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Michelle Wong

Here’s what I thought my protégé year in 2020 would be like based on the experiences of previous MYOB protégés:

  • Work in an office space with cool start-up tech vibes.
  • Ride my bike to work, shower and store my things in a highly sought after shower locker (yes, these lockers are hard to come by).
  • Easily chat to people outside my team because of hot desking and the flash coffee/hot choc/chai machine in the kitchen.
  • Regularly meet up with my mentors in break out spaces.
  • Use a whiteboard to plan out my katas (coding challenges designed for proteges to learn and solidify understanding of coding concepts) with my mentors.
  • Complete my Quorum with a small audience of five. Quorums are an opportunity to measure your progress as a protege and to get useful feedback from a group more extensive than only your mentors.

 So I spent about one month in the office experiencing most of the above minus the Quorum before there was a massive worldwide pandemic and Australia ran out of toilet paper.

 Here’s what actually happened in 2020:

  • Worked in a space where I slept, ate and lived, otherwise known as my house.
  • Rolled out of bed and was at the ‘office’.
  • Talking to people could be challenging. The incidental office chats had to be organised and scheduled into meetings.
  • Met up with mentors over video calls.
  • Used web apps and Trello boards to plan out katas.
  • Completed my Quorum via a video conference with an audience of about 15 people. The beauty of things being online meant it was accessible to more people!

MYOB Graduate Michelle Wong Profile

Needless to say, working from home during a pandemic certainly has some parallels to ‘Groundhog Day’. However, I found that keeping a regular routine, staying connected (within reason) and finding joy in the small things have certainly helped. This is more or less my schedule during the week:

7.00 AM

I wake up at the same time each morning, eat my oats, drink earl grey tea and listen to two podcasts and the ABC news at 8 o’clock. Then I do some exercises to help with my running. I need a long time to wake up!

8.15 AM

Start the day. Turn on robot vacuum cleaner (yes, a non-regrettable covid purchase). Check Slack messages, check emails, look at my Trello board (where I organise all the tasks I need to get done). This is the time I will arrange meetings or catch ups.

8.30 AM

Read books or complete tutorials or both! I work well in the morning so like to complete tutorials on subjects including testing and interfaces or read books including ‘Clean Code’, ‘Apprenticeship Patterns’ and ‘The Four Rules of Simple Design’.

Get a second cup of tea.

9.30 AM

Stand up

MYOB Graduate Michelle Wong stand-up

This is a time where I get together with the other protégés on a video call. We reflect on what we did yesterday and discuss what we will be working on today.

Since the pandemic, it has also been a great time to catch up with one another and have a social chat. At times we have played morning games including ‘Two truths and a lie’ as well as ‘Who am I?’ This has been a great icebreaker to start the day and to get to know the other protégés.

10.30 AM

Meet with my two mentors via video call. I have a spreadsheet where I record my weekly goals and how I intend to achieve them. This is shared with my mentors and at the start of the week we reflect on the previous week and discuss how achievable my goals will be.

Brew a new pot of tea, this time a herbal one to be healthy.

11.30 AM

Pair with a  protégé on a kata. I have a couple of katas on the go - one which I am pairing with another protégé and one which I am working on individually with the help of my mentors.

Pairing has been really beneficial with my learning and I’ve especially found it helpful during these times when the nature of work can sometimes be particularly isolating!

Get a snack. Banana, dried apricots or dried cranberries if I’m trying to be healthy. Otherwise chocolate, nutella from the jar, jam donut, croissant for all those other times.

12.30 PM


I always make it a priority to eat a hearty lunch and then go for a walk - even if it’s raining. I also like to check out the street libraries in my area during this time. In my opinion, getting fresh air is priceless!

Get hot chocolate from my local social enterprise cafe.

1.30 PM

Meet with a mentor to do some pairing on a kata. My mentors provide me with valuable guidance and the Goldilocks ‘just right’ amount of support. I finish a pairing session seeing where improvements can be made and have the skills to attempt this independently.

2.30 PM

Working on my kata again. I may also mix it up with some more tutorials. I’ve also participated in ‘open phone calls’ with other protégés, where we are both working on different katas but can see each other working and can ask each other questions or just generally check in on one another. It is the next best thing to being physically in the office!

My stomach is usually starting to rumble around now. I get snacks as per my 11.30am snack ritual. Sometimes an apple is also included.

4.30-5.00 PM

Finish up the day and go for a run!