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Saab Australia

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Jeremy Lai

Jeremy Lai studied a Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering (Honours) at the Queensland University of Technology and is now a Graduate Systems Engineer at Saab Australia.

7.00 AM

My housemates would argue that I don’t wake up before 7.45 am, but that is a lie (at least for most days...). I do however occasionally tell Google to ‘snooze’ a couple times before dragging myself out of bed to get ready for work in 15 minutes. Usually I’d start my day with a light breakfast – a selection of cereal, toast or oats – before packing my lunches and snacks. Meal prepping on the weekend helps with my routine, though it is awkward when I forget to defrost my meal the night before! 

8.15 AM

Depending on traffic, I’d get to work around 8.15 am to secure a prime parking spot – no matter what they tell you, not all parks are the same! Our lovely morning receptionist is usually the first person I see when I enter through the door and is always a pleasure to say ‘Good Morning!’ to. I usually make a pit stop at our wing’s kitchen to drop off my food and top up my water bottle before the real day begins.


8.30 AM

After the usual morning greetings to the team, the first thing I do once I’m at my desk would be to check my emails. On a standard day, there might be half a dozen emails waiting for me since both of the projects I’m working on are based in the eastern states (their time zones are ahead of Adelaide’s). Before starting my tasks for the day, I always re-check my calendar to make sure meetings haven’t been rescheduled or added overnight.

9.00 AM

Thankfully with the two ongoing projects, there are tasks I can just check off to progress my subsystem design. After emailing back an update to the subcontractors on site about my system, I’d continue working on deliverable documentation. As the Civil industry is quite dynamic and the turnarounds are quick, often there are variations added to system designs. This is something that needs a keen eye to track, and a task I usually assist others in with their subsystems. 

Due to this, my own and the team’s deliverable documentations constantly need to be updated to reflect these changes – even as a placeholder whilst we wait for management approvals. The types of documents that might be affected could be (but not limited to) the system diagram, cable schedule, inspection test procedures, and 3D model. I would usually work through the tasks by priority levels, naturally, and provide feedback to the subsystem owners if I’m assisting my colleagues.

10.30 AM

Around this time is when I usually take a healthy break to have some fruit and snacks. It’s always good to have a stretch, refill the water bottle or even go for a quick walk to another grad’s desk for a chat. By the end of this I’m re-energised and ready to smash through more tasks leading up to lunch.


12.00 PM 

Whilst our in-house café does different delicious meals daily, I usually prefer my prepped meal. I love cooking and it’s a joy for me to eat my own food – even if it might be the same thing for a few weeks straight (come on, it’s delicious though!). There is an unofficial tradition called ‘Bahn Mi Wednesdays’ that some of the grads and other colleagues go out for, and occasionally the team would go out for lunch on Fridays too. When it’s not Wednesday, the grads would usually sit outside the café and catch-up, enjoy our food and throw some good banter around.


1.30 PM 

This is usually when the food coma hits, though nothing a quick walk outside and back can’t fix! I would often set up meetings around this time to ensure that I’m switched on and ready to power through the afternoon leg of the day.


2.00 PM

To keep my workday different and interesting, I would usually aim to complete my morning tasks by 2.00 pm so that I can progress onto something else in the afternoon. Though this may not always be the case, usually there are more than one concurrent tasks with the same urgency, hence I’m still able to switch up my work. A quick check at my emails will tell me that the subcontractors I emailed this morning have responded and are requesting for a meeting in the next week. After making sure all stakeholders are available for my proposed meeting time, I send that through.

This is also a good time to check-in with the colleagues I’m assisting and to touch base that we’re on the same page with updates. Usually there’ll be more work waiting for me after the updates, and a good time to re-evaluate priorities for the last part of the day.


3.00 PM

As part of my diet, I have two lunches – the second one is around 3.00 pm and is more concentrated in meeting my daily nutrient intake. Also a good time to take a breather, stretch and check in with my managers for a quick update. It is also around this time that I start forecasting the work I have remaining not just for the afternoon, but also the coming days as well.

5.00 PM

Before I call it a day at work, I would make sure I’d documented my progress, make sure my meetings for tomorrow are set and prepared for, and have a quick casual catch-up with my managers. There’s a good balance of work and fun among the team, and our end of day chats usually fall under the latter.

6.00 PM

After a quick pit stop at home after work, I’ll be at the CBC gym by 6.00 pm for a chill two hour volleyball social training session hosted by the Adelaide University Volleyball Club. The club has a great community and a really good stress reliever – I even managed to convince my work bestie to come along as well! 

8.30 PM

By the time I get home, it’s been a long day, and there’s not a more iconic duo than eating leftovers and a cold shower. Normally I’d have something on a streaming service running in the background as I enjoy my meal. Occasionally I’d bump into a housemate and we’d just have a quick catch-up chat.

9.00 PM

Depending on how much energy I have left, I usually try and do one of the following things: self-study on things to improve my skills, catch-up with family and friends over FaceTime, or play some video games/continue watching some streaming service. I like to keep myself busy, so I might have a side project running that I’d put time into as well during the evening.

11.00 PM

It has been a long day! I aim to get a good 8 hours of sleep, though that’s not always the case, but bed time around 11.00 pm gives me a better chance of that! Can’t forget to set that alarm as well, even if I do end up snoozing a couple times tomorrow.