I was fortunate in my roles in the NSW State Government. I had to rapidly become an expert in a new policy area every time there was a Ministerial reshuffle. In those days that was fairly often. The outcome of this changing environment was the opportunity to immerse myself into a variety of portfolios including women, Western Sydney, Regional Development, Roads, Tourism, Housing, Aboriginal Housing, Sport and Recreation and Police. These changes provided me with the skills to now take on new projects in unfamiliar subject areas at KJA.

I really enjoy the challenge of mastering a new area of interest. My family often bears the brunt of my new-found passion for projects with info shared at home about flexible safety barriers, audio tactile line marking, water extraction, asset management, community visions, power station closures, solar farms, wind farms and whatever else I may be working on.

Those who doubt they could take on a new project or change area of expertise, should focus on the transferable skills that they currently have. Here are my top tips for getting up to speed on any new subject:

  • Undertake your research on the topic. Identify the experts and thought leaders

  • Tap into the expertise at your fingertips. Other people in your team might have had relevant experience, and our ERM colleagues are a font of technical knowledge

  • Organise your research and critical information in a way that makes it easy for you to access it and use it while you commit it to memory

  • Identify the critical pathway to delivering on the project or achieving the objective and map out your way ahead

  • Work through the steps in your plan and ask for help from others if you are not sure.

Getting out of your comfort zone and achieving success can provide a deep sense of personal satisfaction. It is a great way to build your professional mojo and achieve a high degree of job satisfaction.

The great joy of the work we do at KJA is that there is always a new challenge, a new discipline or technical area to learn. As Bruce Lee said, “Life itself is your teacher and you are in a state of constant learning”.