T’was the month of Christmas, when all through the office,
not a creature was stirring, except a paralegal, who quietly
placed an edible gingerbread house in the breakroom, and
compiled a list of Christmas songs to play throughout the month, including
Michael Buble’s deluxe Christmas special album and,
Swapped wine for eggnog.



December and Christmas are here and it arrived at the speed of light.  The journey that is 2018 is quite different to that of 2017 when I first started.  For me, 2018 marks the first full calendar year I have worked at GV – from January through to December.  It is the first time I have seen the way GV operates in times of endings and new beginnings.

Taking a moment to reflect back on the calendar year, I’ve also seen just how much further I have come along with the team in terms of performance and responsibility.  One big change has been client meetings.  Since early this year I have been given a number of opportunities to step in with the senior consultants into initial consultations and client meetings.  And I’ll tell you what, these meetings form the most exciting part of my day when I get the chance to attend.  It has given me the chance to see how the experts in the office communicate with clients and steer the conversation to find a solution to an issue, an answer to a question or a strategy to a problem.  It is also an internal test for me to see if I can recognise in real time some migration solutions to the issues or road humps a client may face, or in other circumstances, opportunities that a client may have.

Then there is the fortnightly team training sessions that is a new practice at the firm but one that will have a long life.  Each session involves a theme and one person is nominated to lead the session. This person is responsible for undertaking all relevant research, being prepared for questions, providing fact sheets and reviewing internal checklists before and after.  So far, I have led two with my topics being subclass 600 visas and partner visas.  I have enjoyed these training sessions because we are all encouraged to be creative with our presentations and think outside the box.  It means I get to approach my topics in fresh ways that has helped a lot with feeling less intimidated by the pool of information in legislation and policy.  For partner visas in particular I created a game for the team to play.  It included niche but still probable scenarios individuals may face whilst lodging or thinking of lodging subclass 820/801 partner visa that had to be matched up with the correct solution or policy pathway.  The team was split up into pairs with a senior and junior team member in each pair.  It was great to watch everyone try to figure out the solution and became a mini team building exercise at the same time!

A full calendar year has also reminded me how in the midst of it all it is easy to forget that we have entered holiday season and how little time left we have with our work family before beginning a new year.  Whilst some of us team members feel like we have weeks left before the Christmas break, another consultant reminded us that we only have 10 days left.

For most of us the office is the space we spend the majority of our time and as a lover of holidays and having excuses to celebrate moments, I firmly believe it is worthwhile to often inject some holiday cheer into our usual yet unsuspecting spaces.

At GV the first place we will start is music.  Yes that’s right the office for the month of December will be humming Christmas jingles whenever I am around to play DJ – think Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas,’ Michael Buble’s ‘White Christmas’ and classic Eartha Kitts’ ‘Santa Baby.’

Our house plants will be home to some Christmas ornaments for that touch of sparkle. A gingerbread house will sit merrily in the break room emulating a ginger, cinnamon spice mix fragrance and a stocking or two will hang from each of our computer screens.

Because whether you are a believer or not in Christmas or in Santa Claus or even in New Years meaning new beginnings, one thing that we all can agree on is that the underlying message to these holidays have something to it and are quietly needed.  It is the message that is embedded in simple form in all our favourite Christmas movies like The Grinch, Elf and a lawyers favourite; Miracle on 34th Street.

Here is one of my favourite quotes from the latter movie:

Kris Kringle: But you don’t believe in me.

Dorey Walker: I believe that Christmas is for children.  I don’t think that there’s any harm in not believing in a figure that many do acknowledge to be a fiction.

Kris Kringle: Oh, but there is.  I’m not just a whimsical figure who wears a charming suit and affects a jolly demeanour.  You know, I’m a symbol.  I’m a symbol of the human ability to be able to suppress the selfish and hateful tendencies that rule over the major part of our lives.  If you can’t believe, if you can’t accept anything on faith, then you’re doomed for a life dominated by doubt.

There you have it – a simple tenet that Christmas and the holidays remind us of – power of faith.  GV in 2018 has been a great example of people placing their faith in me.  And I truly believe that when we apply this message as a team and keep it at the forefront of our minds, the possibilities in terms of problem solving and our work here at GV will become endless and we will enter the New Year together like a sled with well-fed reindeer on Christmas Eve.

Happy Holidays.