Issue 1: how's work?

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Zine issue 01 / Spring 2019



how’s work? Don’t say fine. Oh, you already did? Well don’t feel bad about it, you’re in good company. Every day we bat away “How’s work?” with “Fine”, “Can’t complain”, and “Oh… you know.” We say that’s not good enough. We are NABS. We’re the support organisation for media and advertising and we say it’s time to have a proper conversation about how we’re doing. This zine was created to start that conversation. We asked people from across our industry a set of probing questions designed to dig into every facet of their wellbeing. They told us how work should be and how it actually is. How it elates. When it frustrates. Who at work has meant the most to them and why. Whether it’s all worth it. What they’d like to see change. Most people said they think the best is yet to come. This is how work is, in their words…

SHEPARD SHEPARD is NABS’ seven point, evidencebased wellbeing model: Satisfaction, Health, Emotions, Perceptions, Awareness, Rewards and Diversity.


how’s work?

Caroline Adeyemi

Social media & content manager at Lucky Generals, 4 yrs in industry Using only three words, describe work.

Getting away from your desk. Discuss.

Exciting, productive, varied.

Absolutely necessary. Strategic thinking and creativity go hand-in-hand for me so I often need space or a change in context to focus and refresh my thinking.

Why are you doing what you’re doing? Because I believe that technology and creativity are a great means of effective mass communication.

Crying at work. Discuss. Sometimes it happens. We should make space for that too if we need it.

Is the best yet to come? Yes. The best will come when it will be normal to use technology and communication to service others in a meaningful way, not just ourselves.

What place does emotion have in decision-making? Generally with emotions I think you should investigate why you have them, then decide if it’s relevant to the task or not.

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NABS

Are we only as good as our last piece of work? Nah.

If so, how good are you?

Can we win?

You’re as good as that great thing you thought of, even if you couldn’t make it.

Depends on what your goal is. Set the goal and then we’ll see.

Are you better at what you do because you work where you work?

A diverse tribe is a strong tribe. Discuss. I hear a lot of resistance to diversity. It’s not surprising as a lot of it seems to be lip-service to blend in / appear current / avoid condemnation in a very volatile time. The reality is diversity is just the world that we see around us (especially if you live somewhere like London). It only means to co-exist, collaborate and exchange with the range of people around you (whether it’s race, gender, sexuality, “tribe”, socioeconomic status or personality type). Diversity just means to not be prejudiced, so really, once you get over your ego, I don’t know what there is left to discuss.

Yes. I’m better at what I do because my environment allows me to be. Every workplace should know that you have to pour into people in order to get great work out of them. A one-way system, where people are expected to create outputs without anything being fed into them, isn’t sustainable. You can’t have people running on empty.

Who was your greatest ever colleague? Katie Parsons.

Why? I’ve never seen anyone take the time to push and nurture someone in the workplace the way that she did for me.

What about them do you bring back into your work and team?

1

It costs nothing to be kind.

3

2

Make space to support those who need it.

Be an example of what you expect to see.

4

5

You can set boundaries if they make you better at doing what you do.

Life and work seep into each other – you have to feed both. 3


how’s work?

Marco Bertozzi VP Head of ad sales Europe at Spotify, 22 yrs in industry

Using only three words, describe work.

When was the last time you laughed at work?

Fun. Challenging. Interesting.

09:32.

Why are you doing what you’re doing?

Crying at work. Discuss.

Pay the bills, work with some bright people, learn stuff I can pass on to others.

Let’s work on the basis that if someone is crying then there is probably a genuine issue. There are always those who say, “oh so and so always cries”, but I would prefer not to take that person as the benchmark. I have found over the years that tears that come about because of something at work, quite often are connected to something outside of work.

Is the best yet to come? Too bloody right! Only two years into my media brand career, long way to go! I did 20 years on agency side so that takes me up until 2036 if I am looking to be balanced.

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NABS

It’s always better to learn about people and what’s happening in their lives. We spend so much time at work that they often blend. What place does emotion have in decision-making?

