Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Bethany Zazlan, Development Officer at QUT

July 11, 2019

Bethany Zazlan is the Development Officer at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), a role which entails executing a corporate engagement campaign and securing philanthropic gifts for the university.

Balance the Grind spoke to Bethany about her role at QUT, a typical day in her life, detoxing from social media, volunteer work, and more.

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

My career really started when I was told University was not a feasible or realistic goal I should have.

Because of that, I applied for my Bachelor of Business, majoring in Marketing and Public Relations at QUT, because when someone says not to do something – you do it.

I then juggled numerous internships and assistant roles whilst study and working part time, which included PR agencies, event companies, marketing agencies and finally an internship at QUT.

From this internship, I was asked to continue in a marketing and engagement role in the Science and Engineering faculty.

A few months later I went through the intensive process of applying for an Advancement role at QUT – not really knowing what the role entailed. This was a great stepping stone which saw international work travel opportunities, and intensive professional development.

And now I have graduated, and am one of QUT’s youngest Development Officers in the Advancement Office. I also tutor two final year PR classes at night – who would have thought!

2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?

As a QUT Development Officer I undertake a multifaceted role, including:

  • managing corporate relationships between the University and major partners
  • securing philanthropic gifts for scholarships and vital research
  • overseeing marketing for the QUT Learning Potential Fund, which is the largest charitable perpetual fund of its scale in Australia

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

Well, let’s go through a usual Monday for me.

I will get up at 6:00am, have a smoothie and get ready for the day. This usually entails numerous outfit changes and a quick scroll through the news (Riveting I know).

I will then jump on the City Cat and head into work for an 8:00am start which is quickly followed by numerous coffees.

I will check in with my corporate clients, see if they need anything from QUT to start the day off.

There is usually a few meetings with donors, or prospects. Then we have a team meeting, to check in with everyone in my office.

Planning for events and creating marketing content usually takes up a large portion of my day.

When I finish, usually around 5pm, where I will head straight to a social dinner or catching up with some of my networks around Brisbane.

I then head home to work on some volunteer work for 10×10 Philanthropy or marking my student’s assessments depending on the time of year.

After this, I will head straight to gym which I find is an amazing way to end the day.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you prioritise your workload?

I usually recommend the following two points to anyone who is struggling with their workload, and need to get stuff done effectively and efficiently.

  1. To do lists!
  2. Block out your calendar with the things on your to do list. I find this helps to not spend too much time on the less important items, especially when you have time deadlines approaching.

5) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?

It is extremely important to find this balance, and so many young people burn out before they are able to achieve the ideal equilibrium.

I always ensure I have something to look forward to, whether that be a social event, dinner with friends or spending time with family. I find having something to look forward to really balance out my obsession with work and professional development.

I also know a lot of people who struggle to “balance the grind” effectively have side hustles or side gigs. If this is you, you need to ensure this job is something that brings you happiness – and that you actually like doing it.

I also ensure that I do not check my emails over the weekend, if it is crucial – you will receive a call.

6) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?

I always ensure my social calendar is full around two weeks in advance, I find having social events in your calendar makes you have something to always look forward to. I find surrounding myself people who really care about you, recharges you extremely well and brings you back down to earth.

I also like to have social media detox periods, you never realise how often you are on Instagram until you don’t have it – it’s great!

7) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

I have learnt over the past few years that you need to surround yourself with like-minded, ambitious people.

I have also learnt that you need to work efficiently and effectively, which does not necessarily mean working all hours of the night. It is about making note of when you are most productive and working to your strengths.

8) Are there any books you’ve read that have helped you with work-life balance?

Recently I have just finished Think and Grow Rich by James Whittaker, which goes through how the world’s leading entrepreneurs, though leaders and cultural icons achieve success. It is really inspiring, but at the same time highlights what is important for growth and how to look at personal success on a broader scale.

I also follow some pretty influential people on Instagram who help with creating a “Work smart” mindset, which means not working ridiculous hours – but working smart hours. My favourites are @Vaughnroyer and @Mitchchills.

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

I get up at 6am each morning and get to work as early as possible, I think it is crucial to know when you are most productive. I then ensure I go to gym most nights which helps get a good night’s rest.

I also ensure I walk into my day with specific objectives, and an overarching goal. When you set yourself achievable and smart objectives, you work more efficiently and walk out of work feeling accomplished.

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