Why do so many people mutter that they “aren’t creative-types”? Are they hung up on what they think creativity is and what it looks like? Do they feel “creative” is a title reserved for artists, fashion designers and dancers?
Jen Bergren may well be writing a book (about RevOps, of course) and come from a creative background as a photographer and marketer, but as Senior Operations Manager with Remotish, a HubSpot operational agency, she proves that creativity is an important skill in all kinds of roles. Yep, even in a role as data and process-driven as RevOps.
She started with Remotish when the company was in its infancy and she was the first one on the payroll.
“We now have about 19 people, but I’ve been with the company since its second month in early 2019,” Jen says. “I started as what we call a marketing technologist, but it was really doing a little bit of everything because I was essentially employee number one.”
This marketing (and everything else) work soon became more operational in nature and she found she quite liked it. Her role changed a number of times before she became Senior Operations Manager and started overseeing all internal operations – including RevOps.
If it wasn’t obvious from the company’s name, Remotish is a 100% remote work organization. No head office, no nosy co-workers listening to personal calls. And, as an agency, the team’s time management comes down to tracking hours.
“We’re not just remote, we’re also flex time,” she explains. “Every day you can adjust your day’s working hours, as long as we hit a target number of hours for the month.”
The founder of Remotish, Nicole Pereira, understood a traditional 9-to-5 schedule didn’t really work for her.
“She likes to work in different hours,” Jen says. “It was interesting for me. Especially combining it with putting time off on the calendar. That was a helpful mix of the structure that I need, but also the flexibility.”
And no matter when she works, she tracks her time. It allows her to see how the week is coming together rather than focusing on a certain amount of hours each day. Tracking is manual and visible, so managers can help team members if needed.
Based in San Diego, she’s in the Pacific time zone, but she doesn’t force herself to line up with the early mornings in other time zones. She gets up at about 6 or 7 a.m. and then the bad habit kicks in…
As she fights the urge to stay in bed a little longer, she checks her social media.
Jen is surprisingly open about her bad habit and it’s impossible to be judgy with her since 1 – it’s pretty minor and 2 – everyone procrastinates, usually in much bigger ways.
“It’s not great,” she admits, “but it is helpful for me so I can get on with my morning routine without wondering ‘what’s going on’?”
Then she’s free to walk her 13-year-old dog (who she says looks like an orange furry fox), get ready and spend 10 minutes or so checking for anything urgent in Slack or email. Then, after that quick check-in, she’ll exercise, take care of personal tasks and do some writing.
This is where that awesome tidbit about THE BOOK came up.
“So, I’ve been working on a book about RevOps,” she says. “I interviewed 35 people at the end of 2020. I asked them all the same questions. I like writing, I like sharing knowledge, it doesn’t have to be my knowledge.”
She shared that writing a book is a personal goal and she’s been working on it in the mornings lately.
Jen is also one of the guest professors in the new free RevOps certification course through HubSpot’s Academy. (Fun fact, so is the Co-op’s very own Matthew Volm.)
When she checks back into work, she’ll get deep into responding to questions and requests, managing project management tasks and ensuring that those who have urgent needs are helped quickly. Sometimes the mornings include meetings or webinars as well so they still fit with more eastern-based time zones.
“I take a lot of breaks throughout the day,” she explains.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are her longest days. Thursday and Friday she blocks off the second half of the day to allow for more writing, personal things or other tasks without being constantly available to others.
“We all have calendars shared with each other for the whole team so we can see whether or not someone’s available for a quick chat right now,” Jen says. “It helps with boundaries. I don’t need to be checking every 5 minutes.”
Togetherness is still important, despite remote work. She believes in transparent communication and sees that Slack helps keep that open and ongoing.
“I tried really hard to build that into our company,” she says. “That means all of us are trying to help each other all day.”
There are channels in Slack for each client, but also those for internal uses, such as education, which Jen is a huge proponent of.
“We do a lot of celebrating people and their accomplishments,” she says. “Somebody earns a certification and they were the first one to earn it, so I made them an emoji. I know they will like it.”
She likes to stay involved in networking through Slack groups like our RevOps Co-op and Pavilion for additional learning, but also for the human connection. Women in Revenue is another group that she likes for its positive events.
She knows how important regular breaks are and they often involve learning or working towards other big dreams. Some breaks include another walk with the dog, or a quick burst of exercise or reading. But she always leaves her desk.
“If I really need to decompress, I like to watch TV,” she says. “I’ve been trying to watch TV in French though, so I’m also learning at the same time because I want to go to Paris at some point in the next year.”
On those long early week days, she has a hard stop at 9 p.m. She used to need to set an alarm to remind her, but now she finds she doesn’t need the alarm. Some days though are more draining than others and when her brain can’t take anymore, Jen will spend part of the weekend watching TV with the dog.
“Sometimes it happens. Not on purpose though,” she explains of when a bit of overwhelm creeps in. “I try to give myself some grace. I know I’m human.”
Although Jen didn’t mention a working title for her book, those in the RevOps community are bound to be interested in it when it’s released to the world.
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