In celebration of Women’s Day, Holistan spoke to Nicole da Silva as our inspiring Woman of the Month!
Nicole hosts “The Weekend Playdate” on 5FM, is one of the social media managers for the station, club DJ, vice chairlady for YAPS the Young Adult Portuguese Society, voiceover artist and all round nice gal. She boasts a BSc Degree in Biochemistry & Psychology as well as a BA in Journalism Honours.
Thinking of a radio personality, the common perception is that her life MUST be filled with glitz and glam, attending numerous events, doing glamourous photoshoots and enjoying her “free time” when she is not on air or behind a mixing desk. However, Nicole’s journey is anything but a constant jol – Nix, as she is affectionately known, is a fierce career woman who has put in hours of work to be where she is today, and at times worked 7 days a week for many years. We chat to her about her journey, her career aspirations and where to from here.
1. Hi Nix! Thanks for agreeing to chat to us! How are you doing?
Thanks for having me! I'm doing fantastic, thanks. You caught me on a very rare holiday in Madeira, a little island off Portugal. I don't often get down time so I'm enjoying the ‘me-time’.
2. Oh wow that sounds amazing; do you get to travel a lot with your flexible work hours?
Ha! No, it's quite the opposite. I work on weekends and all the other jobs (voice work, YAPS, being part of the marketing team for 5FM's social media) happens Monday to Friday. I also have to prepare my show before the weekend so I record quite a bit of my content in the week.
3. What inspired you to go into radio?
I was chatting to my friend about this the other day actually...I guess I never honestly thought of doing anything else. Radio started off as a fascination to me. I wanted to know how the presenters made the shows sound so effortless and how they pulled off stunts or big interviews. It was like listening to a magic show and I had to work out the secret. I'd always loved radio and when it came to choosing a university to study at I chose the one with a campus station. I joined the station as soon as I could and learnt as much as I could in my 3 years there while having fun doing all kinds of random off the cuff things.
4. Why on earth did you study a Bachelor in Science then?!
I got good marks in high school and after being given the list of bursaries available to first years I realised if I chose a BSc degree my mom wouldn't have to pay for my first year of studies. I've always been good with Biology; Biochemistry was about the chemistry of the body and Psychology was another avenue that interested me so BSc Biochem and Psych it was!
5. So did you have a goal in mind as to which radio station you wanted to be on?
5FM was always the big dream.
6. And how long did it take you to get there?
Well, from when I started applying to when I actually got in, it took 4 years.
7. What have the challenges been?
Timing and staff have been challenges. What people don't realise is that radio stations can't get more staff unless there's an opening. Openings only occur when someone leaves or is fired. Programming line-ups take a long time to arrange so when they get the right mix of people they try and keep it stable for at least 3 years. All of these factors including how you sound and the make-up of the on-air staff all affects this.
8. So it was certainly no easy feat then… is it truly possible to love what you do – work-wise that is?
I think so. I love what I do. It's stressful at times, there's little job security and there are other ups and downs as with any job. There's a lot of hard work and preparation that people never know about, but at the end of the day it's part of what I do.
9. What would you say to those feeling as though they are in a dead end job – is the notion to “follow your dreams” just a fantasy or do you think it can be a reality to anyone hungry enough for it?
There are two parts here. If you know that you have the skills and ability to do something that you want to do, that's different to just wanting to do something, and if you can honestly say that you are capable to go into a career that you love and pursue it knowing without a doubt that you can do it, then absolutely. There's a difference between goals and fantasies. Besides things like savings, dependents and funding taken into consideration, I honestly believe that if everyone loved what they did Monday to Friday the world would be a happier place and people would live longer.
10. Lastly – where to from here? What do you see yourself doing in the next 5-10 years?
I'd like to think I'll be at 5FM for a few more years and then either move overseas to do radio there or to an AC station somewhere in SA. Radio is all I want to do. I might dabble in other things but right now it's the only thing I can see myself doing long term.
Thanks so much for your time Nix, and keep on rocking!
As we spend approximately 70-80% of our lives at work, it makes sense to not only like what you do, but love it. If you are living to work and not working to live, perhaps you need to rethink your career. If you know what you love doing, then consider pursuing it – even if it means studying part time to equip yourself with the skills, taking on an internship or volunteering in your chosen vocation. Time will pass irrespective if you choose to pursue your goal or not.
If you don’t know what you should be doing (but you DO know you are not enjoying your current job), consider a career assessment. Assessing your cognitive capability, personality preferences and interests is a good place to start. But at the end of the day, DO NOT be unhappy 70-80% of your life; because (as I always say) not taking a risk is the biggest risk of all!
by: Marzenna Almendro
Our contributors collectively boast a wealth of experience in assessments, HR, organisational development, change management and more!