How to Stay Creative at a Corporate Job

I’m constantly inspired by the amazing women I surround myself with; both in my professional and personal life.  So today, I wanted to highlight one of those women: my dear best friend Linette. I’m sure many of you have seen her before on the blog and my Instagram, and although she lives across the country (all the way in NYC!), I feel that we are closer now more than ever.

Like many of you, Linette works in a corporate environment. She is the Director of Global Social Media for Kiehl’s (which is under L’Oreal) and when she was in town a few weeks ago, I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her job and how she maintains her creativity in a corporate job. Enjoy!



1. How did you and Chriselle meet?

Chriselle and I met at our hometown church (CKBC!) in the bay area. We were in middle school, and she had just moved to California from Korea. She introduced herself after service one day by shyly handing me and my sister Annie a business card. It read “SugaQT” with a blown out photo of her little face (hand pose and all), and it included her home number or beeper number (I can’t remember).

2. How did you get your start at L’Oreal?

About 8 years ago, the stars aligned and I met Michelle Phan. She was at Evan’s birthday party (my then boyfriend, now super awesome husband) and I remember Chris whispering to me “that girl is a YouTube star.” I had no clue what that meant at the time but it was clear that she had always been ahead of the game. I moved to New York shortly after meeting Michelle and during one of her Lancôme meet and greets in Times Square, she told me she had a secret project coming up. She asked if I might be interested in working in beauty. I told her it would be a dream come true.


3. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned working in a corporate environment?

“Your network is your net worth.” 

Building and nurturing relationships take time and effort, but it’s one of the most important set of assets you can have. Even if you are a diligent worker or the brightest talent, if no one is validating your skillset, it will be difficult to ‘climb the ladder’. You need someone to push you up and shine some light on you. But this dynamic goes both ways- if a mentor is willing to endorse you, figure out a way to make the relationship mutually beneficial. Ask what you can help with and ALWAYS express your sincere gratitude. 

4. How do you manage to stay creative at work and outside of work?

At work, I always try to:
1. Stay curious.
2. Listen to others.
3. Ask questions. 

Outside of work, I do my best to learn new things. Almost 2 years ago, I started a personal blog, I wanted to know what it took to be a content creator (since I work with them in a business capacity) so I could have a more 360 view on how the social space operates. I knew I needed a niche topic so I decided to dedicate the blog to my fellow career women, by asking mentors and friends to write an advice letter to their younger self. 

Aside from that, I’m also helping my husband with his first feature film, Snakehead. Having the opportunity to immerse myself in a completely different structure and environment like a movie set is invigorating and really gets my creative juices going. 


5. What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
“Be kind to everyone.” A good manager can manage up, down, and all around. 

And bonus advice (this is metaphorical of course)

“Move forward until physically restrained.” Do whatever it takes (in the most respectful way)!

6. Current favorite podcasts or life tips?

Open Account / SuChin Pak
Ted Talks / NPR Radio
This American Life / NPR Radio

Life tips:
Let your husband confiscate your phone when you come home for dinner. Unplug. Explore your city on the weekends and be in the moment. Spend time with people who inspire you.  

7. Creative outlet tips for the creative corporate gal?

Surround yourself with people who have different careers or hobbies from you. One of my dear friends, Pili Restrepo is a jewelry designer and I love exchanging business ideas and hearing about what inspires her even though we’re in completely different fields. 

8. Your top 5 go-to, no fail Kiehl’s beauty products?

Cucumber TonerIris Essence, Super Multi-Corrective CreamRare Earth MasqueCreme de Corps.

9. What’s something no one tells you about when you sign up for the corporate gig?

Speak up – advocate for yourself. I made the assumption early on that if I kept my head down and worked hard, eventually, it would pay off. Not entirely true. Even in a corporate environment where you interact with lots of people and cross-functional teams – if you don’t ask for what you want out of your career, chances are no one will know. Take the time to let your manager and HR person know what your expectations are and ask for accountability. 

