Nicole Reilly – Member profile

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Dr Nicole Reilly is a perinatal mental health Research Fellow, and was based with the University of Newcastle when she first joined WorkLife.
Having made the leap to regional living, she chats to us about what she loves about being able to work from home and how she makes that work within the University sphere.

What’s your local life story? How long have you called the South Coast home?

My partner and I grew up on the South Coast, but I’ve been back here for nearly four years. In-between there was a lot of travelling and nearly twenty years in Sydney. We came back when our oldest daughter was ready to start school. We’re now fully ensconced in Jamberoo!

How does your work/life balance look? Does it look much different to if you were working in the city?

My work/life balance is similar to when I was living in Sydney. But the beauty of working from WorkLife means less travel time — there’s plenty of time to drop the kids at school, I can duck off for assemblies (pre-COVID!) and can go for a quick swim at lunch time. All things that would have been more difficult to do from my office in Sydney.

Working for yourself. It’s a journey. When did you take the leap?

I was working remotely with the University of Newcastle when I joined WorkLife. I worked the first year or so at home before the novelty started to wear off — I needed more social contact! WorkLife Kiama had not long opened, and I jumped on board. It’s been amazing ever since.

What’s been the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome?

I haven’t really had any hurdles to overcome! It’s such a privilege to be in this position, and to find that sweet balance between work, life and family.

How does it work for the rest of the family? What’s been the impact on them?

I think it works really well for my family. WorkLife Kiama is close to home so my days can be really flexible and I can step in on the home-front at short-notice. The family is loving it!

Is there anything that’s been a surprise to you?

I would say the connections I have made with other WorkLife members. There’s such a great mix of people doing amazing work here, from web design and business leadership, to suicide prevention and dementia research. I’ve made some great contacts and friends there.

When it comes to money, how do you make it work?

Financially, I know I should plan more but really we’re really just winging like everyone else! I work in mental health research so generally speaking job insecurity is something I’ve become pretty used to. We have a pretty low key lifestyle and save when we can, and enjoy when we can.

What’s your passion project/side gig? Is there anything that you’re hustling on?

This question makes me laugh because no, I’m not that inventive! And because I feel no need to tip my work life balance right now. We’re happy doing our thing and are just looking forward to enjoying the delights of another summer on the south coast. I don’t have a void to fill at the moment!

Picture your book shelf at home. What’s the one book on it that everyone should borrow?

The Complete Lyrics of Nick Cave — the man is a master storyteller.

What piece of furniture in your house makes you the happiest?

I have a really cosy chair that the girls got me for Mother’s Day this year, which is beautiful in the morning sun on the verandah with my morning coffee and just as good to sink into with a wine of an evening. The other, a really old footstool that I perch on in front of the fire. It’s terrible for my back but that’s a regular winter spot!

When people come to the South Coast, what’s the one thing they should eat locally?

Food is generally around the table for us. When we go out for dinner here it’s usually local Thai with the kids, or somewhere like Otis for lunch. I love the lentil pies at Flour Water Salt and the lemon tarts at Parfait Patisserie are delicious. Generally speaking though, we’re much more likely to just grab food from home and enjoy it at a park, beach or at the rock pool.

What’s your go-to listen (music/podcast) for any trips up to Sydney?

I’m an ABC nerd from way back, so I love catching up on a bit of RN. Or otherwise it could be anything really — a bit of PJ Harvey, Rage Against the Machine, Paul Kelly, Billie Holliday. I’ll listen to almost anything!

What’s your best productivity hack to get the most out of each workday?

I try to start as early and do the hardest, most time consuming things first, which for me is usually writing — lots of writing!

What’s the best thing about your membership to WorkLife?

It’s such a warm, open, energetic space. I love coming in and finding something new that’s been brought in — a new bright rug, new art on the wall. I love the amazing support the WorkLife team give to community initiatives. The flexibility, especially 24/7 access during COVID shutdown earlier in the year, was a gift — I could work around the chaos of that time, knowing I could come in any time of day or night to get my work done

Imagine tomorrow is a perfect snapshot of your Best Life. What are you doing?

I’d say I’m pretty close now! I love my work, love watching the kids laugh, and we’re just enjoying this beautiful place we call home on the South Coast.


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