Secretary/ expert group investigator

My education has provided me with academic insight and confidence in a very complex field, says Ingvil Thallaug Øverli. She has a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary gender studies and works as an investigator at the Norwegian Directorate of Health.

Ingvil Thallaug Øverli

- Describe the most important tasks you have in your job today

- I currently work as secretary/investigator for an expert group appointed by the Directorate of Health to review and recommend changes to the health service and rights for people experiencing gender dysphoria, as well as what criteria should apply in Norway to change legal gender. The work of the expert group will result in a report, and it is my task to write this. In the course of this work I gather relevant information, obtain input and contributions from the members of the expert group, have meetings with the project management and important players in the field – and write up the report. My objective is for the report to be a document to which everyone in the group can give their backing. So it is important to enjoy writing, be able to accept feedback and have an understanding of theoretical and ideological nuances. That is where my background from the Faculty of Humanities comes in!

- What do you like most about your job?

- Having found myself in an academic bubble throughout the period of my studies, it is exciting to be 'on the outside’ and to obtain insight into how the public authorities work – in the nexus between academia and politics. What I like best are all the challenges that come my way, and the alternation between writing, meetings with interesting people and collaboration with the expert group. Using my academic knowledge in this setting is very instructive, also because I have a personal academic interest in the “soft” power the authorities exercise in designing measures and systems for the population.

- How is the education from The Faculty of Humanities relevant in this job?

- My education from the Faculty of Humanities and multidisciplinary gender studies has, quite simply, provided me with the necessary language. The ability to demarcate a field of study and acquire information in order to then communicate it orally and in writing is something we had drummed into us from really early on in the course. The analytical thinking that my education has also given me helps me to pose the important academic questions during a process, and acts as a method of quality assurance for the job that I do.

In addition, gender studies are directly relevant for working with gender identity and expressions of gender; the fact that I had a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary gender studies was one of the main reasons why I got the job. It meant that my employer could be confident that I had the necessary academic insight into a very complex field.

- Your best tip for new students who are thinking about job opportunities after graduation?

- Get yourself a relevant, fun part-time job while you are studying and use the opportunities you have to become familiar with different fields in which you might consider working. But most important of all, don’t worry about whether you will get a job after your degree! Choose a degree course you are passionate about, immerse yourself in the subjects you think are fun, discuss, have colloquia, ask and pick the brains of the lecturers, and enjoy being a student!

And when you look for a job, don’t just bury yourself in applying for advertised positions ‒ seek out employers you are interested in working for and send open applications. You never know what chance might lead you to your dream job!

By Torunn Nyland, Career and Employability Coordinator HF
Published June 24, 2014 2:04 PM - Last modified Mar. 17, 2017 2:14 PM