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Fatherly Advice: Career lessons we learned from fathers and father-figures alike

Telstra Careers Advice

Posted on September 1, 2017

5 min read

Father’s Day is only three days away and is a time for us to celebrate fathers and father-figures alike for the contribution they’ve made to our lives. Before we take them out to brunch or kick a ball around, we thought we’d ask some of our people what they’d learned from their fathers that they’ve applied to their careers.

Here’s what they had to say:

Take the time to appreciate the journey

Sarah’s father taught her to live in the moment and take the time to enjoy the journey, advice that’s applied to her role as a Project Manager at Telstra.

“My Dad is a self-made businessman that came from extremely humble beginnings.”

“As I grew up I watched him sacrifice a lot to be successful, and in the end one of the most valuable lessons he shared with me was the importance of finding balance between ambition and gratitude.”

“You obviously need ambition to drive success, but just as importantly, you need to take time to stop and be grateful for where you are and what you have. Quite often successful people are so focused on the goal that they don’t take the time to appreciate the journey, and my Dad told me that you must take time to appreciate the journey because before you know it, that journey has been your life.”


Baby Sarah (right) with her older sister Penny, and father Matthew as he reads them a story.

Find your courage, it’s ok to take risks

Lee Westlake, Reporting and Billing Specialist, said his dad taught him about the rewards to be gained from taking risks.

“My Dad moved us from the small suburb of Dagenham, East London, to the big city of Wellington New Zealand when I was about seven. He worked in the elevator engineering business, and literally had the opportunity to take his career to the next level. He took a risk in the hope that it would give us a better quality of life and open up more opportunities for us.

Four years ago, my now wife, and I moved from Wellington to Melbourne to do the same thing.

When I think back about it he showed me that it’s ok to take risks. He knew he could be successful and backed himself to make that happen. He showed me how to find my courage, and that even if making a change is scary, that doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to.”

Success takes hard work, but it’s worth it

Working as a Foxtel from Telstra Product Specialist, Zach Page said his dad taught him about the values of hard work while still finding the time for the things that mattered most.

“Growing up, I’d know that at 4:00 am each morning I’d hear the soothing sound of Dad’s truck chugging down the drive (friends sleeping over would dispute the ‘soothing’ part). Working long days and arriving home after me each night, he’d still find the time to head down to the park to kick a ball around, or head to the golf course for a late night swing. A harder working man I am yet to find, nor a man with so much energy.

He demonstrated to me the type of work ethic required to succeed in business, but also instilled in me the value of family and balance. I hold these values dear and put them into practice each and every day – striving to achieve excellence in all aspects of my life. I am proud to work for a company which aligns to these values, and am so thankful for my dad for showing me what success looks like and what’s required to achieve it.”

From L to R: Luke, father Phil, Isabelle, Kelly and Zach celebrate a night out.

Aim high to hit the bullseye

Head of Global People Services, Ex Magno’s father taught her the importance of trying to improve everything you do and to always aim higher.

“My father is a firm believer of the Archer’s Paradox – Aim high to hit the bullseye,” she said.

“He believes in excellence and drives to exceed standards. As a young man, he dreamt big and achieved what most people thought was impossible. He is the reason why I look at each role we’re looking to fill at Telstra with excitement and imagine the many opportunities for me to grow.”

Ex has even passed her dad’s advice onto her team.

He taught me to commit to do better every day. As a leader, I share this philosophy with my team, looking at continuously improving processes to avoid the challenges our employees’ experience. When I look at the future of Telstra, I consider what value I can contribute to our transformation versus what limits us.”

Ex and her father smile for the camera.

Want to use this advice to take your future in a new direction? Explore our Careers website and connect to a future created by you.

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These five inspiring TED Talks could help you boost your career

featured Advice

Posted on October 18, 2016

4 min read

Known as the place to find “ideas worth spreading”, TED (a non-profit devoted to spreading ideas in the form of short, powerful talks) has become an amazing resource of knowledge by some of the world’s most inspiring people.

Over the years I’ve watched a lot of TED Talks, and listened to even more podcasts. Some of these have given me an alternative perspective and others have inspired me to dig deep and push myself. Here’s my list of five inspiring talks:

1. How great leaders inspire action – Simon Sinek

“It’s not what you do, it’s why you do it”.

What makes Apple so innovative? How were the Wright Brothers able to beat better resourced, wealthier rivals to controlled powered man flight? How do you inspire others? Sinek says he made a discovery about how successful leaders think – and inspire others. It all has to do with what he calls the ‘golden circle’. It changed his view of the world. It changed mine too. Will it changes yours?

