Home Blog Graduates and Interns August 2020 How us Telstra graduates are sticking together

How us Telstra graduates are sticking together

by Jessica Sheedy

Marketing Graduate

Work has changed for me as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but I think it’s important to remember that being able to work from home is a blessing and shouldn’t be taken for granted. We are fortunate nowadays that when working from home becomes our only option, we can remain connected to our peers and teams.
As part of the Telstra Graduate Program, I have always had the option of working from home. However, I personally really valued going into the office, so transitioning to working remotely throughout the lockdown has been an interesting experience.
Transitioning to working from home
I am missing things like having lunch with colleagues and catching up with my peers - these are just a normal part of the daily routine when you work in an office and I think they’re a really important element of work.
Luckily, everyone has learnt how to connect very well with each other digitally. This has been a change - I have never video called so much in my life. I do feel fortunate though, that we have so many digital tools available to us today that allow us to stay connected.
During this period, I have also learnt how to plan my day and manage my time effectively while working at home so I can continue to support the innovative projects I am working on.
How us grads are sticking together
I have been video calling the other grads as much as possible. Every day when I jump on the computer, I will message a few graduate friends to say ‘good morning’, which just starts the day off nicely.
We have set up regular meetings with each other so that we can keep connected and stay on track with our work. There is also a group grad meeting in everyone’s diary for Fridays at lunchtime. It is great to get the entire grad cohort together and speak to everyone who you wouldn’t normally speak to day-to-day.
The 2019 grads specifically are in the stage where we are looking for permanent positions after the Graduate program has finished. Everyone is in the same boat, so we are communicating all the time and keeping each other accountable in applying for roles that will suit us here at Telstra.
We send each other lots of follow-up messages about the interview process and I call a particular friend of mine before and after my interviews to prepare and debrief. It is nice to keep up that type of support network and it’s great to have friends around you who encourage you to go for specific roles that will resonate with you best.
Making the most of our remote graduate experiences
It's really important not to lose focus on your development while working from home, and self-evaluation is part of how I go about setting my objectives.
I think it is crucial to constantly ask for feedback from leaders, regardless of whether it is positive or opportunities for improvement. It is necessary so that you don't lose touch with how you are going with your work, just because you’re not in an office.
With this in mind, I would say that my current leader is somewhat of a coach to me. We have set up a monthly virtual meeting to talk about potential opportunities for my next role and discuss how I can be asking for feedback from colleagues.

It has been quite challenging to get used to remote working, but Telstra has given us everything we need to make sure that our valuable experience in the Graduate Program is not adversely impacted. There are many ways in which working from home can in fact lead to even greater productivity and connection to your peers - you just have to learn how.
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