Monday was the opening lunch for the Academic Committee’s acclaimed alumni lunches. Our lunch meeting was set with Alex Grigsby. Alex works at Public Works Canada, in particular in the area of cyber security. Even though I didn’t have much to say coming in, my other NPSIA companions had a bucket load of questions for Alex. As for me, I just sat there and took everything in without the burden of expectations or questions that needed answers. The perks of being a wall flower, I suppose. `
We showed up at Presse Cafe on O’Connor and Laurier at 2:00, 15 minutes earlier than our scheduled time. Wide eyed and very eager, we waited a few minutes for our alumni to come down from his office. Within a few minutes, Alex Grigsby came up to us and introduced himself. Without much formalities, we sat down and began our chat.
Alex gave us excellent insides in to the life of a bureaucrat. He was honest and direct. He gave us a very balanced account of what it means to work in the public sector and what it doesn’t mean. He told it as it is, without falling in to the romanticism or cynicism (depending on who you ask) that people often do when talking about “working for the government”. Certainly, you won’t find this information on any website or government brochure.
As our lunch carried on, we discussed the process of getting security clearances, the “bridging in” process, his past work experiences, French language requirements, the particularities of the interview and hiring processes of the Federal government, who he has to deal with in his workplace, and even his aspirations and plans for the future, amongst other things.
He also gave us some pretty interesting insides and advice about the working world, where should we focus our networking efforts and what other NPSIAns from his graduating year are doing.
In all, it was a very cool and useful way to spend a Monday afternoon. As I write this, I still have a lot to mull over from our conversation lunch with Alex. I encourage all of you to sign up to this excellent initiative organized by the Academic Committee. A particular shout out to the always awesome Diane Tisdall and Trevor Jordan from the NPSIA Student Association’s Academic Committee for spearheading this initiative and to Alex Grigsby, for taking the time to speak to us and answer all our questions!
If you would like to participate in an upcoming installment of the Alumni Lunch series, please contact Trevor or Diane at email@example.com.