Canberra for grads – help the mandarins of tomorrow

New Yeah 19 February 2009 21

Undeniably Canberra is a public service town. Commonwealth government departments employ a brobdignagian volume of Canberrans; if you don’t happen to work in the APS right now, there is a good chance that you might have in the past. Or you spouse might. You might live over the back fence from a FAS or sink the odd beer with Baz, the maintenance bloke at DBCDE. Ergo, I’m assuming that you probably have some idea of what the silly service is and how it fits into the social fabric of Canberra.

At this time of the year the APS absorbs a huge number of freshly-suited eager young things who, let it be said, generally have very little understanding of either the APS or of Canberra but are hell-bent on making something of themselves.

Invariably during their early months riding the gravy train in our fair town, grads will have lunch with fellow grads, drink at the pub with grads, live with grads and quite possibly hook up with other grads.

This is all very insular, to my way of thinking at least. It can take a while for grads to move beyond APS circles and I think their time here is the poorer for it. A large number of grads leave town within a couple of years of moving here and I think this is in large part due to an inability (or perhaps reluctance) to integrate with the wider (that is, non-APS and certainly non-grad) Canberra.

Can you, good readers of the RA, offer any suggestions to our new residents so that grads’ experience of Canberra is as broad as possible?

What should grads seek in Canberra? What should they avoid? Indeed, is there any hope for them?

[ED – I suppose the first step is to point them in our direction here!]


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21 Responses to Canberra for grads – help the mandarins of tomorrow
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kos kos 7:51 pm 19 Feb 09

MWF said :

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

Why spoil their dreams? The longer they continue thinking something like this might actually happen, the funnier it is when it doesn’t.

BWA HA HA HA!

Yeah. Some Gen Y’s workplace ethics, IMHO, are almost non-existent. And some of them are so over inflated with their sense of self importance, I have to stifle hysterical laughter while at work.

I recently heard one say that because she had been employed in the PS for 18 months she thought it time she became a mentor to other staff because she now had a very deep and extensive knowledge about the organisation. BWA HA HA HA HA!

Unfortunately there are a lot of grads like this, and it becomes a pain in the ass to look after them or teach them things. Good on them for trying hard and having ambition, but they generally aim a little too high.

Getting them to join or read The RiotACT is a good start!

toriness toriness 7:36 pm 19 Feb 09

while SNOG serves a certain purpose, god help you if that is the one driver for your activities outside of work. my tip for broading your social and cultural horizons is to join a sports team or an interest group (like a book club) to meet people other than grads. other you will lead an incestuous insulated existence. and please do not be one of those graduates who complain about canberra all the time and go back to sydney/melbourne/brisbane every weekend/opportunity – you are not taking the time or effort to get to know this city, so it’s little wonder it doesn’t feel like a home to you. you pain me and the people around you, save yourself and us the agony and just go back to sydney now!

MWF MWF 6:46 pm 19 Feb 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

Why spoil their dreams? The longer they continue thinking something like this might actually happen, the funnier it is when it doesn’t.

BWA HA HA HA!

Yeah. Some Gen Y’s workplace ethics, IMHO, are almost non-existent. And some of them are so over inflated with their sense of self importance, I have to stifle hysterical laughter while at work.

I recently heard one say that because she had been employed in the PS for 18 months she thought it time she became a mentor to other staff because she now had a very deep and extensive knowledge about the organisation. BWA HA HA HA HA!

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 1:41 pm 19 Feb 09

Send them to CIT for six months so they can get some real skills, like writing simple sentences and learning that when I circle something in red and write “FIX THIS” it’s not a suggestion they might want to maybe take on board if they’re, like, in the right headspace? And if it, like, fits in with their life plan to be an EL1 in six months, and stuff?

Why spoil their dreams? The longer they continue thinking something like this might actually happen, the funnier it is when it doesn’t.

BWA HA HA HA!

Thumper Thumper 12:50 pm 19 Feb 09

Um, why not just do what normal people do and makes friends?

