Photo credit: Jamie Kidston
Bachelor of Commerce (2019)
Olivia graduated from the ANU College of Business and Economics in 2019 with a Bachelor of Commerce (double major in Marketing and Management) and joined the ANU Communications and Engagement team in January 2020.
Olivia’s current work extends across a broad range of areas including organising VIP visits to campus, writing executive briefings, major event planning and corporate and crisis communications. Prior to completing her studies, Olivia completed a communications project for the University’s Planning and Performance Division through the CBE internship project and was awarded the CBE Outstanding Intern of the Year Prize in 2019.
1. You had a choice of working for ANU vs undertaking a graduate position in the public service. How did you make your decision?
This was definitely one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, and the process of doing so challenged me both personally and professionally. Some of the things I considered deeply before choosing included which career path better suited my skills, and interests and which was a better fit for my values and personal goals outside of work, how well I could mentally and financially cope with instability at work now versus later in life and how each role would allow me to make a meaningful impact in society. Ultimately, I chose to follow my interests and passion but it came at the cost of risking job security, as I opted for a contracted position over a permanent one (which became even more daunting when the pandemic hit). Having done it myself, I would encourage new graduates to follow their passion in favour of a ‘safe’ but possibly dull job, but to make sure they understand and are accepting of the risks first.
2. What has been the hardest in terms of transitioning from being a student to a full-time employee?
Being accountable to someone other than yourself and the workplace requirement for flexibility and initiative have definitely struck me the most. It’s a big change going from being accountable to no one but yourself at University to reporting to a supervisor and having a whole team rely on your work; but as a result, this also means I put less pressure on myself and am able to better create boundaries between work and personal life that I didn’t have with study. The other big change has been how my work is structured – I need to take initiative in finding tasks to be done and how I go about completing them, they’re often not assigned to me in the same way they were at University. I also work on projects that cover a broad range of areas which means I need to be flexible and adaptable so I can easily switch between tasks. No two days are ever the same in this job, but that’s one of my favourite things about it!