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How’s work? with Susi Castle, Primesight

Marketing & communications manager at Primesight, NABS Ambassador, 4 yrs in industry

Using only three words, describe work.

Fulfilling, fascinating, challenging.

Why are you doing what you’re doing?

Because our industry shapes society.

Getting away from your desk. Discuss.

Every single lunchtime. And as often as possible any other time too. Presenteeism needs to go do one.

Crying at work. Discuss.

Frustrating. It’s so common as a woman to cry out of anger when you wish you could just punch someone instead.

What place does emotion have in decision-making?

I think it has a good place… but only if you have a mix of people. If all of you are very tapped into emotions and leave no room for rational or logical thought then you’re in trouble. I think the emotional side can bring out a lot of empathy which is important when considering the repercussions of big business decisions. Redundancy might be the best thing for everyone involved, but emotion can help remind you that these are going to be very painful circumstances for those affected and that you need to treat them as human beings, not numbers.

Are we only as good as our last piece of work?

Sure. If you only believe in short-termism and people as commodities. This reminds me of the idea of writer’s block. I don’t believe it really exists, but if you think it does then the reason you’re only as good as your last piece of work is that your creativity is finite and can run out and your last project was the final one. Our lives (both professional and personal) are a journey. If you only see people and their work as successes and failures then you miss the nuanced growth in-between.

If so, how good are you?

Simultaneously excellent and terrible.

Are you better at what you do because you work where you work?

Yes. I’ve got a great boss who challenges and supports me and brings out the best in me (and our whole team). I have flexi-time (so feel trusted and empowered) and work with wonderful people. I feel safe here and that gives me room to grow.

Fear never brought out the best in me and some of the bad work environments I’ve been in previously weren’t a life lesson – they were a few steps away from mental breakdown.

Who was your greatest ever colleague?

James.

Why?

He was excellent at his job. He was so imbued with self-confidence, poise, composure and self-worth that he just didn’t let the f***ers get him down. Total inspiration. I hope one day
to be as filled with a deep appreciation of my inherent worth as he was.

What about them do you bring back into your work and team?

I think he was the first person to really make me realise that often it’s the environment that’s crazy, not you. I try to stand up for myself and others more now.

Does the reward reflect the work put in?

Sometimes the work itself is its own reward.

Can we win?

To win, don’t there have to be losers? Everything doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game.

What would be missing from your workplace if you weren’t there?

Enthusiasm. Wit. Change.

In what ways is it easy and in what ways is it hard to belong?

I think there is a very easy sense of belonging that comes with behaving in the wrong way. A bunch of you gather together and bitch about someone or something… you’re all in agreement; it’s instant belonging. True belonging is hard because it takes a lot more work – work on yourself and others. You have to be comfortable with all of your own eccentricities in a way that makes you appreciate them in others.

Our how’s work? zine was created to start a conversation about wellbeing in the workplace. We asked people from across our industry a set of probing questions designed to dig into every facet of their wellbeing. Take a read of their thoughts here.

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