See Why Ditching the Work/Life Balance Mantra Worked for This Editor
If, like me, you consider yourself a driven (but sometimes discouraged) career-oriented being, who often looks to those ahead in their professional journeys for sage advice and pockets of wisdom, you’ve come to the right place.
Introducing, Jerico Mandybur. She’s an Australian journalist who’s cut her teeth at renowned media institutions such as Oyster, NITV, Mashable, and more recently—after a LinkedIn message from the original #girlboss herself, Sophia Amoruso—got the call to pack her bags and head to US to take up residency as the Editorial Director for Amoruso’s latest online venture, Girlboss.
And if, like me, (you can probably sense a theme brewing) you’re all for seeing women dominate their field of influence but also like to see the whole picture (not just their most glamorous 'grams) of someone’s journey up the professional ladder, you’ve still come to the right place. Consider this your one-on-one sit down with an editorial mentor who has seen and achieved an impressive resume, and by the looks of it, isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
Grab a cup of tea and get comfortable because there are some real gems in here. Keep scrolling.
MYDOMAINE AUSTRALIA: You’ve cultivated such a strong career for yourself, did you always see yourself within the journalism sphere?
JERICO MANDYBUR: Not really! I always loved writing and reading, but I wasn’t outstanding academically. I pursued journalism because I was motivated to do something that would let me question everything, fight for the underdog, rant about shit I loved, and afford rent at the same time. Plus, it seemed welcoming to weirdos.
MD: You recently relocated to the US to help build the Girlboss empire, how did that opportunity come about?
JM: Sophia [Amoruso] messaged me on LinkedIn and said “Join me at Girlboss Media!” I was like, she must have been hacked. Jokes. She had reached out to me a few years back, when I was at Oyster magazine and she was at Nasty Gal. It didn’t work out, but this time, it did.
MD: What have you learnt so far from Amoruso?
JM: A lot. That being yourself is your greatest asset, in work and in life. If I wasn’t such a bleeding heart weirdo with a kind of unique work history, someone like Sophia wouldn’t have noticed me, and reached out. The team at Girlboss are all so excited to be there, and they each bring something different and amazing to the mix. Sophia’s got a real gift for “finding her people,” so that’s been cool to watch. Also, just not compromising your voice, or putting horse blinkers on your vision.
MD: What do you think some of the biggest obstacles are for women pursuing a career in the media industry at the moment?
JM: I think there are a lot more obstacles for Indigenous women, women of colour, trans and queer women, and women with disabilities, than there are for highly educated, white cis women in media. That said, all women do face some shared obstacles in establishing themselves in the industry. Namely, the prevailing cultural norm that a straight white male with perfect pronunciation is the arbiter of objective discussion and “rational debate.” Which effects the discussions we’re having in the media and the terms of those discussions.
MD: Have you also noticed any exciting opportunities?
JM: The internet as a whole is an exciting opportunity for women in media. There’s a greater diversity of publications than ever, and thank Goddess for Australia’s public broadcasters who allow people to tell their own stories in their own way (shout out to my former workplace, NITV.) The potential to create your own platforms and gather with like-minded people on social media is incredible. Women have formed communities online that are so powerful, that “mainstream” publications are having to listen.
The potential to create your own platforms and gather with like-minded people on social media is incredible.
MD: How did you find and build a voice of authority and authenticity within your career?
JM: For the most part, I’ve been lucky enough to only work for publications where I’m the key demographic, so my natural “voice” has been valued. I haven’t thought about it too much, but I guess I started off my career determined to “be myself” in my writing and presentation from day one. After a while, if people are picking up what you’re putting down, they’ll come to you.
MD: How do you manage work/life balance? With an exploding inbox at what point do you call it a day and go home?
JM: At least for me, work/life balance is a bit of a myth. It seems so ’80s to talk about work and life as separate things, in the age of working from home, Slack, email alerts, round-the-clock news and social media, etc. I think it’s better to incorporate self-care into your day holistically, rather than thinking of it as separate from work. I’m obsessed with flagging, filing and straight up deleting emails, so that’s my “clean as you go” style of organisation there. I don’t think journalists are the best yardsticks for advice when it comes to knowing when to go home though!
MD: You have a passion for healing and self-care, how have you incorporated this into a demanding career? And has it meant putting boundaries up in both your professional and personal life?
JM: Boundaries are important, but again, I think especially in some industries, the work/life balance thing is a myth. For me, the internet and the news cycle never sleeps, so I accept it as part of my life. So rather than time-based boundaries, I try to look after myself in small ways every day. I meditate, listen to podcasts (subscribe to Girlboss Radio please), read tarot, do reiki on myself, and listen to cathartic music. Plus, watch YouTube videos. I also get a Thai massage at least once a month because they’re cheap and amazing.
Rather than time-based boundaries, I try to look after myself in small ways every day.
MD: What are some of your favourite productivity hacks you’ve learned along the way?
JM: The above self-care stuff doesn’t seem “productive” but it gives me the imaginative fuel to keep going every day. Without accounting for daydream time, I’d be less productive. So, a 10-minute astrology video every day is more helpful than it seems. My best advice is find your own work style and you’ll naturally become more productive. I stay organised by writing everything down in a notebook. Some people might think lists, paper diaries, and dictaphones are old-school, but they work for me. Also, there’s an app for everything.
MD: When it comes to carving out a career that you want, what do you think some of the biggest sacrifices have been for you?
JM: I guess my social life has suffered from working as much as I do—on the weekends, I usually want to do cute, relaxing things, over high-energy things ’cause I’m buggered. And as a chronic migraine sufferer, I usually come down with one at the end of the week. But that’s only served to show me the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to substantial friendships. And the importance of looking after yourself!
MD: What do you hope to achieve at Girlboss?
JM: I want to reach the people who’ll get the most out of it. We have an incredible global community but I know there’s so many young women and femmes out there who’d enjoy and hopefully benefit from what we’re trying to do. Which is basically to help readers be the best version of themselves. To love themselves more. To look after themselves. To dream really big, embrace ambition, and speak up about who they are and what they believe in. To give them shame-free, radically inclusive, truly genuine advice (from experts, as well as people like them) on how to do just that.
MD: What’s the biggest lessons you’ve learned from your career thus far?
JM: I don’t want to sound cynical, but I’ve learned that people will judge you. You have to learn not to care what negative people think, and trust yourself. Also, be nice to people and really mean it. Don’t presume anything. Lead by example when it comes to how you’d like to be treated. Work your arse off, but know that it doesn’t guarantee anything. Have a hobby!