Are grads so special that they have lost all forms of human interaction and contact?

And I agree with WMC…

ikarus ikarus 12:27 pm 19 Feb 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

Or try to meet some grads from outside the PS. There are a number of large (and smaller) organistions who run grad programs in Canberra.

Yeah… we need love too =)

kieran AP kieran AP 11:57 am 19 Feb 09

most years SNOG organises a Paintball Day so all the grads can meet grads from different organisations. That seems to have broad attraction rather than the insular activities inferred above.

TheScientist TheScientist 11:47 am 19 Feb 09

they just need to join clubs.

i moved here as a postgrad student, and so only really knew other students. joined an rc car racing club (having had never raced or even owned an rc car before, but always wanted to). meet lots of nice people from all walks of life.
all with a common interest..

johnboy johnboy 10:47 am 19 Feb 09

imarty said :

Thanks deye. Word didn’t recognise it and I’m too lazy to walk to the bookshelf to check it the old fashioned way. I knew sooner or later someone would come to the rescue.

Heck you could have searched RiotACT for that one.

PM PM 10:44 am 19 Feb 09

They would learn more by sitting at the end of the bar at The Pot Belly for one day a week for a year than a year’s worth of formal grad training.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 10:41 am 19 Feb 09

Send them to CIT for six months so they can get some real skills, like writing simple sentences and learning that when I circle something in red and write “FIX THIS” it’s not a suggestion they might want to maybe take on board if they’re, like, in the right headspace? And if it, like, fits in with their life plan to be an EL1 in six months, and stuff?

imarty imarty 10:38 am 19 Feb 09

Thanks deye. Word didn’t recognise it and I’m too lazy to walk to the bookshelf to check it the old fashioned way. I knew sooner or later someone would come to the rescue.

NoAddedMSG NoAddedMSG 9:39 am 19 Feb 09

Skidbladnir said :

Avoid your departmental “Graduate socialisation program” (whatever they call it) as if the organisers and other participants were haemorrhaging from their eyes.

I believe it is called S.N.O.G., which seems an apt name.

My pointer would be: Spending your time complaining about Canberra when you have only just moved here makes you a very boring person who no one wants to invite to go to events with them.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 9:23 am 19 Feb 09

Or try to meet some grads from outside the PS. There are a number of large (and smaller) organistions who run grad programs in Canberra.

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 9:18 am 19 Feb 09

Avoid your departmental “Graduate socialisation program” (whatever they call it) as if the organisers and other participants were haemorrhaging from their eyes.

They’re actually just creating a group of isolated people, who only have one thing in common, the fact that they don’t know Canberra.

But develop a hobby, or take some classes that interest you, and meet real people that way.

caf caf 9:15 am 19 Feb 09

Take up dancing. It doesn’t really matter what – hip hop, swing, latin…

54-11 54-11 9:12 am 19 Feb 09

I’ve sat on a few panels for agencies selecting graduates for entry level (usually about APS5) positions. Invariably, they are impressive young people who get selected.

In each case, I’ve been impressed with the dtermination of the agencies to provide assistance to these young people when they move to Canberra. I’ve also got no doubt that there will often be gaps between the good intentions, and what actually happens, but the key is to have good support services within the department. These can then point the grads toward the ample other opportunities that are available.

I doubt that there is a better city in Australia with respect to the variety and quality of extra-curricula activities that are available.

Growling Ferret Growling Ferret 9:01 am 19 Feb 09

Join a sporting club to make a heap of new people, only a % of which are public servants.

(Plug inserted here) If you want to play amateur Aussie Rules, go and have a kick with the Woden Blues at Forestry Oval, Yarralumla at 6pm each Tuesday and Thursday…. (/end plug)

poptop poptop 9:00 am 19 Feb 09

You need to read more Swift. =-)

I think we should offer our grads the opportunity to live in the public housing multi-unit sites. Great learning for social policy development.

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