Clarissa studied a Bachelor of Law (Honours) and Arts at Monash University graduating in 2020 and is now a Graduate within MinterEllison's Technology Consulting team.
Since the ACT is currently locked down, the usual suspects of my morning routine – an early climbing session, coffee run and bus commute - are on pause. Instead I make myself some instant coffee, check my emails and respond to any text messages that I missed overnight.
I moved to Canberra from Melbourne at the start of the year, so every morning I call my partner back home to say good morning. Although we're on different schedules we try our best to make time for each other. Being apart can get really hard sometimes, but I'm staying hopeful that the borders open up soon so that we can see each other again – it's been a while.
I have a daily catch-up with my manager over WebEx. We run through our daily schedules and any outstanding actions or tasks that need to be completed. Currently I am working across two major projects for our biggest client. One requires me to work in a commercial management role, the other is a contract renewal matter where I am in a program support role. I always have a lot on my plate, but I really enjoy the fast pace.
I also appreciate the opportunity for my manager and I to talk about non-work related things. I like hearing about his latest cooking adventures, and hopefully he appreciates my Ru Paul's Drag Race updates just as much.
I have a checkpoint meeting with my contract renewal team. We review, discuss and close action items, and confirm whether any deadlines arise this week. I clarify my understanding of the next steps in the collaborative dialogue process so I know what's on the horizon. As the most junior person on the team, my colleagues are happy to answer any questions I have about the organisation, the contract renewal process or the history between the parties.
As program support, I am primarily responsible for scheduling any upcoming meetings or workshops, sending communications and socialising artefacts from the vendor with client stakeholders. However, there's a lot more to a multi-million dollar ICT contract renewal than that and I've fortunately had the opportunity to get involved with a range of work. Recently, I've assisted with drafting schedules, preparing Request for Offer documents and conducting program risk assessments.
I check in with the other grads. We normally send Skype messages throughout the day to make sure everything is going well and, if need be, to commiserate about how in over our heads we are with the tasks we've been assigned.
I usually take brunch around this time to catch the 11:45am press conferences on ABC News. In comparison to its neighbouring states, ACT pressers seem to take a more optimistic tone. Recently the weather has improved, so I make an effort to eat on the balcony and spend some time away from my desk.
My manager calls me with an ad-hoc request for commercial advice, which the client often seeks before progressing any contract changes, new or varied statements of work. These requests can relate to any part of the contract - additional resourcing or deliverables, increased scope of work, changes in project deadlines and much more.
These unexpected tasks expose me to parts of the contract that don't always come up in BAU, so reviewing them helps improve my understanding of the overall contract framework. Even though the learning curve can be steep, I appreciate the opportunity to take responsibility for discrete pieces of work.
I progress some of my ongoing, non-urgent tasks. As part of a Mid Term Review of one of the client's vendors, I am preparing a review of their invoice substantiation reports, which the vendor presents to the client each month for transparency of BAU charges. I summarise their comments and analyse month-to-month trends in ticket numbers, projects and activities. It's a challenging task due to the sheer volume of data to digest, but it gives great insight to the operational arm of the organisation.
Whenever I need a break, I switch over to mailbox administration. It's a slow burn, but important for record-keeping purposes. I've whittled the inbox down from 2,000 items to 100 so I'm relieved that I can nearly ticket it off my to-do list.
I take my hour of exercise after work to catch the sunset over the lake while listening to podcasts.
I try to call home at least once a week. My mum prefers video calling over WhatsApp - she says it's because she misses my face, but for the majority of the call she props her phone up on the couch, camera facing the screen, so that I can watch whatever my family is watching alongside them. I ignore the bad audio feedback and video lag for a chance to feel like I'm right there with them. I miss home dearly, especially during lockdown, but I know that without their support I wouldn't be here.