Annie Shao is an Investment Trader at full service advertising agency CHE Proximity, where she works with clients on growing and connecting with audiences.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’ve always been fascinated with the mind – how complex it is, how creative it is, and ultimately, how powerful it is. Why and how do we form ideas about ourselves and the world around us, and through what means do we communicate and connect?
This curiosity led me to the world of media and advertising two and a half years ago, an industry bursting with creative energy and a passion for storytelling.
I’m currently working full-time as an Investment Trader in above-the-line media. Every day I get to help clients devise and implement strategic media solutions, to grow their businesses and connect with audiences meaningfully.
My favourite part of the job is the people I get to interact with. I always learn something from every person I meet.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
In a nutshell: I listen and talk to people all day. Though I don’t mean that super literally, I’m always absorbing others’ perspectives and putting forward my own ideas in everything I do.
This could be digesting a client brief, liaising with media partners, putting together a response, implementing and monitoring campaigns, conducting research and writing reports, and so much more.
But ultimately, it all comes down to the exchange of ideas, perspectives and information in meaningful ways. In media, no two days are the same and that’s what makes it so interesting. The only constant is change (and that I need my coffee at 9am sharp on the daily).
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes! Especially during times like this, I’ve found working from home extremely productive (thank you technology). Everyone in my team is very switched-on and we have daily WIPs and debriefs to manage our work.
We also communicate a lot throughout the day so it feels like we are all together despite the distance. Besides travel, my daily routine hasn’t changed much and I have even more energy throughout the day (people who know me will wonder how that’s even possible) because I get to rest a little longer.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I believe balance is a state of mind and I don’t perceive work and life as two separate entities. Life will always be a part of work, and work will always be a part of life.
As such, the more we find meaning in the work that we do, the happier we will be in life; the happier we are with our lives, the more excellent we will be in the crafts we practice.
For me, I love my day job, I love creating content related to make-up, fashion and food and sharing them on the gram, and I also love family and friends time. These things all require work, and they are all a part of life.
Because they are all important to me, I want to make sure I give my 100% whenever I dedicate time/effort to any of them. When I’m at my job, I’m focused and productive; when I create content on social media as a hobby/side hustle, I’m focused and productive; when I hang out with family and friends, I’m focused and productive.
None of these activities take away from one another, and I revel in the happiness and fulfilment I find in them all.
The key is to find the joy in everything that you do and set time for everything that you value – whether it’s work, hobbies, spending time with loved ones, learning new things, the list goes on.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Yes – I’ve started to drink more water! It may sound like something so minuscule but I’ve noticed a huge change in my energy/focus levels because of it. Always keep a bottle of H2O in front of you and stay hydrated friends.
Another thing I’ve been doing more is getting up to stretch every half an hour. Even two or three minutes help a lot, especially if you sit at a desk all day.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’ve never been a big reader but I love podcasts. To me, there’s something more convincing and interesting about a message when you audibly hear it from another voice other than your own.
I’ve been into The GaryVee Audio Experience lately, it really is an experience so I won’t spoil too much and let you try it for yourself.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
So many! A recent favourite has been Headspace, and an all-time favourite is UberEats.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
There is no right way to do it – finding out what works for you is the most important thing you can do.
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