If so, how good are you? Ask my boss.

The one that comes up most for me is taking a step back and applying human decency, respect and kindness to daily work interactions. I expect for myself and ask my teams to expect a professional, reasonable working relationship. If clients of any sort, shout, swear, blackmail, ask for unreasonable things, I will always call them out. We are all here to do a job, if someone is not doing a good job then feedback is your opportunity. If you throw your weight around or bully, I will turn down any amount of revenue.

Are you better at what you do because you work where you work? I think ‘better’ is always a bit black and white. Let’s take my move from agency to sales. Sales is a vibe business supported by rigour and accountability, but at its heart, I believe one person can change the fortunes of a whole country or region more than on the agency side. I have seen people I have hired do just that.

Can we win? We have to get confident about what we do and talk more about the positives, hence why I started the #loveAds movement. We have to clear up the mess we have made in buying blind, fraudulent impressions, adding margins and eroding trust. We need to focus on good work and getting paid for it. Agencies need to stand up for what they are worth and clients need to pay them. If we can do some of these things, we can win!

Are we only as good as our last piece of work? I have seen people who have done a poor job go on and do great, so I don’t think so. It can often be the case that some people get into the wrong jobs, whether that is environment or style or they were not ready to adapt in a certain way themselves, leadership disagreements and so on. In those cases, if you get the right fit then things can change. That said, if someone is asking me for pay or promotion and they have not delivered on the job to date, then yes, you are only as good as your last piece of work.

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how’s work?

What would be missing from your workplace if you weren’t there?

In what ways is it easy and in what ways is it hard to belong?

Bad whistling.

We have been a team in transition. The spirit has changed from a band of brothers and sisters to a more open, fluid environment where new is welcomed. I hope our team has never been more inclusive than it is today and we plan to stay like that and learn from each other’s differences over creating a closed clique environment.

A diverse tribe is a strong tribe. Discuss. I can talk very personally about that. When I joined Spotify we had a very young, white, female team. It was very homogeneous. I focused on the female ratio and that we were in a good position as people talked equality, but I felt like we needed a change. As I hired for a head of sales, all the candidates were very similar until I met Rak Patel, who came with 1000% energy, smart ideas and a great track record. Rak advocated for diversity from the start. Rak has now been evolving our team to be so much more diverse and interesting and better off for it, in our thinking and atmosphere. I have learned so much from him, and definitely back the idea that

Who was your greatest ever colleague? Curt Hecht, founder of Audience On Demand, arguably the founder of the Agency Trading Desk model.

Why? He taught me to be ambitious about what you go after, to think bigger than what is circulating around your orbit and to learn from others. He sadly passed away very young and his legacy is a lasting one all over the world.

you should hire people who are not like you, in order to learn.

What about them do you bring back into your work and team?

Confidence, ambition and not accepting the status quo. Being prepared to push beyond what seems possible. He was perhaps a little blunt, so might shave those edges a little, but he had no fear. People are just people, deal with them as humans. I have never been in awe of titles and You are aware of and make all that... respectful is fine, but positive connections between not fear or awe. your thoughts, experiences,

SHEPARD

Awareness

responsibilities and the impact of your relationships.

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If work was a movie, what would it be? “The Pursuit of Happyness.”

Steven

Stephanie

CEO of Social Chain Group

Campaign manager at Virgin, NABS Ambassador

“The Boat That Rocked.”

“Most of the time it’s like Joy, occasionally it’s like Groundhog Day.”

Catherine

Industry initiatives manager at IAB UK, NABS Ambassador

“Toy Story: we are a fun, diverse bunch who are guided by a strong sense of what’s right and wrong, who are always going to infinity and beyond!”

Siobhan

“The Wizard of Oz.”

Head of people at m/SIX

Susi

Marketing & communications manager at Primesight, NABS Ambassador

“Can I choose a TV series instead – Friday Night Lights. Partly because Coach Eric Taylor is my hero. He is so quotable: ‘Success is not a goal, it’s a by-product’ and ‘Opportunity does not knock, it presents itself when you beat down the door’ “Falling Down.” are just a couple of my favourites.”

