Yanyan Ji is the Chief Marketing Officer at ecoATM Gazelle, a company offering an international network of eco-friendly automated kiosks that provide recycling for electronic devices.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’m the Chief Marketing Officer at ecoATM Gazelle and have been with the company a bit over three years focused on building brand awareness and business growth for this amazing and innovative green tech company.
I have been working in high tech companies most of my professional life all over the globe. I also created my own children’s fashion brand during my maternity leave many years ago which I hope to restart one day.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My day starts with walking our dog first thing in the morning. The weather is cool and there are less people in the neighborhood making it easy to practice social distancing. Then, it’s breakfast time for the family.
After that, we prepare the kids for their online study, make sure they know their schedule, and I rush to my first meeting of the day, which usually starts as early as 8 am and they last the whole day.
During meeting breaks, my husband and I will take turns to check on the children, sometimes having to stop a quarrel between them, prepare snacks, lunch and dinner. For some reason, quarantine makes everyone in the house hungry all the time!
The busy day ends with walking our dog in the neighborhood, preparing kids for their evening routine and laundry — nothing glamorous!
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes, thanks to all the technology, remote working is absolutely doable. My husband and I both work and we have two kids in elementary school so this requires a lot of coordination and support for each other.
So, for example, if I am busy in a meeting, he will take care of the kids and the house during his breaks. If he is busy with conference calls, I will try to do more. When we are both busy at a critical time such as lunch or snack time, it can get pretty challenging and hectic.
Sometimes we need to turn off the video and mute the audio during our Zoom meetings and take care of the crisis such as one of the kids not being able to find his or her pen!
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I am not going to lie, I think work-life balance is hard. It is very tough when both parents have demanding jobs with school age children. My husband and I are a great team though. We try our best to support each other and to share the responsibilities at home.
I think that is the best you can do. When you do realize that your life is out of balance because of busy work, acknowledge it and make extra effort to slow down, to pause, to take care of yourself and your family.
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?
Be kind to yourself and others.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I like Morning Briefing by The New York Times. I check it first thing in the morning. I don’t have any favorite books, I read a big variety of them depending on my mood! I don’t know why I have never got into podcasts. I feel so uncool when I admit it.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Whoever is telling the truth.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
We are living in a crazy time right now during COVID-19. It has not been easy, but in some strange way I am so thankful for this time with my family at home. I don’t think there is a perfect work, life or balance.
Everyone’s version is different. You need to do what is right for you, try your best, accept when you fail and try again, and most importantly celebrate when you succeed and enjoy!
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