HR & Culture / Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind With Jaclyn Majarich, Employer Brand Manager at Optus

Jaclyn Majarich is the Employer Brand Manager at Optus, where she manages the national employer brand strategy to attract top talent to the company.

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

I’m originally from Canada, and I began my career in sports marketing, working for the Toronto Raptors. I loved my time in Toronto, but I always had a dream of living abroad, so I hopped on a one-way plane to Australia for what I thought would be a year, but five years later, I’m still here!

Moving countries and setting up a career in a world-class city, alone, can certainly have its challenges. It took me a few shots to find the right role and organisation for me, especially when I knew no one and couldn’t be too picky based on visa restrictions.

Once I started to find my feet, I joined an advertising agency which helped me understand the lay of the land here in Australia. I remember being terrified to answer the main company phone because I couldn’t understand the Australian accent!

From there, I decided to pursue my love of all thing’s ‘careers’. I’ve always been fascinated in careers, such as why people love what they do, why people change careers, what makes people tick, etc.

So, I signed up to study a HR Diploma to widen my skills. However, after multiple coffee catch ups with HR practitioners, I realised a true HR career wasn’t quite for me – I needed something that still had a creative aspect to it.

Then one day, I learned about employer branding, which is a perfect blend between marketing and HR, which sounded completely up my alley. I reached out to many employer brand professionals to pick their brain and understand the industry – and eventually the role at Optus came up, and I jumped at the opportunity.

That brings me to today; I am an Employer Brand Manager at Optus, one of the largest telecommunications companies in Australia. In my current role, I manage the national employer brand strategy to attract top talent to our organisation.

My mission is to share what happens behind the scenes at Optus by bringing our people and culture to life, while ensuring our external messaging aligns with the overall employee experience.

I am also lucky to work with a wonderful team of employer brand experts who are amazing at what they do – so it’s a really exciting area of the business to be in.

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

Recently I’ve started exercising in the morning a few days a week, which will absolutely shock my friends and family as they know I’m far from a morning person, but, I’m really enjoying it.

After exercising, I’ll shower, get ready for work, hop on the train and read a book or listen to a podcast. Once I’m at work I’ll grab a coffee, then map out my plan for the day. I write a to-do list of what I want to achieve and what meetings I need to be in.

I check in with my team to see if they need help with anything, then I’m usually in a few meetings discussing various strategic projects aligned to our recruitment needs.

Then on my commute home, I’ll pick up where I left off with my book or podcast, then I walk my dog, make dinner, relax, then head to bed.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes! I work from home one day a week, usually Wednesdays. I absolutely love it.

It’s a day to myself where I can have minimal distractions and I usually use it as a day to catch up on projects that need extra focus on. It also means I get to spend the day with my dog Lily. At lunch, I take her for a walk and it’s just really nice having my little buddy with me.

When I am in the office, my start and finish times also vary depending on meetings, workload, etc. I’m given the autonomy to work hours that suit me, as long as the job gets done.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?

I like the concept of ‘work smart, not hard’. I live and breathe this. I like to think of myself as a focused and efficient worker, meaning I make the most of the time that I have.

I also am very aware of the environment that surrounds me. If I’m in a noisy place and I can’t focus, rather than pushing through, I’ll take my laptop somewhere else and find a place where I can dive into it. I switch up where I work from quite a lot so that it doesn’t feel dull. New environments stimulate me.

When it comes to my workload, I used to pile everything on at once, then I’d find myself getting overwhelmed and unable to cope. Now, I’m much better at prioritising, and knowing what can be pushed out and what needs to be done straight away.

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

I know that I’ll be able to give 100% at work if I’ve taken the time to switch off. I know I need that down-time to recharge my batteries. I’ve experienced burnout before, and it’s not fun. I know when I’m reaching my peak and I need to take a step back and re-assess my priorities.

6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

Living a healthy lifestyle is critical to my success. I am a big sleeper, most nights I get 8 hours of sleep or more. I also exercise and try(!) to maintain a healthy diet – otherwise I feel sluggish and unmotivated.

7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

I’m a huge reader, I always have a book on the go, but reading for me is about switching off and diving into a fantasy world that takes me out of my day to day, so unfortunately I don’t have any helpful books to recommend. If the question was about mystery and crime books, I’d have a very different answer!

8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

I am like a sponge for content – I’m constantly reading, watching or listening to something; so I always try to get some form of content into my day, which usually happens on my commute.

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

Life is short. Follow your heart and do what makes you happy. Set big goals and keep chipping away until you reach them – then set bigger ones.

If you’d like to have a conversation with us about how you balance the grind, get in touch with us!

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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.