2. Inside the mind of a master procrastinator – Tim Urban

If you find yourself putting off a task because you “still have plenty of time”, you know you’re procrastinating. In Urban’s Talk he cleverly analogises those burst of productivity before your deadline as the “panic monster” which we use to get things done right when we need to. When the ‘panic monster’ isn’t around, the ‘procrastination monkey’ takes control and we resume our “plenty of time” mantra where the cycle continues. See how you can break this cycle and get things done when you need to.

3. Looking past limits – Caroline Casey

What would you do if your career ambitions suddenly seemed impossible? Casey explores the limits we put on ourselves and highlights reasons why we shouldn’t put ourselves down. Despite a major setback in her life, Casey worked her way through various careers including consulting and management. Today, she runs a not-for-profit that helps people realise their true potential no matter what limitations they or society puts upon them. As she says in her Talk, loving ourselves isn’t easy, it just takes work. If you’re thinking about a change in career direction, going back to study, or wondering whether you’re really enjoying what you’re doing, Casey’s Talk offers some good perspective.

4. The happy secret to better work – Shawn Achor

Psychologist Shawn Achor knows a thing or two about the science of happiness having researched it extensively at Harvard University. In his Talk, Achor’s quick wit and fast delivery explains where our happiness comes from and what impact it has on our productivity at work. See what happens to your brain when you celebrate your personal successes and learn how you can get the most out of everything you apply yourself to. There’s a reason this Talk is in the top 20 most-watched.

5. The new bionics that let us run, climb, and dance – Hugh Herr

After losing both legs in a climbing accident, Herr changed his career to focus on creating new prosthetics to help people who need them to go beyond what they thought possible. Herr combined his knowledge of climbing with a newfound interest in academia to create new products to enrich peoples’ lives. Herr is a prime example of someone who made the best of a bad situation, transforming his career, and the lives of others in the process. Herr’s Talk will help you see the minor hurdles you face on a day-to-day in a new light.

This post originally appeared on Telstra Careers.  Find out more about a career with us.

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Augmented Reality transforming how we live, work and play

Tech and Innovation

Posted on June 27, 2016

3 min read

From gamification to exploration, Ross Healy takes a look at how augmented reality could transform our world

Imagine walking through a significant moment in history, for example watching Einstein develop his theory of relativity as if it is happening right at that moment. Imagine being able to interact with that moment in history.

Well, now you can thanks to the development of Augmented Reality (AR). Nowhere is this more exciting than in the world of video gaming. Nintendo and mobile development studio Niantic is releasing its AR mobile game, Pokemon Go, next month.

Not only is this an exciting time to be a Pokemon gamer, it’s also a stirring look into the future of gaming and how it can influence the way we engage with the world around us.

Experience ‘living history’

Of course, AR isn’t new. At Telstra we’ve used AR (via the Viewa App) for consumer marketing campaigns and Mini Cooper tested AR glasses to enhance the driving experience. Similarly, gamification isn’t new, but the two together present an exciting opportunity.

The functionality of AR games can be applied to a range of different business sectors, revolutionising the way we learn, explore and experience our cities.

Imagine walking down the main street of your city, holding your phone. Digital arrows highlight points of interest and places where key historical events took place, rich media, such as popup photos, text, video, or audio, transforming your experience.

Players are rewarded for their curiosity by meeting certain goals like a particular amount of steps taken while using the app, collaborating with other users to solve in-game puzzles —and that’s just the beginning.

AR apps will merge the classroom with real world learning, encouraging students to become more active and explore the world around them.

Tourism, gamified

The benefits don’t just touch locals, either. The possibility for tourism is endless. Towns could gamify their city for travellers, turning tasks into rewards with frequent incentives.

Imagine a future where your holiday includes levelling up, where exploration is encouraged and points are rewarded when uncovering hidden secrets.

Apps like these could eliminate the need for a tour guide, as your phone could take you step by step through a city, learning as you go at your own pace.

Remember, Pokemon Go is just the beginning: it is now up to tourism departments, universities, schools and businesses to develop apps that help us learn more about what the world has to offer in new and exciting ways. I know I’m excited. Are you?

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Seven Apps to Get You Organised

Telstra News

Posted on May 23, 2016

3 min read

Apps have made some great improvements to our working ways. But with so many on the market, how can you find the ones that work for you?

Whether you’re working in a team or by yourself, we love these apps because they’re free, simple and will help you stay organised.


