Interviews / PR & Communications

Balancing the Grind with Jaclyn Fellows, Senior Communication Officer at Jobs Queensland

Jaclyn Fellows is the Senior Communication Officer at Jobs Queensland, which provides strategic advice to the government on jobs, skills, training and the workforce.

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

My work history has been quite varied, which speaks to my personality and nature.

I’ve always been one of those people who crave variety and flexibility, even though there’s so much narrative around finding that one thing you’re really passionate about and striving towards a singular, definable goal.

After exploring a number of different roles and industries – particularly in a creative expression capacity – I found my feet a few years ago in communication work for the public sector.

My current role with Jobs Queensland has proven the perfect foundation for enhancing my existing skill set whilst simultaneously elevating it to a whole new level.

Through research, projects and policy work, Jobs Queensland provides independent, strategic advice to government on jobs, skills, training and the workforce in a uniquely Queensland context.

I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of a relatively small team where I’m not only surrounded by high-performing professionals who are dedicated to delivering quality work but I’m also exposed to every aspect of the organisation, from operational tasks through to strategic planning.

Coupled with some outstanding leaders and mentors who I’m supported by on a daily basis, Jobs Queensland is the perfect fit for me.

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

At a high level, my days are variable and flexible, which suit my working style and preferences to a tee. I’m also under no illusion as to how fortunate I am to have to have this kind of autonomy in the workplace (home or otherwise).

Where I do like to bring in some structure is through the type of work I do at various points throughout the day.

For example, I like to start a bit later in the mornings because I know my productivity peaks after lunch time and I can really power home for those afternoon hours.

I also prefer to tend to more organisational and focused tasks first up, like emails and editing, and then ride my ‘creative high’ in the afternoons when working on content writing, narrative production and tasks that are heavily conceptual.

We have a daily team meeting (online) at 10am too, so that opportunity for personal connectivity and non-work check-ins really helps to balance out the rest of the day when I’m usually deep in thought!

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

It certainly does. Flexible working arrangements have always been on the table, even pre-COVID, but we are now really beginning to understand how to make them work concurrently for the individual, the team, and the broader organisation.

I’ve been working from home full-time for over 4 months now, with a plan to begin transitioning back to the office 1 day a week shortly.

While I only live a 15-minute drive from our office, the time involved in making that commute, parking, walking to the building (and usually grabbing a coffee on the way) all adds up to make an impact in your day-to-day.

By working from home, I’ve been able to redirect this time to attending CrossFit, walking my dog in the afternoons and having substantial, home-cooked meals. This has proven to me that these elements have to be non-negotiable in my work-life planning moving forward.

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

To me, work-life balance directly equates to a sense of self-awareness and commitment.

You have to know when to say ‘no’ or ‘not right now’ in both work and life. Similarly, it’s also your responsibility to prioritise your health and wellbeing in a way that supports optimal performance in the workplace.

It’s a bidirectional relationship where one doesn’t function entirely separate from the other – you have to bring your whole self to both.

In working towards the goal of ‘balance’, I’m always trying to be conscious of my state of mind and that of those around me.

I’m a very intuitive person, inwardly, so I can sense how I’m feeling, what my needs are, and any challenges I might be experiencing at any given time, but this year I’ve been actively working on expanding that awareness to my family, friends and colleagues so that it helps to create a more cohesive work-life style.

It’s not everyone’s preference to have completely fluidity between their work and personal lives but for me, it’s the only way that I know how bring my best, most authentic self into any environment.

This is also particularly important to me now that I’ve returned to study and am on a pathway to organisation psychology – I want to practise what I preach!

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

Along with commencing postgraduate study, I’ve made a serious commitment to exercise and training in a way that responds to my body’s (and mind’s) needs.

After frequently getting caught in a perfectionist mindset and an ‘all or nothing’ approach to fitness in the past, I’ve come to understand what works best for me.

That means mostly weight training at CrossFit 3-4 times per week, balanced with walking my dog every day (even if it’s only around the block) and really tuning into my nutrition needs.

I’m very lucky that my best friend is an outstanding nutritionist so I get a lot of support in this area!

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

The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge is one of those books that stays with you.

It’s a collection of case studies about neuroplasticity – the ability for the brain to rewire itself and respond to trauma – and I love the merging of detailed science and the triumph of the human spirit.

I geek out on ATP Science’s The Modern Woman’s podcast and Broken Brain by Dhru Prohit – they’re both such perfect demonstrations of integrative approaches to health and wellbeing and their broader impact on our quality of life, which I’m deeply passionate about.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I recently bought a sit-stand desk riser and I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. An absolute game-changer ergonomically and the effects were felt immediately.

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

Jacinda Ardern – the woman is an extraordinary role model and to have that insight would be incredibly valuable.

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

I think the concept of ‘balance’ is a tricky one – we usually think of it as two equal parts, existing independent of each other, remaining constant over time, when in reality, work-life balance is quite the opposite.

I think the best tool we have for managing the give-and-take in our lives is to be mindful and present when it comes to our most genuine selves and our relationships with others. We’re all part of one big, never-ending cycle.

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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.