We had the good fortune of connecting with Jill Zientarski and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jill, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Prior to starting my own business, in my corporate roles I felt like I had to always be accessible and that I wasn’t able to turn off the work side of me. I’d be out to dinner with family checking my emails, worried that I had missed something. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and instinctively check my email again – needless to say, this wasn’t healthy and it really took a toll on my mental health. I felt trapped.
Making the decision to leave and start my own consulting company was scary and it’s taken me a long time to get out of the negative habits that I’d formed over the last 10 years working in corporate, but I’ve slowly been able to create a balance that is more fulfilling and rich. Not rich in a monetary sense, more so that for the first time I feel that I have control over my life and can say no when it’s not something I’m passionate about or if I’m maxed out. I used to live for the weekend and now I feel like I allow myself to enjoy each day.
That’s not to say that I don’t still struggle with balance, but now I approach it from a place of listening to my body, my mental health, and my family’s needs. Work/life balance isn’t something that just happens naturally – you have to set intentions, acknowledge and then ignore the feeling of guilt that likes to creep in, and remind yourself of your priorities in those challenging moments where it’s easy to get caught up in saying yes again.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I started my HR consulting firm, Workery Consulting, after realizing that I could make a much larger impact working with multiple organizations rather than just one. I’ve seen so many small businesses starting out that don’t prioritize employee engagement and providing a supportive work environment, and it’s often ignored until the company’s grown much larger and become an issue. I love working with growing companies to put their HR foundation in place because it helps both the employees AND the company be successful.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that you have to believe in your service and the value it provides – if you don’t believe it, your prospective clients won’t either. The other lesson is to be consistent. There were countless times I felt like I wasn’t gaining any traction, no one was engaging with my content, I didn’t have enough brand presence to get new clients. A friend of mine kept telling me to just keep working and not to worry about those things, they would come. And she was right, had I not been consistent I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I absolutely love being a tour guide! I live about eight months out of the year in South Florida and have had the opportunity to introduce lots of family and friends to the Miami area. A few of my favorite places for a nice dinner include La Mar on Brickell Key, Amara at Paraiso near Edgewater, and Peacock Garden in Coconut Grove. Absolutely check out Wynwood and be sure to stop at 1-800-Lucky (Asian market – they have delicious drinks, great music on the patio, and the super Instagram-worthy fish ice cream cones). Spend some time at the beach! I would rent a cabana for the full experience, hit up a Marlins game, and have drinks at Sugar – a rooftop bar in Brickell – for a great view of the city.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d love to Shoutout one of my best friends, Robin Wilson. When I first met Robin around 2014 she was shifting careers and starting her own wedding planning company. Fast forward to today, she and her business partner, Chelsea, have joined forces and created an incredible wedding planning and floral company, Graham Stanton. They not only do AMAZING work, but they’ve been a huge inspiration to me in how you can run a business that is focused on community and standing up for what’s right.
Melissa Douglas Co.