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I am so excited to introduce Arielle is super smart (like, PhD smart) and takes on a lot of roles in her day to day. Read on to learn about her quest for balance and what she does in her (limited) free time.

Hi! Who are you?! What do you do?
Hi! My name is Arielle Linsky, and I am a second year PhD student in Clinical Psychology. This position is divided between 4 main roles: (1) Researcher: I am part of the Social and Emotional Learning Lab. We conduct community action-research projects promoting social and emotional and character development in schools. In other words, we teach kids to be smart with their hearts. (2) Clinician: I see clients for psychotherapy in our in-house community clinic, and as part of the behavioral medicine team at a family medicine practice. (3) Student: I take courses, just like normal school! (4) Teacher: sometimes I teach undergrads.

Work/Life/Passion Balance, what’s your method?
Ahhh, the quest for balance is ongoing! Probably my 3 strongest sources of “life” in the work/life balance are spending time with friends and family, exercising, and cooking. More specifically, I’m pretty obsessed with yoga, and with the classes offered at the Rutgers gym (surprisingly high quality!), and with good food- especially involving avocados and recently, fresh tomatoes.  Another key component to my survival in grad school so far, is that I have my TV on wheels in the center of my studio apartment. This means I literally can watch from anywhere- leading to lots of Netflix while I cook, get ready, do “work”, etc. One struggle has been finding time to get out to one of my favorite places in the world- The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Hole in the Wall is a camp for kids with serious illness, and it’s pretty much magic. The “work” balance part of the equation is made possible, in part, because, I’m really lucky to love what I’m doing. I get a lot of joy from the learning and critical thinking involved in my research and classes, and I love the direct interaction I get to have during client sessions and while teaching. I try to remember how much I love and learn from this stuff when it’s midnight and I still have class reading to do, a client note to write, and research emails to respond to… 🙂

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Well, I’ll say this, I spent a lot (and I mean A LOT) of time daydreaming about becoming a professional figure skater. Unfortunately, my moves on the ice, or lack thereof, never quite caught up to my dreams…

Now that you’re pretty much a grown-up, what do you think you’re going to be when you grow up?
I’ll probably be a firefighter. No, but for real, I’ll probably be a researcher/clinician in some setting- either academic or as part of a teaching hospital, at least for starters. Then… we’ll see!

Thanks for chatting! Where can folks find more info about you?
We are in the process of upgrading our lab website, so stay tuned for that, but for now, you can find out more about the Rutgers Social and Emotional Learning Lab here: http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~melias/. Also, if you’re interested, you can check out the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp here, do it, it’s an awesome place!: http://www.holeinthewallgang.org.

Anything else you want to share?
I’m so honored to have been interviewed for this site. Rikki- you’re awesome for doing this blog!  I didn’t pay her to say that. Seriously. 

I’m really excited to introduce someone who’s made changes in their career to make a bit more of a mesh between work and play, Len Yeh! He’s a pretty incredible human, so let’s get right to it!

Hi! Who are you?! What do you do?
I’m an experience designer with a focus on fitness and education. Currently, I’m helping a non-profit educational tech startup build a web application to better the math education in our country.

Work/Life/Passion Balance, what’s your method?
Balance–in the traditional idea of leading a bisected life with neat compartments for work and play–never worked well for me. I gave that a shot early on, and I quickly found myself trying to live two separate lives that weren’t feeding into each other. I was always involved with things at odds with each other, like going out to party and keeping up with my fitness. I was terrible at identifying conflicting goals and tasks. Since the people I socialized with mainly just drank a lot and stayed up until 4AM, I was, not surprisingly, in the worst shape of my life. When one part of your life wants to go left, and the other part wants to go right, you just end up standing still.

My strategy became alignment, so that the “work” and “play” parts of my life would largely go in one direction. I began to hang out more with people who were also interested in health and wellness, so it was always easy to call it an early night and get some sleep. I was a digital producer at the time, and changed my job to become a UX designer, as it was the role I was playing in for all my personal projects and hobbies. I no longer had to introduce myself as “ABC during the day, XYZ at night.” I was just XYZ all the time.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m currently designing digital math lessons for young students at work. One of the things I’m doing outside of work is studying to get certified as a personal trainer. These two things certainly look misaligned at a glance, but my personal experiences with fitness have given me a lot of background in behavioral change, willpower, and motivation. Now, my work with education reciprocates by giving me better insight on how to distill information down to teach people how to make fitness work for them.

When your life is aligned, you’re actually always working, but you’re also always playing (and learning). That could actually sound like a nightmare for some people who aren’t interested in that lifestyle. I’m not in the business of shaming people who aren’t doing what I’m doing.

For those who think alignment sounds nice, I have to say that it’s a privilege, and not everyone is in position to make the alignment without difficulty. If you’re an investment banker and love theater, I’d assume alignment is going to be more difficult and harder to explain to people, though not impossible. My story here is abridged, and I don’t want to make it seem like finding better “balance” or “alignment” was easy or risk-free. You can’t underestimate the amount of commitment and luck needed. I am fortunate after taking some calculated risks and putting some conviction into my actions.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Honestly, I probably thought I was going to become a dog and rename myself Scotch.

