Balancing the Grind with Brian Aret, People & Culture Lead at Driva

Brian Aret is the People & Culture Lead at Driva, a company that helps customers fight back against the car financing process.

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

When I was younger, I would see my parent’s generation working crazy hours, carrying a lot of stress, and living to work, often being mistreated by their employers. I always thought there has got to be a better way. That is what inspired me to start a career in people and study HR.

I got my first break with a WHS role within a government agency. I had a great manager who provided me opportunities to expand, and I soon moved into a generalist role, and then a HRBP position.

From there I did a few short-term contracts growing my skill set and then landed a fantastic HR Manager role within the construction industry working for a very supportive Director.

I spent several years there building the team before I took the leap to start-up/fintech. I now sit in a stand-alone People & Culture Lead role at Driva, recently recognised as LinkedIn’s #14 start-up for 2022.

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

I work from home most of the week, which is fantastic, on those days I will log on around 7am and get started on tasks that require my uninterrupted attention. I love using this time for anything to do with administration, policy, contracts, strategy, or data.

I take a break to organise myself and a few things around the house before 9am when my workday kicks off. My days generally include partnering meetings, internal enquiries through Slack, talent acquisition projects, BAU across the employee lifecycle, and whatever else happens to be going on. Being in a stand-alone role you can only imagine all the different bits and pieces I am across; I am a huge fan of the variety.

When I am in the office, I’ll skip my morning routine and swap it for a commute. I spend my time on the train commuting with friends, catching up on shows or doing some life admin. The best part of being in the office is the interaction with everyone. I try to stack as many meetings as I can on the days where we are in the office, advocating for a walking meeting through the park.

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

I believe that finding work-life balance starts with defining why you work. This means different things to different people. It could be to climb the ladder, find financial success, obtain the means to travel, and so on.

For me it’s to work to live. I have always said I could happily retire tomorrow if I could afford it. I have never been driven by title or remuneration and instead have looked for roles where I enjoy the people I work with, I can pay my bills, and I am able to maintain the life outside of work I love.

In alignment with this you must enjoy what you do for work. You spend such a large chunk of your life working so it should be something you look forward to, not dread.

To achieve this, I make sure that when I have looked for a role, I have found the right fit. I have found companies that are honest in what they are offering and expecting and likewise I am upfront and honest with what I am looking for.

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

I have started adding in a little bit of exercise every day, usually in the mornings. I have also been actively trying to cut out things from my life that aren’t productive. Am I spending time on something that benefits my environment, work, physical or mental health? If not, then I can be doing better with the hours of the day. 

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

I’ll be honest, I am not much of a book or podcast guy but one of my all-time favourites is The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.

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

It would be interesting to hear how someone like Mike Cannon-Brookes manages their work-life balance personally.

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

Everyone has different priorities and perspectives, so you just need to find what’s right for you. If your current role doesn’t pass the Sunday evening test and you dread the week ahead, then it’s time to make a change. Be honest and realistic with what you want and find the right fit for you.

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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.