Interviews / Marketing & Advertising

Balancing the Grind with Linh Diep, Junior Account Director at GrowthOps

Linh Diep is a Junior Account Director at full service creative agency GrowthOps, as well as the co-founder of mentorship program Assisterhood.

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

I work in Adland at GrowthOps – a creative agency in Brisbane as a Junior Account Director. For people outside of advertising this role doesn’t mean much (my parents still think I’m an accountant!)

Essentially, I’m a client-facing project manager – I take client problems and together with our teams, provide communications solutions to businesses. GrowthOps is a full service “brief-to-broadcast” creative agency, allowing us to be nimble and own the whole process end-to-end.

Before this, I worked with the global network, Publicis Groupe in the same role. This was where I really stretched my involvement in the industry; co-founding the Assisterhood – a mentorship program pairing leaders from creative, design, media, production & digital tech in Brisbane with rising stars.

Additionally, I am the National Chair for The Comminications Council Youngbloods committee, a NFP that empowers young people to kick-ass in advertising.

Let’s say I run the career burners pretty hot!

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

I typically start my day the same – but that’s about the same as it gets!

After our first all hands in traffic meeting, I prioritise tasks for the day so I know what needs to be tackled first, who to follow up with and what meetings are scheduled in. And then depending on the projects I’m working on, I could be working closely with our creative and strategy team working on a comms solution, or with our content team to actually produce what goes into market.

Either way, I’m fortunate to work closely with really talented & smart people and my role is to make sure projects continue to move forward and troubleshoot anything that pops up along the way.

Outside of work, I tackle the Youngbloods & Assisterhood task list. This involves working on a range of things including content and or event offerings specific to their respective audiences.

For example, at Youngbloods we’re working towards delivering national events across Australia to deliver a consistent experience for all young people in advertising. Assisterhood applications have just closed so we’re ramping up and preparing to facilitate our mentor / mentee matchups!

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

In light of COVID, we’ve all moved to WFH. This has broken down all the walls for allowing this type of working going forward. Before the pandemic, flexible and remote working was definitely an option to take up.

GrowthOps really promoted working for you – as long as the work gets done, and you’ve communicated this with your team, then work the hours that suit your lifestyle. In my world as a morning person, this means that my day starts at 5AM, and in the office at 7.30AM – but I’m out the door earlier than most.

It’s all about balance and finding out what works for you and working to that.

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

I came across the 4 burners analogy recently. You can have all 4 burners going at the same time, but you’re not going to be red-hot on all of them all at once. Turning one off allows you to allocate more energy into another.

Those 4 burners are work, family, health and friends. In my world, this principle is paramount for me. I have set steadfast rules on how many night commitments I have per week (for the record it’s 2), so I can maintain home life. Digital detox weekends once a month to reset the feeling of being plugged in.

The most important thing for me is being self-aware & having open, honest conversations with the people closest to me & giving myself time for self-reflection. I trust these people to call me out when I’m teetering into the danger zone & make sure that I make time for catch-ups & for myself to evaluate and process recent events (I do this through a weekly practice of journaling)

5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?

I’ll take you through 5 things I’ve implemented:

  1. Goal setting – consistently evaluating and setting goals on an annual basis, and breaking them down into quarterly, monthly, weekly & then into daily actionable items.
  2. Fear setting – asking myself what’s the worst thing that could happen, accepting this reality and then working to overcome it. (Reference: Watch Tim Ferris’ TED Talk)
  3. Reading & consuming books & podcasts – I truly believe knowledge is power.
  4. Self-care routine – I vary my practice with meditation, gratitude, affirmations and yoga and explore what brings joy into my life & make sure I make time for this.
  5. Find novelty – I try to do one new thing per month, to practice being uncomfortable. That practice has taken me into art workshops (where I’m not very good at all!), cooking classes, new locations etc. The biggest thing for me here is becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable, feeling into the feels of being a novice, and finding what brings me joy (and doing more of it!)

6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

I just finished Not Just Lucky by Jamila Rizvi and I wish I had read this sooner! Jamila’s candid with her experiences and weaves insights with learnings – it’s a must read.

My other favourites have to be Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, Becoming by Michelle Obama and The One Thing by Gary Kellar. I keep a notepad where I scribble notes (tidbits from books) so I can refer back and revisit learnings to implement into my life.

7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

I complete the 5 min journal app everyday at the beginning of my day to introduce gratitude and set 3 things that will make today great. And finish the day with 3 great things that actually happened, and a section for how you could make this day better.

This practice has really grounded me to start my day with intention and positivity and end in the same way.

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

Any working mum. I 110% believe that mums have the most difficult job in the world! Balancing raising a family & having kids, to maintaining your relationship with your significant other, whilst also climbing the career ladder, socialising with friends – when do you even have time for yourself? A peek into that world would be the ultimate eye-opener & extremely humbling.

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

Have a clear process: Focus on one thing. Do it well. Evaluate. Rinse & repeat.

No one’s perfect, it comes down to maintaining the constant chemistry of finding the perfect balance for your current work/life stack. My last bit of advice would be being aware of when you start falling into the danger zone and leaning into your support network to re-balance and calibrate again.

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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.