Sarah

Managing director at Gravity Road and co-founder of Amazing If

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Elliot

Head of planning at Starcom


how’s work?

Scott Sallee

Development & career mobilisation manager at Dentsu Aegis Network, NABS Ambassador, 2 yrs in industry Using only three words, describe work.

Is the best yet to come?

Enriching, challenging, exciting.

Yes. I just have a general feeling of optimism, both in terms of our industry but also because of the increased recognition that the importance of mental wellbeing is receiving. I feel like I’m able to share my story and be there for people. I had someone who was there for me when I needed help, so that’s what makes me really hopeful. And now it’s my responsibility to turn around and be that person, if I can, for someone else. And then that care will spread organically through everyone else who has had the good fortune of being helped.

Why are you doing what you’re doing? To develop the potential in myself and others for personal and professional success.

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NABS

When was the last time you laughed at work?

What would be missing from your workplace if you weren’t there?

Daily.

Good humour, drive, can-do-attitude and empathy.

Getting away from your desk. Discuss.

A diverse tribe is a strong tribe. Discuss.

Plan a proper lunch break into your calendar. Say no to meetings. Have catchups outside and walk around. Get face to face and don’t rely on email.

I am really proud that we actually built diversity and inclusion objectives into our KPIs. If you’re not attaching it to your leadership goals then it’s just talk. I have part of those deliverables in my remit, which focuses not only gender diversity but neurodiversity, LGBT+ inclusion and cultural diversity because we want the company to reflect the world.

Crying at work. Discuss. Makes me respect them more if it’s about vulnerability and sharing. Makes me offer them help if they seem fragile.

What place does emotion have in decision-making?

In what ways is it easy and in what ways is it hard to belong?

Essential. Previously when I was in large teams in quite an operational function, (before I moved into HR) I protected myself against any vulnerability by relying on my logical brain but it caused a distance between me and my team. Whereas now I’m realising that I don’t have to be concerned about vulnerability. I can just be happy with myself and I can make decisions and not have it be seen as a weakness or bad management.

It’s hard to belong if you’re not being genuine. It’s hard if you don’t let it happen naturally. It’s easy if you just go along with the crowd at the risk of being self-effacing.

The GP. In a timely fashion or not until you’re at death’s door? Not always in good time. I didn’t reach out to a GP until I had considered suicide very seriously - and I think that that was obviously much too late. That’s why I hope that people can address things more proactively because you don’t want to get to that stage where you’re at the flip of the coin, you don’t want to get to that position before you say, ‘Actually, I need some help.’ So, that’s why I love NABS because they work a lot with resilience and helping people understand what their challenges might be and what they can do to help themselves before they get to a crisis state. There are a lot of charities that help people that are in crisis, but it shouldn’t always have to get there before people reach out for help. That’s why my big campaign now is to destigmatise mental health and say, it’s not something that you have to be ashamed of; it’s something for you to work on proactively.

Just worrying less overall about the perceptions of others has been my journey. Are you better at what you do because you work where you work? Where I work, you’re encouraged to take time for yourself, to speak up when you’re not well. Let’s take care of our people so they can continue doing great work. But I’ve worked in other companies in other industries where they’re like, ‘Stop complaining and work - just get through it.’ It was seen as a weakness but that’s no longer my impression.

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how’s work?

The GP. In a timely fashion or not until you’re at death’s door? “I’d always encourage timely fashion but I’m usually a death’s door kinda guy. This needs to change.”

Will

Co-founder & head of insight at The Elephant Room

“Just as you make time to wash your hands, you should make time to look after your mental wellbeing.”

Scott

Development & career mobilisation manager at Dentsu Aegis Network, NABS Ambassador

“Timely fashion. Leaving it too long can cripple you mentally and physically, whatever the ailment. And you’ll often be better in the long run if you catch it soon enough.”

