Balancing the Grind with Jennifer Gabrielle-Chapman, Talent Acquisition Lead at Bought By Many

Jennifer Gabrielle-Chapman is the Talent Acquisition Lead at Bought By Many, a pet insurance company based in the UK.

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

I’ve been lucky enough to work for some fantastic brands throughout my career.  I started out in my career working in publishing as I always hoped to break into copywriting, although I soon realised that I had a knack for building rapport in a short space of time.

When I was approached by a client to try recruitment I thought I’d give it a try and fifteen plus later, I’m working for a truly amazing employer and helping them source, hire and onboard top talent across their global business.

I moved into management about ten years ago and on reflection, this was a much harder transition than I realised as I didn’t have much exposure to training or mentoring – but as with all things, I found my feet and it’s one of the areas of my role that I enjoy the most.

I currently manage a team of incredibly bright Talent Scouts, who amaze me with their skill and enthusiasm every day and work alongside a “human and resourceful” People team.

My role at Bought By Many focusses on talent acquisition (sourcing, hiring and mobility), DE&I (building inclusive hiring practises) and ensuring we have a clear strategy for the team, which is backed-up by best-in-breed tech, data and insight.

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

My first three months at Bought By Many have been a blur!  Every day presents a new area for growth and learning.

Typically, I start work at 9.30 as I’m not a morning person (!) and it’s a mix of coaching the team, recruitment deliverables for our open hires, talking with candidates, supporting the People and leadership teams – and helping raise the profile of DE&I across the business.

I am at my best in the evening, so sometimes I use my free time to try new things out, ideate or focus on chunkier pieces of work like market research or systems admin which needs my creative brain.

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

I didn’t enjoy working from home, mainly because I had a small house in London which wasn’t geared up for home working. It was tough when some employers were reluctant to let their employees work from home too, although I’m glad things have been properly shaken up in the last 18 months in that respect.

Since relocating to Yorkshire I now have my own office space and I truly love the remote life. Bought By Many has always been flexible on how we work, allowing it to be a joint decision between both us and our employees.

I’m fully remote right now and in time, I hope to be able to visit our offices in London, Birmingham and Haywards Heath more regularly. Once we can fly safely, I can’t wait to meet our folks in Sweden and the USA too. It’s great to see them on Zoom, but face to face is always a lot more fun when you’re meeting someone for the first time.

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

To me work-life balance means what I do either inside or outside of work, shouldn’t affect others.  The way I’ve achieved this is through discipline – and it’s not been an easy balance to find. 

I’m the sort of person who likes to do things straight away and with plenty of gusto, so I know I need to be careful to manage my own commitments and stress levels.  I am mindful of how much I have in my diary and if it starts to get too chaotic, I start to say ‘no’ or I re-evaluate what is a priority and shift things back.

Bought By Many are fantastic about allowing autonomy and my manager is also a great supporter of finding the right balance, which is superb.  It takes time and I don’t always get it right – however my mental health is more important than anything else and always comes first.

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

I’ve picked up meditation and mindfulness more since the pandemic.  I also make sure I take a full hour for lunch (something I don’t think I’ve ever done when working full-time from a company office). I walk my dogs three times a day and being among the glorious nature of North Yorkshire really helps put things in perspective.

Every stress and worry can be dissolved by a walk through a ruined castle, a beautiful sunset or a hike by a river.  On the flip side, I have found I drink more wine in the evenings than before the pandemic and that’s something I want to change as I know this will have a detrimental effect on my health in the longer term.

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

I’ve never really been a fan of podcasts, however I do subscribe to Hung Lee’s Brainfood newsletter, which is a curation of all-things-Talent on a weekly basis and always full of great content.  I subscribe to B3TA and Popb*tch too – but a word of warning, the content can be quite rude and it’s definitely NSFW.

I’m a big fan of reading books which have absolutely nothing to do with my day-to-day life.  Currently I have these books on my bedside table:

  • Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty
  • Can Everyone Please Calm Down? A Guide to 21st Century Sexuality by Mae Martin
  • View from Above: An Astronaut Photographs the World by Terry W. Virts
  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

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

I’m a huge geek, so my selected favourite bits of tech are: my Garmin watch complete with running apps, Waze, my Nintendo Switch (currently playing Oddworld) and my bluetooth motorcycle headset.

I’d quite literally be lost without it!  In work I can’t do without Slack, email, LinkedIn and of course, Zoom.  Calendly also is a huge time saver and one of my favourite ways to organise my day.

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

I’d like to hear something from my global colleagues across the business on how they manage their time.  There’s always something new to learn and the folks here are all top of their game!

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

It can be tough to discipline yourself to maintain the right balance in a remote-first world, but keep trying.  If you can, relocate yourself from your place of work at home and shut the door on your working day. This might be a case of hiding your laptop after hours in a drawer or physically shutting the door to your workspace.

Keep work apps off your home phone too and rest assured, if anything really major happens someone will call you.  Being present or responsive on Slack, email,  LinkedIn, etc. will do nothing to help your productivity and will never allow your brain to truly switch off from “work mode”. 

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.