Part Outdoor Scientist, Part Ski Instructor: Alexa’s Work/Life/Passion Balance – Part 1

We’re excited to share with you Alexa’s take on managing work, life and passion in a two-part series. Alexa is a biological science technician for the Department of Interior from April to October and a ski instructor from December to March. Her story is one that shows just how you can truly craft your own approach to work and joy – and location.

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.

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