Susi

Marketing & communications manager at Primesight, NABS Ambassador

“Somewhere in-between. Offices are awash with germs – it’s no surprise we all get ill. It’s hard to keep ahead of.”

“Death’s door.”

Steven

CEO of Social Chain Group

Anon 10


NABS

“Timely fashion. Since having a baby it’s more important than ever to feel the best I can, physically and mentally. Scarily, I now have a little being that relies on me.”

Sarah

Managing director at Gravity Road and co-founder of Amazing If

“Depends on the ailment, but overall I would prefer people went to the doctor as they may just get some good advice that will help. Big fan of not wanting people with colds around me, so stay at home!”

Marco

VP Head of ad sales Europe at Spotify

SHEPARD

Health

“Whenever necessary. I would not sacrifice my health for work.”

Anon

You believe yourself to be, and are in a state of wellness; in mind, body and spirit.

“I don’t really make time to go to the doctor. I would for sure encourage employees to go if they are concerned about their health. In practice, for myself, I leave it until the last minute.”

Stephanie “I used to wait until I was at death’s door until I learnt that there’s no real reason to visit it (death’s door).”

Campaign manager at Virgin, NABS Ambassador

Caroline Social media & content manager at Lucky Generals

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how’s work?

Sarah Ellis

Managing director at Gravity Road and co-founder of Amazing If, 17 yrs in industry Using only three words, describe work.

When was the last time you laughed at work?

Work-in-progress.

Yesterday. I was in a pitch meeting and we were sharing a documentary which we recently made with Channel 4 for Uber. There’s one episode featuring the Manchester United players figuring out if they know the price of milk… always makes me chuckle.

Is the best yet to come? I hope so as there are a lot of things that I want to change! The gender pay gap, the adoption of flexible working and organisational inclusiveness to name but a few.

Getting away from your desk. Discuss. Essential. Curiosity and ideas don’t happen at your desk.

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Crying at work. Discuss.

Does the reward reflect the work put in?

It happens to the best of us, and usually because we care. In these moments I turn to my confidence support ‘speed dial’, a small group of people who I know will give me a boost, ask the right questions and help me get back on track. I’m new to the agency world and have found existing or previous agency leaders incredibly supportive: Lisa Thomas, Kerry Glazer and Rachel Forde are just a few of the incredibly generous people who have been there when I needed a pat on the back, a hug or a gentle push in the right direction.

Sometimes. There are some industry norms that are entrenched but you would never design them that way. Pitching is the obvious example where the business model doesn’t always feel equitable or the best way to deliver brilliant creative work. There’s no easy answer (or someone would have solved it by now) but I am convinced that, as agencies, we need to create an approach that works for us rather than expecting clients to change or do the hard work on our behalf.

A diverse tribe is a strong tribe. Discuss. It’s not a discussion, it’s a fact. McKinsey’s ‘Why Diversity Matters’ study of over 1,000 companies in 12 countries demonstrated that companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity are 33% more likely to have above average profitability, and the same goes for gender diversity.

What place does emotion have in decision-making? Emotions and feelings are not a bad thing, but they often influence our thinking subconsciously. At their worst, they overtake the rational part of our brain which works with facts to make informed decisions. Being emotionally intelligent is something different and means having things like empathy and self-awareness which, in my view, count for more than your IQ.

In what ways is it easy and in what ways is it hard to belong? I’m an introvert, who rarely drinks alcohol, has an 18-month-old son who continues to wage an anti-sleep campaign and my idea of heaven is a night in reading.

Are we only as good as our last piece of work?

I was worried that I wouldn’t ‘belong’ in an agency, fearing I wasn’t cool enough, fun enough, maybe even young enough.

No. That doesn’t feel right to me. “What was the last mistake you made at work and what did you learn?” feels like a better question to me.

Who was your greatest ever colleague? Helen Tupper is my greatest ever colleague and she’s my co-founder at Amazing If.

