Theodora Lau
Aug 21, 2017

Agency life or life passions? Why not both

Theodora Lau, WE Communications exec and bona fide music artist, on how it’s possible to have a PR day job and a life outside it.

Theodora Lau
Theodora Lau

It’s not impossible to hold down a full-time job and reach number one on Spotify’s Singapore Viral 50. Everything is possible if you have the right dedication and mindset.

Everyone says that finding the perfect work/life balance is tough. Work requires you to keep up with a fast-paced environment of long hours and tight deadlines. Life often becomes what fills in the gaps.

If you’re not careful, you can get so carried away with your performance in the office that you lose sight of what makes you feel alive.

In August 2016, I joined WE as an intern—fresh from one of Singapore’s polytechnic universities—and immediately found myself working on one of the agency’s biggest digital accounts.

My life switched up a gear, and I began to understand the complexities of balancing work on the one hand, and passions on the other. I underwent a lot of firsts over the next six months.

Jumping right in at the deep end, I learnt the PR ropes from the ground up. With guidance from my team, I worked as hard as I could, growing from an inexperienced, hesitant intern to an account coordinator.

But I soon realised something was missing. Though I was really enjoying life at WE, I was spending so much time concentrating on my work that I had forgotten to find balance. So I took a step back.

Before starting at WE, music played a huge role in my life. It was a language I understood and an outlet to articulate my thoughts and feelings.

After six months with WE, I realised I could never stop creating in the language innate to me. Music brought me stillness and respite amidst the whirlwind of work. This is why at a point when I felt my life was most stretched, I made the inconvenient decision to return to music.

That’s how I managed to release my single JULY.

The journey to JULY encompassed months of physical, emotional, and mental strain—all of which were totally worth it. I remember one night I left the office at 6 pm to rush to the recording studio for a slot that cut off at 8 pm, only to be called back to the office immediately after the session to help with a client crisis.

I had also made the decision to invest two full months’ salary into paying for studio sessions, a conscious decision to forego lunch with colleagues or daily coffees.

The thinking behind pursuing music on top of my full-time job was simple: I was not willing to sacrifice what is most important to me, so I did everything I could to meet my work and my passion in the middle.

What began as self-indulgence eventually added more insight and value to my life than I had ever anticipated. In turn, it grew my perspective towards the work I do at WE.

The guidance I received as an intern and account coordinator equipped me with the smarts to manage the entire production and release process independently. My colleagues and team also offered insights and solutions when I was faced with challenges or dilemmas during the release process.

Beyond the skillsets imparted, the attitudes I picked up were equally valuable. The work ethic of both the WE and JULY teams proved the value of a collaborative approach and how essential each member is to reach the end point.

Through the production of the music video, I realised how the person in charge of logistics is just as valuable as the director of talent. In Formula 1, the drivers that come out on top are those belonging to teams that work like a well-oiled machine. From the engineer to the administrative assistant who books the hotel room, the team, as a whole, is what creates the win.

While pursuing a passion outside of work may require some sacrifice, it stretches your limits and grows you in ways you would not have developed otherwise. The lessons learnt and perspectives drawn add value to the day job—for example, getting more creative with your ideas or being more collaborative within your team.

Ultimately, as long as you are willing to put in the hard work, there will always be enough hours in the day to balance your professional career and your passion. You should never let go of one to concentrate solely on the other.

Theodora’s new single JULY was released in, well, July. 

Campaign Asia

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