Biz Dev & Sales / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Devon Tong, National Sales Manager at Computer Recycling

Devon Tong is the National Sales Manager at Computer Recycling, an electronic waste recycling and e waste disposal centre based in Auckland, New Zealand.

Are you feeling stressed? Take this free 3-minute scorecard to find out if stress is preventing you from optimal performance in all areas of life.

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

I started my own business quite young by setting up a carwash with a good friend in NZ which went really well and saw me set up another one in Canada before selling out of both by the age of 24.

I then spent a career in the premium beverage industry building brands such as 42 Below Vodka & Fever Tree in the UK, and Martin Millers Gin in the USA. I then went into the hair care industry working with Revlon and American Crew in Australia based in Sydney.

It is at that point I felt the pull to do better for the planet and hunted down an opportunity to spearhead a Sustainable Salons program back in my home country of NZ. This saw me help divert up to 95% of a salon’s waste from landfill.

After 4 years on that mission, I saw a bigger waste stream to tackle the e-waste sector, so I have now teamed up with Computer Recycling NZ to help divert some of the 99,000 tonnes a year of e-waste generated in NZ that currently goes to landfill.   

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

My day normally starts early with a run, gym, or walking our rescue dog, Asha. She is a 7-year-old beardie cross and came to us after a few broken attempts to find her a home. We are so happy to give her a forever home with us.

I then check work emails and get through anything urgent at that stage of the day. I also hold facility tours to help educate clients on our process of diverting e-waste from landfill. My days are quite varied as a National Sales Manager, but I really enjoy the variety it brings in a day.

I work from home or on the road 2 days a week and in the office 3 days so it’s good to have some flexibility. Once my workday is done, in the summer, I like to swim at our local beach as I used to free-dive when I was younger, so I love being in the ocean. When I have spare time, I like to read.

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

I believe work-life balance is having enough time to reflect and grow personal new skills that interest you alongside growing professionally and/or in the business you are in. At times it is a tough balancing act.

In my last role, I worked from a home office for 4 years so when covid hit it did not change my routine too much. Now I work in an office 3 days a week, it has been quite good having a team environment that’s not just online again. 

I think it’s important to bring the hustle when needed to get something across the line at work, but I think it’s equally important to switch that phone off after hours and give yourself and or your partner your full attention to keep that balance in your personal life and relationships. 


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

Yes, I run more. I try to get out a few days a week and a longer Sunday run. At 44 I ran my first 2 half marathons (1 road and 1 trail) with a few friends at a local running group called KCB and it’s been very rewarding the friendships forged and increased exercise levels formed so far. 

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

Yes, if you are ever having a bad day, I recommend reading Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl. It will definitely put things in perspective.

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

I have two. Gandhi. He lived true to his life force every single day of his waking life, so in turn, his life’s work was just being his true self. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. 

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

This may sound cliche but if you can find that personal passion that you can work into the fabric of your career or business then I think that’s a great place to start. If you can wake up every day and look forward to what you do for work, then it’s more PLAY not WORK. Find your inner child again and PLAY! 

Before you go…

If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here

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.