Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Amy de Groot, Head Of Marketing at CARS24 Australia

Amy de Groot is the Head Of Marketing at CARS24 Australia, a global used vehicle e-commerce platform with over US$1billion in sales.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

The perfect way of summarising my career would be ‘unconventional’. Very early in my career I was told that I would be pigeon holed and how difficult it would be to move industries.

I think subconsciously I went out to defy this mindset and since have worked across a myriad of unrelated industries including L&D, sports media (football, wrestling), fin tech, events, entertainment, fitness, automotive, e-commerce and a result saw myself living in Canada, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong before returning to Melbourne a few years ago. 

I’m currently working for Indian unicorn CARS24. Launched in September 2021, CARS24 offers the first 100% online used car buying and selling platform. I often joke that working for a startup is an extreme sport, but most days it’s a fairly accurate description. It’s wild, unpredictable yet incredibly validating and addictive.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Wake up and hit the gym for a dopamine hit and before my brain gives me the opportunity to trick me into thinking that I’m too tired.

The pandemic has forced me to be more protective of my personal time particularly in the first few hours of the day. The second I read one email, respond to a slack message, then my “work brain” is switched on and cannot be stopped.

The majority of my team is based remotely, I spend the mornings catching up what has happened overnight with my team, liasing with the senior leadership team on plans and external meetings. After 2pm when my team starts it’s on. Back to back meetings with performance, search, CRM, product and our business insights team.

At 6pm I shut up shop (most days), mute all notifications and get out of the house/ the ‘office’ to reset and wind down. My dog loudly (and relentlessly) reminds me around this time that it’s dinner time. The 4-legged alarm clock is a great disruptor and a great reminder to shut the laptop and focus on giving her the attention she (thinks) she deserves – dachshund problems. 

3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I suffered severe burnout in 2019. This was largely as a result of what I had come to believe were ‘great work ethics’ and signalled success. I had become my work – there was little to no balance. I had been pushing through stress, exhaustion and ignoring my health for so long that I paid a hefty price. A good night’s sleep, a week off work and yoga suggested by many people was not going to undo the damage.

Somewhere along the line, I had been conditioned into thinking that I couldn’t say no to unreasonable requests, deadlines, meetings on different time zones at 2am. I truly believe that I would only be respected and successful if I responded immediately and my inbox would be 0 unread emails at the end of the day.

The work/life balance for me is separating the two and balancing them individually and mindfully. Work requires taking control, boundaries with capacity, work hours, team members, bosses and my inbox or to-do list doesn’t define my success.

Life requires connection, compassion, health and rest all the things that get overlooked when we are stressed, busy and often overwhelmed with work. Turns out, it’s actually ok to take a break or time out from either or both.

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4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

  • I’m mostly extremely stringent with not looking at anything work based on my phone until 8:30/9am depending on my schedule. Previously the moment I woke up, I picked up my phone and started scrolling.
  • Listening to my body – if she’s tired, rest, if she’s stressed, find some calm instead of pushing through exhaustion, illness and overwhelm.
  • Taking breaks during the day is key. I rarely allowed myself to even take a break for lunch. 

5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

  • Rushing Woman’s Syndrome by Dr Libby Weaver articulates compelling insights on conditioning, expectations and science specific to females and offers realistic solutions.
  • Adam Grant’s Worklife podcast has dropped some absolute truth bombs on me during periods of struggle with work whether it’s burnout, stress, relationships and communications. His guests are wildly relatable and I found a lot of solace in knowing that my experiences were shared by so many other professionals.

6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

I currently can’t get enough of Steven Bartlett from Dragons Den and Diary of a CEO. I’m also a huge fan of Adam Grant and I love the raw truths Mark Manson and Mark Ritson deliver.

7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Over the past few years,I was fortunate enough to to be involved in a positive psychology program that has since been turned into a documentary. The neuroscience hacks and psychological best practices have been an enormous help.

Managing work/ life stress, anxiety, teaching me to slow down, being present. Being kinder to myself and others, but overall forging a higher happiness baseline, an increased tolerance of stress and an excited positive disposition on where I am, and what’s to come. I cannot recommend it enough.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.