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After Australia’s Department of Finance graduate recruitment video went viral last week, there are a group of embarrassed public servants in Canberra who probably now know not to give up their day jobs for that acting dream.

It’s hard, as a writer, not to die a little inside when the first 30 seconds of a script shoe-horn in; “I’m off downstairs to get my paleo pear and banana bread…” and “I never thought I’d be working on a program supporting the modernisation across government.”

Clearly whoever wrote the script never actually read it out loud. Not even in their own head.

So let’s just take a moment to remember one of our top tips for writers:

If you wouldn’t say it like that, don’t write it.*

* Especially if it’s for a script a human being will actually have to speak in public

It’s also possible (and this wouldn’t surprise me at all) that the script was re-written by a committee. After 47 rounds of track changes by 14 different stakeholder groups, it’s no wonder the ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff network meeting’ made the cut. Ticks all round for diversity and inclusion.

What didn’t make the cut, though, is anything that would actually resonate with a potential graduate.

Not even one who’s really good with numbers, but perhaps a bit socially awkward.

I don’t think any millennial’s top career wishlist involves spending all day in meetings (whether with senior executives or their fist-pumping workplace buddy), eating paleo pear and banana bread. Most job candidates prioritise work they find meaningful.

So why, after watching the video, am I left wondering what the Department of Finance actually does with my tax dollars?

Perhaps if they’d showcased the programs their finance actually enables (as a result of all those meetings), it might have been a bit more inspiring. Or even what some of those ‘game changing’ ideas actually are.

Without anything tangible, it’s not just awkward and stilted. It’s as meaningless as that tasteless banana bread.



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