I don’t know that I thought I was going to be anything. I had a pocket response, telling people I was going to become a veterinarian. In hindsight, it was probably my first taste of rebellion. All the adults want your answer to be “doctor,” so that was my 5-year-old way of saying, “fuck you! I’m NOT going to be a doctor…for humans.”

Now that you’re pretty much a grown-up, what do you think you’re going to be when you grow up?
I don’t know.

If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that our desires and environments are constantly changing. I’m pretty happy with what I do now, but my profession didn’t even exist when I was a kid. I’m sure I could be something in 10 years that I don’t even think is possible. I could also be something much worse.

Thanks for chatting! Where can folks find more info about you?
I’m @fishbonedice everywhere on the internet, and I park some of my creative work on fishbonedice.com

I’ve been trying to write more, and last year I published an article on Medium about Vin Diesel and success. There’s a concept in there that I titled “Always Be Closing the Gap” that I think is relevant for the audience here. I can’t take credit for it. I discovered it on Quora by an awesome writer named Oliver Emberton, who I try to share any chance I get. His original post is here: http://www.quora.com/At-age-25-would-you-pursue-a-good-paying-corporate-job-that-makes-you-unhappy-or-a-hobby-that-makes-you-happy-but-has-no-guarantee-to-pay-the-bills/answer/Oliver-Emberton

I’m not exaggerating when saying that post was one of the large triggers that got me to live my life with more intention.

Anything else you want to share?
I want to thank you for doing what you’re doing and being so consistent with it. You are an active inspiration to me and the work/play that I plan on doing. Hopefully the readers who follow Workhappi feel the same.

I’M BLUSHING SO HARD RIGHT NOW

Now for the second part in our two-part series learning about how Alexa, our double-careerist makes space for work, life and passion. If you want to catch up, read Part 1 here.

How do you feel about your work/life/passion? How do you feel like it will evolve?
I have the best job in the world.  I get paid to backpack 20 miles a day off trail at 10,000ft and catch frogs.  But my work is seasonal, temporary, and without benefits.  Looking forward to a life with more permanence and stability, I am addressing the differences between wants and needs to guide career decisions.  I need a home, a community, daily exercise in the mountains, and time with my amazing husband.  I want (but may need) to think critically and problem solve, to make things with my hands, and to live in a place I love.  I don’t want to feel like I can’t afford avocados, or fresh berries, or a teeth cleaning, or a new exhaust system…

What are some things that sorta hold you back?
I make a lot of excuses to NOT pursue the things I love.  I have a hard time taking risks.

What do you do in your free time to get more passion in your life?
I bake my own bread and crackers and make my own yogurt when I have time.  I run and ski and climb but rarely take ownership of risk in the latter two.  I do yoga on my own but usually call it “active stretching” because I don’t want to buy in too much.  Not much in this world is better than sleeping in with the person you love, enjoying a breakfast of bagels and lox and stove-top espresso, going out for an afternoon hike, ski tour, run, or climb, and finishing off the day with tasty homemade dinner.  Oh, and reading is WAY better than watching Netflix but sometimes TV happens….

When you were little, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?
As a kid, I honestly didn’t know what I would be when I grew up. I thought I would figure it out as I went along.  And, now that I am partially grown up, I still don’t know what I will be when I am fully grown up, or if I will EVER fully grow up for that matter.

I will say that as a child,
1) the bottoms of my feet were usually black and tough from running around barefoot outside;
2) I had a sketchbook and enjoyed arts and crafts time;
3) I would conduct week long experiments in the bathtub to create the perfect bath product concoction, and when my mom would invariably knock one of my incubations over while shaving her legs, the experiment would have to start over from scratch and I would not be pleased; and
4) I put myself down for naptime regularly.

So, not much has changed, except that I am worse about the sketchbook and better about the experiments.

Now that you’re grown up, what will you be?
An ecologist-baker-printmaker-mom-homesteader, of course.

How can we find you if we want to learn more?
Rikki Goldenberg has used smoke signals in the past with pretty good results.

Anything else you want to share?
Um, when a page won’t load on Chrome, ever wonder why there is a dinosaur at the top of the message?  Try pressing the spacebar once, and then press it again, and watch that dinosaur…

So there you have it folks! But, one of the last bits of advice Alexa shared may have been my favorite:
It was actually good for me to write these sorts of thoughts down.  I’ve been going back and forth about returning to school for ecology since September, and I just need to do it.  It is time to commit, because committing to something is better than waiting to commit to the “right” thing.  There is no “right” thing at the end of the day.  I do not believe in soul-mates, and I do not believe in a soul-career.  In both cases of mate and career, the chemistry needs to be there, but so does the effort to make things work.  Its about making the choice right, not so much about making the right choice.  Masters (or PhD…..) in ecology, here I come.

Here’s to committing to try new – scary- things! Thanks Alexa!!

If you’re interested in telling me about your own work/life/passion balance creation, shoot me a note at workhappi AT gmail.

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