Regan Cole—Manager of Consumer Marketing at Google—knows all too well how sitting at a desk for the majority of one’s day can make even the most focused folks antsy. “I sit at a desk from 8 am to 5 pm and I don’t move, so my legs are bouncing into the night. I need to get moving. My body craves a release of energy to clear my mind,” she told The Org.
Caring for mental health is often—and almost stereotypically—identified with or linked to meditation. However, a growing number of people like Cole are finding that there’s actually solace in being active.
When Cole linked with The Org by phone, she extrapolated on the importance of physical activity as a tool for relaxation and mental clarity, highlighting the importance of knowing yourself and doing what’s best for you when it comes to caring for your mind, body and soul.
What was your initial career path, and how did it lead to your current position?
Growing up, I was probably like every other kid wanting to be a lawyer, doctor or have one of those “sexier” types of careers. But, I hate science and I argue enough with my sisters. I actually ended up going into college as an undeclared major because I couldn’t really figure out what I wanted to do.
I think I may have been French in a past life because all I wanted to do was take French classes in college. One of my girlfriends freshman year was an international business major and suggested I follow the same path as her since you’re required to take a language course. I thought business was sort of a blanket degree—giving you an opportunity to stretch across multiple disciplines—so I declared international business and enrolled in a bunch of French classes. While I am very logical, I do have a bit of a creative side, so I chose marketing as my specialty.
I had completed an internship at DIRECTV right before my final semester at college and I got really lucky with the group I’d been placed in. You’re so young and you’re exposed to so much, it’s like how do you pick the rest of your life when you're twenty-something years old?
After I graduated, I came back as a 6-week contractor, which rolled into month-long contracts, and ultimately, I got hired on full time. It was fun and a great role to get started in, and I knew I wanted to stay in marketing.
After AT&T came in and bought DIRECTV, the company changed. They were trying to figure out the strategy—how do you blend this teleco world with this tv-on-the-verge-of-digital transformation world—and I think for me it was this moment of, “Okay, I’ve been doing this for a few years now, let’s move on to something else,” though I never expected to end up at Google.
I’d actually interviewed for several jobs—and applied to hundreds—and what I appreciated about Google was that they took a very lateral approach to your skillset. They looked at your transferable skills, which is what got me in the door here.
I’m super happy to be here now and I’ve definitely learned a lot. It was a pretty big change from what I was working on—more digital focused distribution—to consumer goods, and while I do feel lucky that I’m here, I also feel I brought a lot to the table with my background.
What on a day-to-day basis does your current role encompass?
I work on the consumer marketing team at Google, working on the Pixel phones specifically. To put it in the simplest terms, if you’ve seen the show Mad Men, I would be the client going to them being like, “How do we make this come to life?”
Was there a moment along your path where you realized everything you’d been working toward was putting you exactly where you wanted to be?
I feel like there's a level of confidence to say you fully know you’re on the right path, especially as the world changes as much as it does. Who knew we’d be in a pandemic for over 2 years and have to adapt to that? There’s still those feelings of “Am I doing the right thing? Is my campaign strategy right?” I don’t know if I can say with full 100 percent confidence that I know exactly what I’m doing and that I’m on the right path. I think it’s just the continuation of learning and growing and feeling like you at least make an impact, whether it’s big or small wins.
The ability to question the path you’re on isn’t something that ever ends, though perhaps it becomes more and more refined.
Even now people will be like, “Well, what do you want to do?” And I’m like, “I don’t know, but I can tell you what I don’t want to do.” The world just changes so much so quickly. Like, I know what an NFT is, but honestly what is an NFT?
It’s so fascinating to me how quickly things like NFTs are becoming so popular when I have so many basic questions. “Is this really going to be a sustainable thing?” It’s hard to say this is the only thing I want to do when there’s so much new information and so many new opportunities coming everyday.
With all of the changes and stresses we face on a day-to-day, how has caring for your mental health helped you stay productive at work and grounded within yourself?
My husband is really good at doing meditation daily and really taking that introspective look. That’s just not how I take care of myself. I have a wandering mind and can’t sit still for 5 minutes, and because I am pretty high energy, it usually comes through working out.
The way I care for my mental health is getting up and getting a workout in. Sometimes I’ll get in a quick workout over lunch and then eat really quick. That helps keep me focused for the rest of the day because I had the opportunity to sort of burn off my energy. If there’s a quick window around 2 pm, I’ll go for a walk. Ultimately, stepping away from the screen time helps me remain focused and gives my body that refresh to get back on the grind for another few hours. Taking those breaks—for me—are more in the physical space rather than sitting there and meditating.
How do you balance finding time for your work with time for yourself?
During the weekend, it’s pretty rare that I’m inside the house. When I was living in San Francisco for Google, it was easily a 3 hour commute. By the time you got home, you’d have to eat, shower, and go to bed to get up at 5 am to do it all again the next day. So I actually really enjoy working from home because I feel like I’ve gotten so much time back. But I am pretty much glued to my screen from 8 am to 5 pm except for a few walks and workouts throughout the day, and there is no separation between church and state—my office is also the guest bedroom which is also our pseudo gym. My husband’s “office” is actually just a desk in our primary room where we sleep, so you’re just confined to these small spaces where you don’t really get to “turn off.”
I really appreciate my manager in that she encourages all of us to turn off. When you’re done, you’re done. If people are pinging you or emailing you after hours, don’t respond—and I don’t and there’s no expectation to.
For me, during the weekend is really when I go big. I’m not at home, I’m out with friends, we play beach volleyball every Saturday for hours, so I really burn a ton of energy off there, and then I’ll go grab beer or wine after and hang out with friends and really socialize and get that community feeling back in.
Do you have any specific techniques you employ on a day-to-day basis that help you stay organized and focused while working from home?
One thing I’m trying to be better about is when I first wake up, not checking my phone to see who emailed me or pinged me—which is hard to do—and instead wake up, make my coffee, read a business related book for my own personal development—-just a chapter, nothing crazy—and then start my workday. Then, after the workday and after dinner, instead of turning on the tv, I’ll read a book for pleasure and just enjoy something non-business related to get my mind running away from the screen time. Other times we’ll just turn off all the electronics and screens, turn on music and pour some wine.
Follow @regan_coal on Instagram for more insights into the life of the Manager of Consumer Marketing at Google and follow @sladdin on Instagram for more interviews with interesting people across entertainment, tech, cannabis and crypto.
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