But these things don’t equal belonging. Belonging is feeling like I can be myself at work and be recognised for the value I add. These two things don’t happen overnight but over the past nine months I feel like I’ve made some progress (and had a few steps back along the way) but I’m getting there.

Why? My work is made better by Helen. She motivates, challenges and cares about me. We met at university 17 years ago and started Amazing If together in 2013 as a passion project. Helen is now working full time on Amazing If and it’s inspiring to be part of her journey as she leads our business into the future.

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how’s work?

Will de Groot

Co-founder & head of insight at The Elephant Room, 5 yrs in industry Using only three words, describe work.

Is the best yet to come?

Just be kind.

Oh, absolutely.

Why are you doing what you’re doing?

When was the last time you laughed at work?

I think right now there’s a real opportunity to redefine the industry, its culture, its working practices and outputs. There’s a lot that’s changing and that we stand to change. That keeps me excited. My role in insight and research means I get to talk to people from all kinds of backgrounds and perspectives. It keeps me inspired and it keeps me humble.

When my colleague showed me her brother’s Instagram and questioned his choice of poses.

Getting away from your desk. Discuss. Absolute must. A change of scene keeps things fresh.

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Crying at work. Discuss. I think just let it out. I’d rather work with human beings.

SHEPARD

What place does emotion have in decision-making?

Emotions

I think people (men of a certain generation) resist emotion in decision-making (and in business generally) which I’ve always found quite curious.

You have an ability to regulate your emotions and feelings in a constructive and meaningful way.

It strikes me as stunted and I don’t understand why emotion is feared. In my research role, empathy is crucial without it, I wouldn’t be able to do my job. I’d like people to stop framing emotion as an undesirable quality. Again, I just want to work with humans.

Does the reward reflect the work put in?

Who was your greatest ever colleague?

Reward comes in many ways. I love seeing the growth of young people I’ve either mentored or worked with over the past few years; that’s the most rewarding thing.

Oh this is tough. What is greatness? I tend to think of it as people who have left a positive impact on me, my own growth and development. Impossible to pick just one so I’d say... Lianre Robinson, Mo Saha, Florence Wilkinson, Stephanie Bell, Kerry Poulson, Shannie Mears.

Can we win? Already winning pal.

A diverse tribe is a strong tribe. Discuss. Yes, I think that’s a given, but it’s also about allowing people to thrive in diverse environments and creating the right conditions for that to happen. Often people at the top don’t actually have an intuitive sense of what’s required to enable that, and are too afraid to allow other people to lead. I think that has to be one of the biggest lessons a leader in this day and age should take - that you might not always know and that that’s okay.

Why? All of them are inspiring women who are unapologetically brilliant at what they do. I’ve learned so much working both under and alongside them. I count myself very lucky.

What about them do you bring back into your work and team?

Creativity Drive

In what ways is it easy and in what ways is it hard to belong?

Empathy

It’s easy to belong when you’re not made aware of your own difference. It’s hard to belong when people are constantly pointing it out, knowingly or otherwise.

Kindness Consideration Thoughtfulness Focus

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how’s work?

Steven Bartlett CEO of Social Chain Group, 4 yrs in industry

Using only three words, describe work.

Getting away from your desk. Discuss.

Enjoyable, exciting, unpredictable.

To me, this means quality face-to-face time with my colleagues or it means isolation and focus because I rarely get much done at my desk.

Why are you doing what you’re doing?. To change lives, to change an industry and ultimately to change the world.

What place does emotion have in decision-making?

Is the best yet to come? Of course.

I try to keep emotion and ego out of decision making. But sometimes you have to make decisions based on what you consider the right thing to do for someone, as opposed to the right thing to do for profits.

When was the last time you laughed at work? Every single day for the last four years.

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NABS

Are you better at what you do because you work where you work?

A diverse tribe is a strong tribe. Discuss. The more world views, life experiences and opinions within a tribe; the more capable the tribe are at handling, understanding and navigating through the jungle.

