Back when I wrote the post about work/life/passion balance, I started thinking it would be super cool to hear from people who are focusing on finding some balance between those three areas. I reached out to a few friends, and am looking forward to sharing some of their thoughts/responses with all of you!
Here’s the first part of a two-part session with Alexa, a biological science technician April-October, working for a bureau within the Department of the Interior, and December – March as a ski instructor in Washington state.
What kind of work do you do?
At the Department of the Interior, the research projects I work on vary in scale, scope, and subject – from grasses to amphibians, from killing invasive species to saving endangered ones, from desert riparian corridors to alpine meadows and lakes. As a ski instructor, my main bread and butter is ripping around the mountain with 4-6 year olds. Sometimes trying, but generally adorable.
What are some things that make work “work” for you?
Structure. A job gives me purpose and structure, which in turn helps me manage my free time better. My dad says, “If you want something done, give it to a busy Alexa.” Catch-22, but I waste my time when I have limitless amounts of it. I work well with structure but without being micromanaged. My ideal work environment provides a loose framework within which I can work creatively and with autonomy.
Meaning. I need to work, and my work needs meaning. I am not put together to have my work simply fund my free time. Work does not need to be awe-inspiring or profound, but it must have a purpose I can get behind.
Repetition. All jobs have repetitive elements. I do best when my job requires some creativity, problem-solving, or new human interaction on a regular basis. If not, I better be working outside in a beautiful place.
Outside time. Getting paid to play outside is great. I currently get paid to backpack and ski, and I have been paid to hike, canoe, climb, and play in the mud in the past. But no one pays you that much to play outside. Its a trade-off.
Check in next week to learn more about what Alexa does in her free time, how she’s planning for the future and how I normally try to reach her.