Ep 03. Juggling Work & School: The 007 Lifestyle

April 2, 2024

Briefing In is back with our 3rd episode! This time we’re talking double life stuff with Den, a part-time VA and full time Communications and Media student. Den gets candid about what it’s like to live the 007 lifestyle, and if it really is possible to have the best of both worlds. 

There’s so much more than meets the eye when it comes to balancing different priorities in life, as Den shares her insights into the daily intricacies of being a VA, discussing the excitement of stepping into this dynamic role and getting real about the sacrifices that she’s had to make, demystifying the glamorized aspects of remote work. We also do an IG Q&A segment, where Den shares tips and advice on how to balance both professional and personal lives. Listen to an enriching conversation with Den!

The Challenges and Rewards of Being a Student and Part-Time VA

In the podcast, Den shares her journey of juggling her studies and part-time work as a virtual assistant (VA). She emphasizes the importance of setting boundaries and not overcommitting, a crucial lesson for anyone trying to balance multiple responsibilities.

Den: It was the pandemic, so I did not have a study allowance, and I wanted to work for myself. I wanted to earn and provide for the things that I want. So, I think when I started, that was the most exciting thing I  was looking forward to having.

I think when the pandemic happened, you know, our generation kind of found a place in the online space because, well, for one thing, we had more time on our hands than we knew what to do with. And almost all of our entire lives suddenly became social media and the internet because what else were we to do outside of our homes?

Chelsea: So, do you think, Dan, that if it wasn’t for the pandemic, if that hadn’t happened, you would never have considered working part-time from home?

Den: I think that with or without the pandemic, I would still have considered working because at that point, in time in my college education. I will give you a little bit of context. I transferred from a medical program to an arts program. So it is, it was a big shift and it was an adjustment for me. So I found myself with a very loose schedule.

So I realized that I wanted to be productive and use my time wisely to do something again, more productive and something that would help me also to earn money. And the opportunity of working in wedding workflows was there. 

The Reality of Work-from-Home Routines

Den demystifies the often-romanticized view of work-from-home jobs, pointing out that not every day can follow a perfect routine. She notes the unrealistic expectations set by social media:

Den: I think for me, especially again, because when I started working, it was work from home. The work-from-home setup and the work-from-home routines of people are all over the internet, especially on TikTok and Instagram. You know, when there is a timestamp for their routine before work. They wake up at 7:00 AM to meditate or to go on a run, cook breakfast at 8:00 AM and then start working at 9:00 AM. Sometimes before I started working, I kind of never, you know, expected that to be my life also.

Den emphasizes that flexibility and self-compassion are key. She shares:

Den: But I realized that sometimes you just can’t keep up with a routine and days are not going to be the same. You’re going to be different. Especially as a student, sometimes you are cramming your thesis paper because it’s due tomorrow at 8 a.m. And then there are some days that you just want to rest. You just want to close your eyes before you work.”

Advice for Students Considering Part-Time Work

Den offers practical advice for students contemplating part-time work. She stresses the importance of not overextending oneself and the value of rest:

Den: Don’t bite more than you can chew. That’s one of the things that when I first started working, I tried to limit myself because it’s so easy to dissolve the boundaries between school and work. You know, like when you’re working, you do a little bit of school tasks and that’s unfair for your clients and unfair for your teachers at school who will be grading you and your performance. So don’t bite more than you can chew.”

Den also speaks about maintaining a healthy work-life balance and the importance of taking breaks to prevent burnout:

Den: Learn how to take a break. And that is, again, something that Ate Tine (WW Human Resource Head) would always remind us, especially because I’m in the night shift, that it’s kind of difficult to identify like, when do I take a break? And she would always insist that you have to take your break. You have to take a break.”

Conclusion

This episode of Briefing In offers valuable insights into the realities of balancing school and part-time work. Den’s experiences highlight the importance of setting boundaries, managing expectations, and prioritizing self-care. For students considering taking up part-time jobs, her advice serves as a practical guide to navigating the challenges and reaping the rewards of this dual commitment. Whether you’re a student already working or thinking about starting, Den’s journey provides inspiration and lessons that can help you succeed in both your academic and professional endeavors.

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