Slack has been the darling of Silicon Valley for some time, and it’s no wonder. The team messaging tool lets you merge all your communication channels so you no longer need to switch between apps. Access your content through Dropbox or Google Drive, get in touch with each other through Google Hangouts or Twitter, and check your to-do list with Asana – all through Slack.

As a bonus, Slack’s smart search function saves so much effort when you’re trying to find that email about next month’s campaign that just has “Hi” as the subject line.


They say that elephants never forget a thing and Evernote can help you do the same. Can’t open a Word document to write a note? Open Evernote, jot down your thoughts and boom – all saved and synced across all your devices. Want to record a handwritten note? Snap a photo with your phone and upload it as a PDF. Evernote is available on mobile and desktop and thanks to its handy cloud syncing feature, can be accessed from across all of your devices.


Organise a team, delegate tasks by categories of your choice and sort out your due dates. Available on both mobile and web browser, Asana lets you control your workflow while also seeing what everyone else is up to. It’s just collaboration made easy.

Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotate

While still an app, Awesome Screenshot is actually an extension you can install on your web browser (Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox). It lets you nab an entire page or select portions, which you can save locally or online. The best part is you can annotate or highlight key elements of your screenshots or just scribble your thoughts without having to open any other programs.


Don’t have Photoshop but need to transform or crop images? While this web-based app doesn’t have the same horsepower as Adobe’s popular photo-editing software, Pixlr is a solid substitute when you need to adjust images quickly and easily.


Prezi does a great job of giving you the tools you need to create visually engaging slideshows. Be as creative as you like with easy slide transitions, the ability to insert pictures straight from Google Images and because it’s web-based, you can access your slides from anywhere (others can access your presentation remotely, too).


If you’re a visual person, MindMeister is a simple web-based app that lets you display your ideas in a straightforward mindmap. Next time you’re brainstorming as a team, chain together your ideas, turn them into tasks, assign them a priority and show their completion percentage. The benefit here is that you can easily see where your project is sitting at a glance. You can also flag items, add attachments, and work collaboratively thanks to shared log-ins that let your team get things done no matter where you all are.

Whether you’re trying to get your team or yourself in check, there are hundreds of apps available to help you boost productivity – these are just some of our favourites. (Of course, it goes without saying that if you’re using a work-provided handset, make sure any apps you download match your company’s IT policies). Happy organising!


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How: not to suck at public speaking

Telstra Careers

Posted on February 24, 2016

3 min read

Public speaking sucks.

There I said it. That sick, twisted feeling in your stomach. The feeling of dread as you wait to take the stage. I honestly don’t know how people can like it.

The thing about public speaking is we’re so used to watching everyone else do it that as soon as we’re asked to step up to the plate, we immediately start to doubt ourselves.

What am I doing? Am I doing this right? What if I mess up? Somehow, despite hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, the human brain is really good at making us doubt ourselves. How do you get over this?

While I can’t say this awful feeling will go away, I can say there’s a way to get over it.

Step one

Remember, the audience wants to hear from you. If they’ve taken the time to sit in a presentation, a lecture hall or in front of a TED stage, they’re waiting to hear someone speak. They’re really interested in what you have to say.

When I was school captain at high school I was excited at first, but pretty soon I realised I’d have to start speaking in front of crowds a lot. Some were easy, but it wasn’t before I was asked to read a poem at a community Anzac Day event that I truly learned what anxiety and dread felt like.

I would be speaking publicly before not only my entire school, but Diggers, servicemen and women, the greater community, and the media. I was representing my school, my community, and my generation.

No pressure.

Needless to say, I was terrified. To prepare myself, I learned the second most important tip.

Step two

Make them wait.

At first this might sound counterintuitive. Why would you make people wait – wouldn’t that create a long, dramatic pause?

My public speaking mentor was an English teacher who loved poetry.

In a practice session, she shredded my first attempt and gave me simple instructions: when you’re about to present to a crowd, the first thing you do is take a deep breath. Pause. Take in the crowd and make them wait.

What may feel like an eternity for you is only a few measly seconds for them. Pausing before and throughout your speech – slowing things down – is the key to success.

So, if you’re pitching to a new client, stepping into a group interview, presenting to your colleagues, or speaking in front of a crowd, just remember: make them wait.

That mantra will help remind you that time passes differently for the speaker than it does for the listener.

Remember that when you’re in the limelight, your entire body might be screaming out to run and hide – that’s why these two public speaking tips are so important.

They’ll help you deliver a speech that other people want to listen to – hopefully one they’ll congratulate you for long after the applause fades into the past.

This post originally appeared on Telstra Careers and has edited with the author’s permission.


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