In terms of the office environment, and the people around me, I would say definitely yes.

Who was your greatest ever colleague? I work with him now. Oliver Yonchev.

Why?

He has the perfect balance of talent, humility, emotional intelligence, hard work, empathy, and calm.

In what ways is it easy and in what ways is it hard to belong? Sometimes belonging means compromising who you are, what you believe and what makes you happy. However, it’s less risky to belong, belonging brings security and togetherness.

What about them do you bring back into your work and team? He’s taught me how important it is to respond logically and not react emotionally.

What would be missing from your workplace if you weren’t there?

Clear personality, clear vision, optimism, direction and growth.

SHEPARD

Satisfaction You have a feeling of contentment assessing your life as being filled with opportunity, potential, meaning and purpose.

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how’s work?

Susi Castle

Marketing & communications manager at Primesight, NABS Ambassador, 4 yrs in industry Using only three words, describe work.

What place does emotion have in decision-making?

Fulfilling, fascinating, challenging.

I think it has a good place... but only if you have a mix of people. If all of you are very tapped into emotions and leave no room for rational or logical thought then you’re in trouble. I think the emotional side can bring out a lot of empathy which is important when considering the repercussions of big business decisions. Redundancy might be the best thing for everyone involved, but emotion can help remind you that these are going to be very painful circumstances for those affected and that you need to treat them as human beings, not numbers.

Why are you doing what you’re doing? Because our industry shapes society.

Getting away from your desk. Discuss. Every single lunchtime. And as often as possible any other time too. Presenteeism needs to go do one.

Crying at work. Discuss. Frustrating. It’s so common as a woman to cry out of anger when you wish you could just punch someone instead.

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Are we only as good as our last piece of work?

Who was your greatest ever colleague?

Sure. If you only believe in short-termism and people as commodities. This reminds me of the idea of writer’s block. I don’t believe it really exists, but if you think it does then the reason you’re only as good as your last piece of work is that your creativity is finite and can run out and your last project was the final one. Our lives (both professional and personal) are a journey. If you only see people and their work as successes and failures then you miss the nuanced growth in-between.

James.

Why? He was excellent at his job. He was so imbued with self-confidence, poise, composure and self-worth that he just didn’t let the f***ers get him down. Total inspiration. I hope one day to be as filled with a deep appreciation of my inherent worth as he was.

What about them do you bring back into your work and team?

If so, how good are you?

I think he was the first person to really make me realise that often it’s the environment that’s crazy, not you. I try to stand up for myself and others more now.

Simultaneously excellent and terrible.

Are you better at what you do because you work where you work? Yes. I’ve got a great boss who challenges and supports me and brings out the best in me (and our whole team). I have flexitime (so feel trusted and empowered) and work with wonderful people. I feel safe here and that gives me room to grow.

Does the reward reflect the work put in? Sometimes the work itself is its own reward.

Can we win?

Fear never brought out the best in me and some of the bad work environments I’ve been in previously weren’t a life lesson - they were a few steps away from mental breakdown.

To win, don’t there have to be losers? Everything doesn’t have to be a zerosum game.

What would be missing from your workplace if you weren’t there? Enthusiasm. Wit. Change.

In what ways is it easy and in what ways is it hard to belong? I think there is a very easy sense of belonging that comes with behaving in the wrong way. A bunch of you gather together and bitch about someone or something... you’re all in agreement; it’s instant belonging. True belonging is hard because it takes a lot more work - work on yourself and others. You have to be comfortable with all of your own eccentricities in a way that makes you appreciate them in others.

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how’s work?

A diverse tribe is a strong tribe. Discuss. Do they have to be tribes? Some of what we’re missing in our debate is that our problems are based on systems of power and vested interests. I think Naomi Alderman’s The Power sums this up brilliantly - as does research that shows being powerful makes you less empathetic.

