Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Jess Williams, Senior Social Media Manager at Social Soup

Jess Williams is a Senior Social Media Manager at influencer marketing agency Social Soup, where she heads up the social team across clients in the alcohol and hair & grooming space.

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

Absolutely! Ever since I was really little, I always wanted to work in journalism and went on to study that at university.

My first full time role – that I not so cleverly decided to accept in my final stressful year at university – came off the back of an internship I’d done a few years prior at the now defunct culture Magazine. It really was a dream job come true for a twenty something, getting to write about hair and beauty for a living.

Unfortunately after about two years, the magazine went under – my first real look at how challenging a career within the Australian journalism landscape would be. This prompted me to move into more of a PR/Marketing space, which then in turn led me to the fast paced world of agency life.

I am now working as a Senior Social Media Manager at Social Soup, reporting to the Managing Director and heading up their social team. I’m incredibly blessed to have an incredible roster of clients, predominantly in the alcohol and hair/grooming space, and look after their day to day social media and contribute to their ongoing social strategies.

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

It’s really difficult to capture a single day in the life of my job, as the work is so cyclical. For example one week I will focus on content creation for the month, the next reporting and then lather rinse repeat!

If I were to capture a rough day, however, it would probably look like this. Waking up at 6AM and looking over emails/messages/daily meetings ahead over a coffee. Then I’ll go for a run or do an hour of yoga in Sydney Park, come home and get ready for my official work day. We’re currently working from home so the commute to my home office is really easy!

I’ve found that there’s two types of people – those who are most proactive early, and those who work better late. I’m definitely the former, so I like to get my brainpower heavy deadline-based work done by about lunch time. This is usually creating content for socials, generating reports or working on ad hoc projects for clients. But every day is different, which is what I love. I keep my more simple tasks or easier meetings for the afternoons, when my brain is a little bit done and wants to take it easy.

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

In this current social climate, I think it would be incredibly irresponsible not to allow employees at least the option to work from home!

I think that this pandemic will change how a lot of business look at working from home. I’ve certainly found it extremely beneficial as I am removed from the distractions of office life and can completely plug in when it comes to a looming deadline.

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

To me, work/life balance is all about loving what you do whilst still having the time to pursue interests outside of a career. To me, this is ensuring that – even if I have to do a little bit of work once I leave the office from the comfort of my couch – getting out at a reasonable time and heading to the gym, and making sure that you do actively carve out time for yourself in any given day.

My job is interesting as I work with a roster of alcohol brands, which requires me to attend a lot of night/weekend events. What I love is that my clients and I have such a fantastic supporting relationship that this doesn’t feel like working. It feels like we’re going out and celebrating all the work we do together.

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

Certainly in the last twelve months, I’ve placed a massive emphasis on ensuring that I walk to work when in office (which takes about an hour). This allows me time to clear my head and get ready for the day, answer phone calls, catch up on podcasts etc. It’s daily ‘me time’ that helps my brain power up and also assists in keeping me active.

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

I absolutely love The Mindvalley Podcast with Vishen Lakhiani. He basically gathers thought leaders and inspirational figures from around the world and discusses big ideas with them. It has really challenged or changed my thought processes on one or more of those walks to work.

Bookswise, I am a total binge reader and go through about a book a week. I lean pretty heavily into philosophical novels and collections of short essays, and one that I think everyone should give a go is The Heart of Things by A.C. Grayling. In this collection of essays, he takes modern principles and looks at them through an incredibly interesting philosophical lens.

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

My coffee machine! Especially now I’m stuck at home! I have a problem. I also use Shazam all the time.

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

Definitely Anna Wintour. Everyone has a conception of her as the always working dragon lady, which might be true, but I’d at least like to read it in her own words.

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

The saying ‘when you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life’ is complete and total bullshit (excuse the language). There are going to be bad days in every job and as long as you remember that your career should only be a part of who you are and doesn’t define you, you’ll be all the happier for it.

Before you go…

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This conversation is brought to you by The Well-Suited Group, providing premium executive support services to high level executives, who also recognise the value of work-life balance.

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.