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style + work
Let's hear a little background industry info about you.
Well, I’m a recruiter at Creative Circle. We source and place creative professionals.
And how long have you worked in your industry?
I’ve been in the industry for about 7 years. I started out as a copywriter and worked for a few agencies in New York and then, after working in Oklahoma City, I came back to Dallas, which is where I grew up.
Austin in his work space, which overlooks a large residential complex. Amazing downtown
How do you determine what you're going to wear to work each day?
Whatever makes me feel good that day, and it determines my mood to a large extent. I’ve worked in places where I couldn’t wear what I wanted and it had an adverse affect (whether I knew it or not). When I began working at Creative Circle - it was like they took the leash off and it was life changing. I’m going through a bright pant phase. So, bright pants and something fun - often power clash or something like a Spock t-shirt. Just something fun.
What are your typical “go-to” brands for clothing?
A lot of Urban Outfitters, but then I have a lot of clothes that I’ve had since college or before. Also, I wear a lot of my dad’s old clothes. I don’t shop very often but when I do, it’s online. I may sit down on a Saturday or Sunday and just shop for hours and just buy everything I need.
What are your typical work shoes?
What type of man bag do you carry every day? And what's inside?
I'm using a cotton tote like you would see some soccer mom coming from the grocery store with. I have been looking for the perfect work bag. I would love to get something in leather, with a military feel, or heavy canvas; something that just looks better and better the more you beat it up.
What are your magazines?
What's something that you wear or do that instills more confidence on days when you’re tired or don't quite feel yourself?
I wear a big, woven, thick weave, charcoal cardigan that has big clunky buttons. They keep it pretty cold in the office, so I wear it almost every single day.
Your jewelry - you have a string on your wrist. Is it always there?
It’s always, always there. Gabe [Austin's wife] had her hair wound up in it and when it started coming out, I tied it around my wrist. I’ve had it for years. I stress out each time I notice one tiny little strand of it peeling off, or if it gets caught on anything. Other than that, I never have jewelry. We’re getting married, and I’ll have a ring, and that will be the only piece of jewelry that I’ve really ever had. I own watches, but I never wear them.
Your glasses are really cool. Where did they come from?
Do you normally stick with this style?
A little bit, yeah. The last ones weren’t as pronounced, and I’ve always thought that about glasses - the first time you try them on, or you’re in the store - or anything you buy - it’s like, “wow - that’s a little you know odd,” or, “that may be too loud.” Then, a couple of months down the road, and you’re wearing these glasses, and don’t even see them when you’re wearing them. I still notice my glasses every once and a while, and I appreciate them. So, when in doubt go a little bit louder, and then it’s not going to be invisible on your face.
What's the most important part of your grooming routine that you feel helps complete your look?
Hair, I think, in general. You’ve got to trim a mustache on the daily - keep it from becoming too Wilford Brimley.
What are your go to styling products?
Do you have your go-to stylist?
What do you think has been the biggest influence over your style aesthetic?
Honestly, it would be Gabe. One hundred percent. She taught me that I don’t have to dress for the occasion. I would ask her, “Does this match?” She's like, “Who cares? What does that matter?” She has taken me out of my comfort zone dramatically, as far as fashion goes. She’s an awesome influence.
What does your typical day look like?
We start 8:30 on the nose every day, without fail. We have a morning meeting where we present new candidates to our account executives so they can proactively pitch those candidates to our clients. After our morning meetings, we have what we call Power Hour - which is actually power three hours from nine to noon, and we are working working working. That gives the clients that whole afternoon to get back to us if we left them a voicemail or an email. In the afternoons, we really don’t slow down at all.
Do you usually work late?
Until about seven. I would stay here all night if I was allowed to, but I would get hate mail from home. I absolutely love it - so I would stay here forever. And every week, by the end of the week, you’re wishing you had one more day to get more done. It’s not the fear of falling behind, it’s that I want to put one more ounce of effort into 'this,' or I want to get ‘this’ done, or I want to follow up on this candidate that I’ve been trying to get in touch with, or book this interview or push this job to start.
So, when you go to your morning status meetings, what do you take with you?
How do you handle job-related stress?
It’s a different kind of stress working here. I'm working on setting up an interview, or submitting a great candidate to a client that needs somebody immediately, or filling the next job. I think it’s a lot healthier to focus on what I can control.
What are some of your office pet peeves?