The rewards will be incredible for those who truly deliver on diversity but those who are just talking the talk and not walking the walk are eroding so much trust and belief and showing themselves to be false. A great saying I heard a while ago is to “look around the table and think about who should be in the room who isn’t.” It might well be that you need to give up your seat to get them there. Are we able to make the sacrifices necessary for that? I’m not sure enough of us are selfless enough to get there. But I hope we are.

In-group/out-group mentality is responsible for a lot of our issues. So, is diversity a strength? Does it improve our work? Hell yes.

Unfortunately, with there being so many opponents to true diversity, our debates become awfully simplistic and we’re not allowed to have a rigorous discussion on the difficulties too. I don’t mean that You have varied positive bullsh** that gets trotted relationships, creating a sense of out like ‘ugh, this is all just learning, belonging, community, a witch hunt’ etc. All of that social acceptance and trust. is tiresome and misogynistic.

SHEPARD

Diversity

We need to think carefully about how to manage unintended consequences and introduce diversity and inclusion that truly lasts. For all of those senior people patting themselves on the back because they’ve just hired a junior member of staff who is BAME or LGBT, they need to realise that they’ve got a long, long way to go.

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NABS

What we asked... Using only three words, describe work. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Is the best yet to come? When was the last time you laughed at work? Getting away from your desk. Discuss. The GP. In a timely fashion or not until you’re at death’s door? Crying at work. Discuss. What place does emotion Is “work you” a better have in decision-making? version of you or a worse version of you? Are we only as good as our last piece of work? If so, how good are you?

Are you better at what you do because you work where you work?

Who was your greatest ever colleague? Why? What about them do you bring back into your work and team? Does the reward reflect Can we win? the work put in? What would be missing from your workplace if you weren’t there? If work was a movie, what movie would it be?

A diverse tribe is a strong tribe. Discuss. In what ways is it easy and in what ways is it hard to belong? 21


how’s work?

Stephanie Matthews Campaign manager at Virgin, NABS Ambassador, 10+ yrs in industry

Using only three words, describe work.

Is the best yet to come?

Fun, challenging, exciting.

Absolutely. I’m fairly new at Virgin so I know that the best is definitely yet to come. I’ve got more to offer Virgin and they’ve got more to offer me.

Why are you doing what you’re doing? Because I love what I do and the brand I work for. My values completely align with the Virgin family values - adventure, passion and creativity. It’s an exciting place to work as it’s constantly changing as the business grows its footprint in different industries and markets. It’s going into space FFS!

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NABS

SHEPARD

When was the last time you laughed at work?

Rewards

Today. I tend to laugh every day.

Getting away from your desk. Discuss. Need more of it. Productivity not presenteeism. I think there’s sometimes a view that you need to be at your desk, Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, because that’s the way it’s always been done. For me, I like variety – I want to be inspired by different people and environments. Trust me to deliver my outputs and hold me accountable if I don’t. I think a lot of older, established businesses are having to adapt to new ways of working to attract and retain talent. The next generation coming through are even more sceptical of the typical 9 to 5 routine, at the same desk, for one employer. Plus, there’s a danger of losing talent once they become parents, if there’s no flexibility.

Crying at work. Discuss. I barely cry at home, let alone work – much to my partner’s dismay. However, I do respect bringing emotion into the workplace - it’s often a way to show you care about what you do. I’d rather have passion than apathy.

What place does emotion have in decision-making? I couldn’t function without emotion, it’s in my DNA. However, my decisions are always grounded in facts.

Are you better at what you do because you work where you work? Yes, because there’s a total value alignment with Virgin. I believe in their products, their purpose and what they’re trying to achieve. Being able to relate to the product and the brand is key because I put so much of my time and effort into it, so I really have to believe in it 110%.

You feel financially secure and empowered, with a perceived sense of status and purpose.

Does the reward reflect the work put in? I could always do with a bigger pay packet Richard... However, outside of monetary reward, Virgin’s purpose is about changing business for good. For me, this is a real motivator and reward. I’m working for a corporation with genuine purpose at the core of what it does and a desire to disrupt the market.

