We had the good fortune of connecting with Susanne Khatib and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Susanne, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Thankfully, my work/life balance has greatly improved over time. Straight out of college, my personal life was nonexistent. I was in a very intense role at a start-up where we all worked crazy hours and my imposter syndrome was SO REAL. On top of it all, I had a 2+ hour commute each way to work. Needless to say, I felt like a zombie all. the. time. I was actually laid off from that job, but it was a blessing in disguise. In my next role, I experienced a much healthier work/life balance and I learned I could achieve success without sacrificing my own well-being. Nowadays, I am intentional about working with employers that share this mindset. With that said, when my role went fully remote due to COVID-19, my whole concept of balance was thrown for a loop. My dining room table became my new desk, and the separation between home and office was non-existent. I’ve had to learn to set my own boundaries and to give myself grace as well. Some days (especially during a pandemic) I am completely drained and can’t produce my best work. Instead of fighting against my tiredness, I listen to my body’s cues and respect those signals by doing less intensive work. When I’m feeling energized or inspired, I crank out my biggest to-dos. No guilt necessary and in the end, it always balances out!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Fresh out of college with a Marketing degree, I always imagined that I’d work somewhere doing social media or PR. However, I ended up getting offered a Customer Success Manager role at a tech start-up, and took a leap of faith, and accepted the job. I was immediately overwhelmed by the endless acronyms and dozens of software tools to master, but pretty soon I was fluent in the lingo. I learned to love Customer Success, but finding the right role for me was a challenge. The CSM job involved being on the phone with clients all day, and as an introvert, I burnt out in 0.2 seconds. Since then, I’ve hopped around a few different Customer Success roles, all the while widening my skillset and identifying my interests/strengths. Finally, 3 years ago I finally nailed a role of Customer Marketer — the perfect combo of my degree and the field I loved! This was actually the job that brought me from Virginia to Houston and inspired me to start my Instagram. I’m a believer in working with your strengths rather than pushing yourself to be or enjoy something that drains you. Outside of my 9-5 I try to put my marketing know-how to good use. I manage an Instagram account and just started a Youtube channel, which I’m so excited about! While my Instagram is focused on sharing cool spots around Houston, my YouTube allows me to brand out and get more personal with my viewers. It definitely takes a lot of time to produce, but I love pushing my boundaries and taking on new challenges both in and outside of work.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love this question! Assuming the weather was nice, I’d show them all the outdoor essentials: Smither Park, the Water Wall, Graffiti Park, biking around Hermann Park, and a walk around Buffalo Bayou. Shopping: While the Galleria is the more obvious choice, I love taking guests to 19th street in the Heights, as well at Space Montrose and Pavement off of Westheimer. Even better: I find a flea market or farmer’s market happening during that time! Coffee/desserts: Agora, Common Bond, FIX Coffeebar, Jeni’s, Hugs & Donuts (their cookie butter donut omg), Pondicheri Food/drinks: Every guest needs a trip to Chinatown for a full day (and stomach) of bubble tea, lunch, dessert and baked items to take home. Some other go-to spots would be Local Foods, Pit Room, Burger Joint, Himalaya, and one of the many beer gardens around town! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to give a shoutout to my sister Talia. She is the most radiant, kind-hearted person out there and and being her big sis is the biggest blessing. I love watching her grow into an even brighter and more beautiful soul year after year. Talia, I am so thankful for you!