10. Current Favorite Quote?

“To be kind is more important than to be right. Many times what people need is not a brilliant mind that speaks but a special heart that listens.” — Unknown Author


  • Emily says:

    Loved reading this! Linette sounds like a beautiful person and sounds like she works hard to earn her success. Good read!

  • Nelle says:

    Man I really like this boIa!!drm new to the surfing sport, im doing a little look around for a board.I was taught how to surf and I love it but I dont have a board of my own and I dont know what to look for. The board that I was trained on was a 8ft. foam board and I was able to stand up the first time around and ride a wave.Now I also wanted to know for my hight 5’5 could I get a board this size or should I stick with a.8 footer?

  • […] star Chriselle Lim talks to the director of global social media for Kiehl’s about how she maintains her […]

  • Viviene Kok says:

    Great article. Exactly what I need on a fresh Saturday morning (workday!!). Not gonna lie, climbing up the career ladder is challenging and its so true that hardwork plays a role, but not entirety, in achieving our goals. Just like Linette, I started our website with the similar intention, however ours was more to having a platform where we can spill creative juices freely without any sort of ‘corporate restrictions’. 2 years have passed, I’ve climbed 2 steps up the career ladder from the fresh grad that I was before. Currently juggling a few serves on our plate, that includes carrer as our main, master studies as a side and blog as our dessert. It would be great if you and Linette could drop by our website and let us know on where to improve on because we are all open for professional point of view 🙂

    Thank you C!

    Viviene Kok

  • Cindy Wong says:

    Great interview and thoroughly enjoyed this post. Thought Linette gave great , realistic, and accountable advice. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sammi says:

    No.4 is what I need to keep reminding myself.

    I work in finance but my goals are far more in the creative field. I find it so hard to keep up with a corporate job and then get home, exhausted, to try and follow my dreams. But creativity, art and writing, they’re my passions, and I just have to go for it!

  • Dilek says:

    This was so inspiring. Linette sounds like a great friend to have!

  • I feel that working in a corporate job actually helps me with creativity, as I meet so many different people each day.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  • Cecilia says:

    Linette sounds like an amazing woman! Thanks so much for sharing the great advice – especially about speaking up for yourself!

  • Elizabeth T. says:

    Really enjoyed this post so much! As a full-time young corporate professional and part time blogger, I’m always trying to juggle my creativity and my corporate job. I loved all of the advise in this post, really appreciate you putting this whole thing together!

    XO, Elizabeth

  • DNAMAG says:

    So inspiring, bookmarking this! I love that she balances ambition with all around kindness, because the latter ingredient is always forgotten.

  • Jennifer says:

    Such great advice and good to hear how she got to where she is now!

  • Helen says:

    I loved this interview with Linette! It’s so cute to hear about how the two of you met, and it’s so valuable to learn some of her tips about maintaining creativity at a corporate job. Thanks for sharing!


  • Jennifer says:

    Really inspirational and helpful for future references! I really enjoyed this blog post. 🙂

  • Mireia says:

    Absolutely love it!

    Mireia from TGL

  • Sharon Kim says:

    As a creative in the corporate world, I can totally relate! I look up to both of you and wish you two all the best for 2017!

    Sharon Eun Rae Kim

  • Stasja says:

    Loved reading this, so many helpful tips! 🙂


  • Emmanuelle says:

    That’s a great serie!

    I wish to see more of little interviews like that.

    Linette’s advice on net worth is really important will keep this in mind. I was just a little bit disturbed with her quote “Move forward until physically restrained”. Health is so important and if not understood the right way this quote could mean pushing yourself regardless of your physical limits, can you clarify this please?


  • Leah says:

    Great tips!

  • Mavis Guo says:

    This article is so sweet and useful! <3

  • Anne says:

    I needed this. Thank you Chriselle and Linette! This was a huge eye opener. I loved it! Keep rocking you two! 🙂 | Bloglovin’ | Instagram

  • La Bijoux Bella | by mia says:

    Great post with wonderful tips and ideas! Love it! 🙂
    Merci for sharing.

    ❤LA BIJOUX BELLA❤ | BY MIA | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

  • […] and personal life. One of those women is my dear best friend Linette. from The Chriselle Factor from Tumblr […]

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