A diverse tribe is a strong tribe. Discuss. Absolutely.

If we all thought the same, how dull would our ideas be? I think diversity is essential and something we should be ensuring as a mandatory in all our teams. That’s diversity across all ends of the spectrum – race, gender, sexuality, neurodiversity, disability, class and age. There’s real strength and business profitability in ensuring it’s baked into the business.

In what ways is it easy and in what ways is it hard to belong? We need it to feel connected and a sense of purpose in what we do. Sometimes it can feel hard to belong in a traditional corporate environment as a gay, brown, working class woman. However, it’s easy to belong in the immediate team, as that’s a subculture of its own.

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how’s work?

Is “work you” a better or a worse version of you? “I am basically the same in and out of work. I talk straight, I am a doer, I like to have a laugh, I like to get sh** done and feel like I am progressing. I probably use more baby voices at home with my dog and son than you might see or hear at work!”

Marco VP Head of ad sales Europe at Spotify

SHEPARD

Perceptions

“I don’t like to compare too much as I’m the same person. I just think “work me” has the advantage of one set role, so there are clearer boundaries, routes, confines and outcomes than there are in my life outside of work.”

You have positive perceptions in relation to yourself and your environment.

Caroline Social media & content manager at Lucky Generals

“I’d like to think better. At work, I certainly aspire to be the same Steph you’d see at home. That’s important to me.”

Stephanie

Campaign manager at Virgin, NABS Ambassador

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NABS

“Better. For me, I just feel a lot more organised and I have a great sense of purpose because I like what I do so much. I love helping people be the best version of themselves. For years, I attached my identity to my status at work, which I now realise was meaningless. It was not a very healthy way of approaching things.”

Scott

Development & career mobilisation manager at Dentsu Aegis Network, NABS Ambassador

“It’s the same me – the best and the worst bits.”

Sarah

Managing director at Gravity Road and Co-founder of Amazing If

“In the past, “work me” has definitely been a worse version of myself. I’ve had to dial down certain parts of who I am, which in the end just made me really unhappy. It’s not worth it. If you feel like you have to do that in your place of work, then it’s not the right place for you. Move on. Simple as that.”

Will

Co-founder & head of insight at The Elephant Room

“Work is me.”

Steven

CEO of Social Chain Group

“It’s just a different version. I like the sentiment behind bringing your whole self to work but that just doesn’t suit everyone. I think some people like keeping their work and personal lives very separate.”

Susi

Marketing & communications manager at Primesight, NABS Ambassador

25


how’s work?

Dear reader, Perhaps something you read here nudged something into focus… a difficult work situation… and now you’re wondering what to do next? Perhaps work is not so easy right now. Perhaps it feels like it’s all getting a bit much. Or perhaps, all in all, work is pretty good. Perhaps reading this reminded you that our ups and downs often share similar shapes and that work offers more, for the most part, than it takes. However work is for you, right now, NABS is here. And there’s lots we could be doing for you. We can give you confidential advice on anything from stress, to maternity and paternity matters, to money management. We can step in, in a crisis. We can provide support, guidance and a friendly ear when you need it. Or if you need extra help overcoming life’s challenges, we can refer you for cognitive behavioural therapy. And because we are a charity, this is free to you if you work in advertising or media.

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NABS

We provide coaching to help you take your next step forward with confidence. You could join one of our networks and tap into support from a bigger community. You can attend a talk or Masterclass that would give you an idea or a set of tools to change how work is, for yourself and others around you. You could become a NABS Ambassador and spread the word, to help people find out what we could be doing for them. You could start by asking someone:

How’s work? Really? Or you could simply ask yourself. Either way, make a little time to listen.

#howswork nabs.org.uk

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how’s work?

Call our Advice Line 0800 707 6607 Or visit our website to take that first step to get help. nabs.org.uk

Share your thoughts #howswork Twitter @NABS_UK Instagram @nabs_uk Facebook @NABSUK

Registered charity number 1070556




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