Julia Lin is the Head of Growth at Atarix, an Australian owned and operated IT services company specialising in cloud solutions.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I have been working in technology for over 15 years, starting my sales career in telecommunications and IT infrastructure, then quickly moved to the top of the stack in applications and cloud technologies. Throughout my career, I have moved from sales to customer success and leading teams to do their best work.
After graduating with an Interior Design Degree, I always get asked ‘Wow, how did you end up in IT?!’ and my response to this is always ‘Curiosity.’
I find that because technology changes ALL the time, there is always something new to be learned and I am constantly amazed at what technology can do for people.
Funnily enough, I did leave technology for a short time exploring a passion project and started my wedding planning and floristry business. This undoubtedly was very scary taking the leap and leaving a stable and flourishing career at a large SaaS company. This was really where I found my ‘why’ or ‘purpose’ and am so glad I did it. I definitely learned so much from the experience.
But curiosity again got the better of me and I came back to the IT sphere and cloud technologies, now approaching it with a different lens. How can technology help people and better their lives?
Today, I’m fortunate enough to have joined a company and team that is doing just that. I am now the Head of Growth at Atarix, where we believe that work and life should coexist. We are working towards a world where you can not only get the most out of your life and have the time to do what you love but also have the freedom and choice to be productive and work from anywhere, anytime.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Now that this part of the world is transitioning back to the office, it has become a lot easier to get a routine back. So, a recent workday would be waking up and straight away would give my two dachshunds breakfast (because otherwise, I would not stop hearing about it), flick on the coffee machine for my husband, and get myself ready for work and I am out the door.
On my 30min commute into the office, I would check my calendar to see what meetings I have and get my head in the game, write out a to-do list, check-in with the team and order my morning coffee so it is waiting for me at my destination.
Most of my meetings are scheduled in the morning so that I am in a flow state for both meetings as well as tasks in the afternoon. I make sure I step out of the office for some fresh air and sunlight for lunch before coming back to the office to hit my to-do list, but before I do, I check in with the team to see if they need me to help with anything.
To finish the day, I like to get a workout in. I believe that it is so important to stay active with having such a sedentary job as well as a great way to mentally transition out of ‘work-brain’ before dinner and enjoying a meal with my husband where we would share stories of our day and spend some time with our fur babies.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Absolutely. It’s actually our bread and butter here at Atarix so we live and breathe hybrid working and want to enable as many businesses as we can to do the same, securely.
We have seen so many businesses before the pandemic that didn’t have the necessary means to allow people to work the way they wanted or needed to. It seemed so hard to fit in school drop-off and pick-ups, allowing work to envelop their lives and taking work home just to hopefully get ahead. The culture that is fostered in some businesses was not healthy for their employees both physically and mentally so we strive to change that.
With hybrid working, it makes it so easy for me to adapt this into a routine of my own where it is two-on, one-off, with the agility to work from home if the need arises, all with the ability to smash out our goals.
Because this is the norm for everyone, it has not affected our culture of collaboration, fun, and inclusion with having felt like a supportive family.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
This is something I have been trying to master for many years. It means balancing my time across all the things that are important to me which I define in four buckets: Relationships, Physical health, Mental health, and Work.
During the pandemic, I imagine that it has not been easy for anyone to find a balance and I am no exception. At first, I had to timebox to the point where I needed to put ‘Lunch’ in my calendar to make me get up from my desk in the home office.
It was too easy for the days to blend into the next, so I had to make it a point to carve out time for myself. If it is in the calendar, it has to happen! It is a little bit easier once it becomes a routine however, still super hard to balance!
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I have leaned into gardening and permaculture principles in the past year. Having been forced to quarantine, we have made some home improvements. I am big on leaving less of the impact on the earth as possible and try to employ sustainable practices in my day-to-day. Not only that, but I have found that it just brings so much zen and happiness in my life being grounded.
In our small backyard of ten square metres of usable space, I’ve managed to grow zucchini, tomatoes, ginger, sweet potato, pak choy, silver beat, basil, oregano, sage, mint, lime, orange, fig, and passionfruit. The next thing that is coming in spring is a beehive!
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Work-wise, I’d highly recommend Dare to Lead with Brené Brown, where she highlights some really relevant and deep topics of conversation. An all-time favourite book which everyone must-read for a good laugh is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
My coffee machine and robot vacuum. I’ve named the robot vacuum Lisa and she does me a favour every day at 12.30 pm to help with keeping the dog hair at bay. With already juggling a hectic schedule, that’s just one less thing I need to think about, and I highly recommend it to everyone if you don’t already have one!
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
JLo. Would love to hear how she juggles her hours between tours, rehearsals, family, and staying fit. I know that when I used to travel a lot for work, it was so hard to be able to have that almost perfect balance of spending time with loved ones, whilst maintaining a healthy diet and exercise without any mental burnout, being on the go all the time. If there is some light she’s able to shed or a secret she can impart, I think all of us can benefit!
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Having work-life balance is never easy and it is just a matter of understanding what is at the top of your priority list and having that clearly defined as your north star. With that defined, you can pick and choose the time you spend on things that help you keep your buckets all evenly distributed. Also remember, it is never going to be perfect but just keep at it!
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