Bradley Postma on career success, failure and reinvention

Bradley Postma, Swinburne alumnni from the Bachelor of Engineering

Bachelor of Engineering alumnus Bradley Postma has crafted a diverse career through hard-work and reinventing himself. He shares how after finding early career success designing electronics for Volkswagen and BMW, he still had lessons to learn.

"I was really interested in pursuing a practical engineering degree, but I was uncertain of which discipline to pursue. Swinburne’s generalist approach to engineering in my first year was a fantastic introduction to the field. Likewise, six-month professional placements at Motorola and Telstra also put me in good stead for my future career.

Although my Engineering degree required much hard work and perseverance, it opened many doors. If you’re dedicated, it can lead to an interesting and rewarding lifetime career.

After completing my undergraduate and postgraduate studies, I worked for several years as a Research and Development Engineer for Robert Bosch Australia, the largest volume electronics producer in Australia. This experience was the peak of my career and as a chief hardware design engineer for the company, it was thrilling to design essential electronics for both BMW and Volkswagen.

"It’s essential to have diverse career experience."

Despite my success as an engineer, I was desperate for something different. I took steps to become a trainee patent attorney, but was unfortunately sacked from my first job.

Once again I found myself at a career crossroads. I blamed myself for my failure and committed to continue with professional services - on the proviso that I meticulously analysed what went wrong the first time. Within seven years, I became a full equity partner of one of the most profitable Australian patent and trademark firms.

Throughout my rough transition into professional services, I had a nagging idea for a book. I wanted to write the book I wish I’d been given when first entering the professional workforce. Junior to Partner in Under 5 Years shares my experiences and aims to provide practical advice, amusing anecdotes and a blueprint to achieve success in professional services.

For anyone thinking of writing a book of this type, it’s essential to have diverse career experience – from the extreme lows through to the extreme highs. Second, you need credibility resulting from a dramatic turnaround in fortunes and career success. Finally, you need the courage to write the truth, which is not always pleasant or flattering.

Since my studies and career transitions, I’ve continued to be involved in Swinburne’s alumni community. The Brisbane Alumni Chapter has been of great value and is a fantastic opportunity for anyone looking to connect and share ideas with graduates from a wide range of industries."