Q&A

Q&A with April Claborn: The Truth About Work/Life Balance

April joins us for this Q&A from our newest office location in Atlanta! April joined Clarity in 2018 and is an Account Executive. A big part of her role is getting the Clarity name out there now that we’re up and running in the Empire State of the South ー the job market is booming in Atlanta! April has a unique background in account management and sales across a variety of industries including beauty, fashion, and promotional marketing. After building a career she was passionate about, April took time off to dedicate herself fully to her family for several years. Being away from the workforce didn’t squelch her desire to have a professional life, however. Upon deciding to re-enter the professional workforce, she took on a new mentality. Happiness isn’t simply about finding the right work-life balance, because often times “balance” isn’t realistically possible. What she has sought out this time around are the secrets to a seamless work-life integration. She’s going to tell us more about what this integration looks like, and how she has created a new lifestyle where she is able to uphold personal and professional commitments in her world without sacrificing happiness, or the quality of her engagements on either side.

Communications Team: Thanks for talking to us today, April! To get started, can you tell us a little bit more about your background and how your professional path led you toward Clarity?

April: I started out my career in retail management in the cosmetic industry.  After many years of success I decided to take some time off to focus on my family.  I loved the time I had at home raising my boys, but reached a point where I knew it was time to get back out there and integrate my family focus with my career focus. I knew I wanted to start on a path where I could be as intentional at work as I was at home.  Meaning, I loved doing things that helped others grow and become the best version of themselves ー I can honestly say that being a dedicated mother taught me how to do this really well, and refine these skills in a well-rounded way I could apply to all areas of my life.  I was ready to extend that outside the home again. Upon re-entering the workforce, I joined a promotional marketing agency as an Account Executive. This was a great way to re-acclimate to the workforce given my familiarity with the responsibilities, but that elevated level of helping people still wasn’t really there for me. I knew I had to look elsewhere. I ended up discovering Clarity through a search on Linkedin, and after my very first conversations with the Team I knew the culture the recruiter I was working with described would be the perfect  fit for me. I felt inspired by the work she described, and I wanted to transition into this field because I felt the bottom line of this business aligned directly with my goals. This business is rooted in it developing meaningful relationships and building strong teams for clients; recruiting is about fostering growth, and creating opportunity for people. Given my strengths in relationship management that I had built earlier in my career, I felt well suited to dive right in, and thankfully the feeling was mutual!

Communications Team: The timing is right! Atlanta is a hotbed for hiring right now! From established firms to startups, the city is booming. What are your favorite things about Atlanta as a city?

April: There are so many things I love about ATL!!  I love being in a big city that has a small town feel (relatively speaking, anyway!).  In my experience, ATL has this feel on both sides of the spectrum. In my personal life, I know I can call upon a neighbor if I need anything, and also gather together with my community for a Saturday football game ー we’re all in it together! From a professional standpoint, it has the same feel too, believe it or not! People enjoy working hard, but they also enjoy supporting each other and getting to know one another’s interests and what they’re doing over the weekend ー at least in my personal experience. We have access to so many cool places down here whether it be a short drive away to the wineries or an afternoon downtown. Prioritizing relationship development makes for familial vibes at a lot of companies, which result in great workplace cultures.  Now that I get to pitch new business and network with companies as part of my job, it’s more clear than ever that Southern hospitality and care really come through in so many corporate settings here ー I love learning about as many as I can daily! Maybe there’s something to be said for the fact that we usually have great weather too… I don’t want to hex anything because we definitely got some crazy snow last year, but I know we have it just a little bit better than our friends up in our New York HQ!

Communications Team: It sounds like you’ve been through a thorough evolution in terms of how you think about work-life balance. Is it even possible?

April: I feel work-life balance isn’t really possible, and the smartest way of thinking about that concept is by trying to optimize for a positive work-life integration. I think it begins with loving what you do and who you work for. As I’ve gained more life experience, I realized I never want to work for someone who forces me to choose one over the other ー meaning, I could either be happy and successful at home, or at work. Now that I work for a company that’s given me the tools to be engage fully in both, the integration actually makes life better!  When you have that happiness at home and at work it seems much easier to realistically intertwine the two and be great at both. We all put so much pressure on ourselves to find the perfect balance. By recognizing that I could find an environment that didn’t make me have to choose which side I could be happy on really helped reduce the pressure I put on myself in turn, so I was able to change the way I think about it all. This helped me find a new strategy to be the best version of me, and I think I’m getting closer every day! Coupled with open communication with my manager, a policy around working from home as needed, and technology that keeps my team connected all across the country, I feel well equipped to do well in all areas of my life without letting anyone down.

Communications Team: That makes so much sense! It’s about time we stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to find the perfect “balance”, and start accepting and optimizing the integration of the two. What are your top tips to integrate work and life without dropping the ball on one side?

April: I have found communication to be a vital part of integrating the two. It is the real key to making it seamless, so definitely keep that in mind! If I know one of my children has a major event, I plan in advance to take the day off. If I need to work from home to handle something or be in the office late, I communicate these things in advance to all parties involved so that the expectations are clear and it all works out. I also have pushed myself to accept my personal reality. We are all only human and it’s impossible to be at two places at the same time ー by accepting this and not pretending I can do it all (or split myself equally in 7 directions), I’ve actually become more productive. Knowing and accepting  that it may not always be possible to give 100% and go above and beyond in every area has been a huge factor. I have to take care of myself and prioritize what really matters, and what is expected of me. This time around, I’m focusing on just that, and not letting guilt or pressure get the best of me! When I get run down, I try to make time to take care of myself.  Also, we are so fortunate for technology to be what it is today ー this has truly transformed my professional life in ways I never imagined 10 years ago. It is important to learn the most useful programs to help you keep those priorities aligned and the expectations clear, on all sides of the table.

Communications Team: What was the key factor that helped you realize these things?

April: Being a parent has truly helped me realize that everything can be integrated with a little bit of agility and flexibility.  We all wear many hats throughout the day and we just have to manage and prioritize it all, and make adjustments all day long. This is a choice, day in and day out.  Don’t get me wrong… as a parent as well as in our careers we all make mistakes, and no one is exempt from that, but we have to learn from those and know how to pick ourselves up. Commit to learning lessons and growth, and shifting your focus back to where it needs to be ー this is the key! This makes us better suited to handle any challenge that comes our way. While I was away from the workforce I realized I applied a strategic way of thinking and planning to my personal life, a lot of which I learned at work. Now that I’m back at work, I get to do it in new ways, all the while applying the lessons I learned as a mom in anticipating the needs of others and taking care of them. Embrace the evolution of yourself, be honest about it, and you will go far!

Communications Team:  Thank you, April ー you have made such great points! Good-bye “work/life balance” and hello, “work/life integration”!

If you’re seeking work, or looking to build your team in Atlanta, shoot April an email! April@claritystaffing.com