many opportunities once you enter the professional workforce. Don’t box yourself in too early on. Branch out while you can to help you make an informed decision. This is what a graduate program is perfect for. If there is an area of the business you want to get some experience in, go for it!
Take care of yourself and make sure you find your work/life balance. Sometimes the weight of work and personal life can be overwhelming. It’s important to take time in your day to get that coffee with a colleague or friend. Eat lunch away from your desk or go for short walks if possible. You are more productive when you are mentally and physically healthy.