… success will be found once expectations are suitably managed. The grads do make a difference, just a slightly smaller one than they anticipated. Value-adding really is as simple as putting a semi-colon in the right spot in a ministerial brief. Being thanked for inserting that semi-colon provides such joy that it’s almost enough motivation to proofread the next brief. Producing talking points that might theoretically be uttered by a represented official in response to an unlikely question suddenly feels like penning the opening of the Gettysburg Address.

Once broken and socialised, the culture really changes. The formerly idealistic young cohort rapidly joins Canberra’s favourite pastime: fighting for status. Grads are thrown, Hunger Games-style, into a battle for rotations, seeking career-building weapons such as high-profile taskforces or personal access to department heads and senior executives. The universal scoring system in this game is your opportunity for work travel (Paris being 250 points and Queanbeyan being 1).

The Cubicle Brothers, “Confessions of an ex-grad
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