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  • Jessica Poulter

AZK Media Managing Director speaks about career burnout at Mumbrella CommsCon

CommsCon award-winner and Managing Director of AZK Media Azadeh Williams hosted a presentation on fighting burnout at the 2024 Mumbrella CommsCon in Sydney.

Azadeh Williams talking on stage with a presentation behind her.
Azadeh Williams speaks about burnout at the 2024 CommsCon.

Presenting on stage at the Four Seasons Hotel, Williams used her career as a case study on the realities of burnout in the public relations (PR) and communications industry.

“A lot of people see the gloss and the media headlines, they see the campaigns,” Williams acknowledged to a packed room. “But they don’t see the hard grunt that goes on behind the scenes.”

Burnout is far too common in the PR profession

Citing Harvard research to lay the groundwork of her session, Williams explained that, “half of PR pros suffer from severe stress, anxiety and burnout”.

“And eight out of 10 PR professionals felt they were discriminated against when they raised these issues with their employer. Nine out of 10 were dissatisfied with the intervention that was provided. And 67 per cent felt there was poor support overall within the company that they worked for.”

How the pandemic inflamed the effects of burnout

Williams delves into her experience, detailing how the pandemic affected not only her agency but also her wellbeing. “Our agency was only two years young. We were growing at a rapid pace. When Covid hit, everything, the pressure, just mounted. I was working over 70 hours a week. I had little to no breaks.”

Williams explained that she was chained to her desk, hosting countless Zoom calls with clients.  “Someone who used to run marathons and exercised eight hours a week at minimum suddenly went from that to little to no breaks and no exercise. I was constantly wired on caffeine and chocolate. I was on about six to seven cups a day of coffee at least.”

But thanks to a set of tricks and tips she picked up along the way, Williams not only emerged from “a point where [she] totally crashed and burned” – she came back thriving.

Advocating for a healthier work-life balance

Williams advocates for flexible working arrangements, drawing boundaries and the right to disconnect.

“…Inflexibility is immediately going to fragment your sense of self and your career. There has to be a sense of flexibility within your work environment and likewise with your home environment,” she insisted.

“And we all know that the federal government is introducing that right to disconnect legislation, and it’s there for a reason, because our brains actually need to rest, to build up those feel good chemicals to make us feel better, be more productive, and be happier individuals.”

Read the full article here

Authored by Jessica Poulter, Senior Social Media and Communications Specialist at AZK Media.

At AZK Media, we specialise in helping global technology companies get noticed in new and emerging markets. We make driving your growth, our business. Contact us today to see how we can strengthen your expansion efforts.


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