Let's talk about values!
Values and culture have moved to the center of the employment relationship. Whether they be social impact, environmental or work-life balance, values are critical to self-identification. Most everyone wants to be somewhere that aligns with their values. It took me quite a while to understand which values were important to me. After all, I was getting paid well, had some say in what I worked on, and had stability. In most cases, that's all you can ask for. This lack of value definition was acceptable to me until we moved across the country twice, and a global pandemic broke out.
COVID will probably be the single most significant human event I will witness in my lifetime. It changed how we all work and interact. I am fortunate to work in a field that was already remote ready and working at a company that was well suited for remote work. Naively, I figured I'd be home for a few weeks, and life would get back to normal. That didn't happen.
What did happen is that I spent a tremendous amount of time with my wife and kids, experienced small things I usually wouldn't have, and gained a greater sense of what I valued. Inadvertently, I also realized I worked too much. This habit was made even worse with the "live at work" situation. It was all too easy to work long hours and weekends because there was nothing else to do. COVID blurred the lines between life and work. Hustle and grind culture was something I valued, but the cost wasn't particularly apparent until COVID. In some ways, I had put my career ahead of my family & personal health, which I didn't even realize.
Sometime before COVID, a co-worker sent me a book: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. Reading it brought definition to something I knew but couldn't quite pin down. Due to these extreme circumstances and, by extension, these realizations around work-life balance: my values had changed and didn't necessarily align with my current situation. Frankly, I had put too many of my f*cks in my career and not enough in my family & personal wellbeing. I knew it was time for a change in my work environment and that I needed to recognize the evolution of my values.
Luckily, it didn't take long, and I have found somewhere different to work. My new employer's values align closer to mine: it's a remote-first culture that encourages work-life harmony. It's not 9-5 as much as work when you feel you are the most productive. They have introduced recharge Friday's which encourage employees to pursue whatever hobbies or activities they want. They even have an entire handbook dedicated to asynchronous work and home office ergonomics.
Values are very personal, and we don't always recognize their effect on our lives until it's too late. Money and titles are nice, but they can't buy me what I value most: time. This new chapter will allow me to travel with my wife, play with my kids, walk my dog, and give me time to be me.