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Jess's graduate story: generalist stream

Jess has a passion for Victoria, recycling and low-waste living. She was thrilled to be offered a role with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

image of graduate Jess

Stream: Generalist
Home department: Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
Studied: International relations
How she describes herself: Friendly, confident, organised, nerdy, environmentalist, garden-lover
Pronouns: She/her/hers

About Jess

I’m a bit of a nerd. I love reading and sewing (need a mask anyone?) and I have a border collie named Cash who’s the cutest dog ever. I live on the beach, in a big old house, with 6 other people who are the best. We do lots of gardening, fishing and fixing things.

I want to continue to work in government. I’d love to try working in the waste and recycling area of DELWP. I’m passionate about recycling, low-waste living and the circular economy and I think Victoria is embracing that.

What I expected

The Victorian Government Grad program has the best recruitment process. They sent out job offers months before any other program I applied for. This gave me the opportunity to stay and work in Melbourne instead of taking a role interstate.

I have so much passion for Victoria and I wanted to work for an organisation that helps make Victoria what it is.

I worked in the hospitality industry for 10 years and never had an office-based, nine-to-five job. I was used to being on my feet all day, using my hands more than my head. So, I expected the graduate program to be scary, intimidating and to feel like I was out of my depth.

What I experienced:

When I started the program, it was more relaxed than I’d expected! My team were very supportive and knew how to ease me into things. They knew how to induct me and understood that I was starting from scratch.

The excitement of learning something new every day made me want to go to work. I’ve been involved in different projects, helping multiple teams and am learning new skills every day.

Who I worked with

I’ve worked with 2 departments. My home department is the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP – the W is silent) and the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR).

I’m proud of all the acronyms, computer programs and writing techniques I’ve learnt.

Working from home has given me an incentive to stay connected to other grads and colleagues so I always look forward to a coffee catch-up or a themed quiz night with other Victorian Public Service (VPS) employees.

How I worked in 2020

I enjoy starting early and organising my day before doing anything else. I try to start and finish at the same time and don’t work outside of those hours unless it’s something urgent. I get dressed in work clothes to stay motivated. 

I live an hour from the office, so cutting out the commute has been great for my health. I have more time to cook and exercise. Both departments have been supportive in setting me up remotely and it felt normal right away.

Advice for future applicants

If you’re thinking about applying, go for it! There really is something in the Victorian Government for everyone. And if you work with DELWP you can even be a part-time fire fighter.

If I could go back and talk to myself before my first day, I’d tell myself to chill. Everyone is so nice and there are no bad questions. I’d also remind myself not to drink heaps of coffee and then think you have anxiety – stick to good old herbal teas.

Reviewed 19 July 2021

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