A lack of communication or miscommunication. That’s the worst to me, because we have control over that. I hate email, but if it’s important, email it to me if I’m not there, rather than IMing it to me. If I hate anything more than email, it’s IM, because it’s not permanent. Once I close that instant message window, it’s gone. I don’t have that information, anymore. At least email - once I trash it, I can go search for it.
Do you have a favorite song/artist that you listen to on your way to (or during) work?
Do they ever play it during office hours?
What is your favorite office supply and why?
Our Creative Circle pen - it’s almost like a security blanket. They quit making them, and I hoarded like five of them. I’ve got a box of spare parts in my drawer so if anything goes wrong with mine - we’re putting new tires on it.
How would you describe your office space?
Absolutely controlled chaos. My work space would make other people nervous with just the amount of bobbles and stuff. Bent paperclips into little statues - I fidget with stuff constantly when I'm on the phone.
How do you organize your desk space?
It’s weird because it looks disorganized to anyone else, but I will line things up, and if something is just off by a little bit, it needs to be adjusted. This great concrete pillar next to me makes this great space next to my desk that almost looks like a living room. I tilted my file cabinet to about a forty-five degree angle and it just breaks up the space, so it’s like a living space. And I brought in smaller lamps, rather than our overhead lights, and it just warms it up. I love lots and lots of little lights rather than one big, overhead light.
How do you prioritize/manage your email inbox?
We get a lot more email than we do phone calls, and I prefer the phone every time. I would love it if we could get rid of email completely because there’s so much room for misinterpretation and with the little preview that comes up on the screen, it’s a constant distraction.
So, do you have lots of email folders?
Rather than having a folder for each job, I’ve broken it down to folders for job titles. It’s a great go-to when I'm recruiting for clients. It’s another quick resource, beyond our amazing software, that I can search and find someone.
What is your secret to achieving your daily objectives?
I think it’s spending energy moving forward rather than worrying, and going in reverse. That’s paramount. Also, I don’t chatter a lot during the day.
Do you keep a "to do” list?
In the past I did. Now I minimize windows in the Creative Circle software. Instead of writing down a list, I’ll minimize the working windows and organize them so my desktop tells me what needs to be happening. I organize the jobs that I need to work, follow up with a client on, or that are in ‘pending' within different areas of my screen, prioritized in order of importance. By the end of the day - you can tell exactly how productive I was by how clean my desktop is. If there’s nothing on there, it’s been a good day. It’s a visual to-do list that makes a lot more sense to me, rather than writing it down.
Who has influenced your career the most or do you have anyone that you consider to be your mentor?
Jeff Cooper is an amazing professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He taught me about advertising, like that there’s not a right or wrong way. If it’s great - you’ve probably not seen it before, but that doesn’t make it "wrong." He was awesome.
As far as a mentor, I worked with Dean Wilhite while I was in Oklahoma. He was like a work/life coach. He was extremely busy, just under the gun all of the time, but knew where to draw the line, and enjoy his life. He was an excellent influence.
What advice have you received in your professional life that has really stuck with you or that you think most job seekers need to hear?
My dad's advice was that your reputation and your name is all that you have. Especially in our industry, which is a tiny industry, everyone knows everyone - you can’t afford to be dishonest or anything like that. My dad taught me that your credibility and your honesty - that’s everything.
What inspires you about your work?
At the end of the week, I can turn around and say, “Wow, that’s twenty five people that didn’t have a job before this week.” That feels good. I can literally affect a person’s life and make it better - put them to work, and at the same time, I'm fixing a client’s need that they have.
What do you do during your downtime to refresh yourself?
I’ve always got projects going; building a table or something like that - that’s how I decompress. It’s something I get super excited about when I'm home.
How do you stay on top of industry news for your career?
You’ve got to be plugged in and know what’s going on out there. I read industry related publications and websites. Also, I spoke at an awesome event the other night that was for advertising and marketing professionals under the age of thirty-two. It’s something we’ve really focused on as a company, and as an office, we focused on having more of a presence at these events and having our finger more on that pulse.
What are the sites that you like?
How important has traveling been for you personally?
What are your hobbies?
I play guitar and ukulele. I don’t play as much as I used to, but that’s fun. I love woodworking. Building anything. Turning something into something else. That’s really my only productive hobby.
Where do you learn ukulele? Is it so close to the guitar that you can just pick it up . . . .
The strings are a little different - there are fewer strings, and they’re not all tuned in the same direction, but it’s pretty easy to noodle around on it and figure out how to do something. I didn’t say I was good at the ukulele. It’s just fun.