Daniella Doughan is the Head of Content at Hireup, an online platform for people with disability to find, hire and manage their own support workers.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Sure thing. After graduating from an Arts degree (which was wonderful fun but left me more confused about what I wanted to be when I grew up), I worked at Australian Associated Press as a researcher, then moved overseas to live and work in Japan teaching English.
I’ve always loved reading and writing, so when I came back to Sydney, I did a Masters degree in Journalism. I worked as a journalist for six years or so, then worked in content marketing for brands such as Telstra, NAB and Paypal. Both these experiences taught me a lot about people, being curious, and best practice when it comes to storytelling.
Now, I’m the head of content at Hireup, an online platform for people with disabilities to find and manage their own support workers. I help look after the content across our website, emails, and marketing projects so that we can attract clients and disability support workers in new markets, and so that our existing community can get the right information at the best time.
From a content perspective, it’s exciting to share stories from and by people with disability, their families, and their support workers, because it’s not something we get enough of in Australian media.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I’m a morning person, so try to do the big stuff in the mornings. It usually starts by catching up on the latest disability or NDIS news, and seeing if there’s a story or topic that our team or our contributors could write about, and getting that happening.
Then, usually a couple of meetings, and work on a couple of projects. A recent project has been vaccinations for disability support workers. Every state and territory has mandated vaccinations but on different days and with different deadlines, so that’s been keeping us on our toes!
Lunch is usually last night’s leftovers, and the afternoon is usually spent writing or editing something for our website. I’m not into coffee but there’s always plenty of tea throughout the day, and the occasional (OK, often) 3pm ice cream break.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
It sure does, and it means that I can structure work around my life, rather than the other way around. I think a global pandemic taught a lot of organisations that it’s possible for people to be just as (if not more) productive from home.
So, I work a few days in the office, and a few days at home; for me, that’s the perfect balance. I love the energy of the office, bouncing ideas off people in person, and having a chat with work mates I haven’t seen in a long time, or that I’ve never met in person before.
Then, working from home a few days a week means I can focus a bit better for writing, plus make it to a 6pm yoga class or soccer game (two of my favourite things). But I have to say the best thing about working from home is having plenty of time throughout the day with my rescue greyhound, Pillow.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
For me, it’s about having enough energy and bandwidth to help solve problems and make a difference – whether that’s giving a client a really good joining experience, or rolling out something new for our disability support workers, or harnessing some of our great community stories. I really like my job, and when it feels like you’re making an impact, it can be hard to switch off.
But there are lots of things I enjoy outside my job too, and I like being present for those. I turn off email and Slack notifications on my phone. I deleted my social media accounts a few years ago and wish I did it earlier; I have so much time back in my day. And, I love activities, so making the time to plan and do fun activities is important!
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Well, I’ve stopped going to the gym. I’m not sure if that’s a good habit to stop though…but I have replaced it with spending more time outdoors. Getting a dog has meant more local walks, and I’ve never met so many neighbours! A dog is such a great conversation starter.
I’ve always done yoga, but my husband’s just finished his yoga teacher training so I’ve probably been doing yoga more in the past 12 months. I’m competitive though, and he’s better than me, which I don’t like!
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Ah I love reading, so this one’s hard. Anything by Helen Garner. Anything by Trent Dalton. Phosphorescence by Julia Baird is great. I’ve just finished Heartsick by Jessie Stephens and it was great too. Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking is probably my favourite book.
For podcasts, let’s go with She’s on the Money, Ladies We Need to Talk, The Grade Cricketer, and then obviously A Nation Changed.
The daily newsletter from Aquabumps is always refreshing, and I’m a member of Krama Yoga and always open their newsletters too.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I’m not super techy, so in terms of gadgets, just my phone. Spotify and WhatsApp are probably my most used apps. I’m also partial to a bit of Chess with Friends.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Hmmm I think I’d just like to get an insight into different business or sport leaders. Zoe Foster Blake. Melanie Perkins. Sam Kerr.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I think everyone’s different, but I’d say not to underestimate the power of gut instinct. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and overstretched and overcommitted, you probably are, and it’s probably time to plan a fun activity!
Before you go…
If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here.
Join our community and never miss a conversation about work, life & balance – subscribe to our newsletter.