It turns out I have one thing in common with Jack Torrance, the character played by Jack Nicholson in the 1980 movie The Shining (from which the title of this blog post is inspired). Like him, I require a healthy work/life balance. That is about the only thing we have in common, however.
If you’ve never seen the movie, Jack — a former teacher and aspiring novelist — takes a job as the caretaker of a secluded hotel during its off-season. The isolation of the job (among other factors) ends up driving him mad.
Perhaps if Jack had chosen a different career path, he could have maintained his sanity.
My career path was a windy one prior to joining Two Rivers Marketing. Each of my previous jobs was a good learning experience, but none proved to be the long-term career I had originally envisioned. In two out of the three previous jobs, I would cite lack of work/life balance as one (if not the primary) reason I left. I would also cite it as a major reason why I still work at Two Rivers Marketing after more than four years.
“Have you ever thought for a single, solitary moment about my responsibilities to my employers?”
This is the question Jack poses to his wife, during a time of duress. This question and his actions that followed (see the movie for more details) suggest Jack values career over all — even his family. I take my responsibilities to my employer very seriously, but I also believe my employer has responsibilities to me. Luckily, Two Rivers Marketing feels the same way.
One thing Two Rivers Marketing does really well is set realistic expectations about deadlines. Not only does this ensure we put out high-quality work, but it ensures our employees aren’t working 70-hour weeks — something that is unfortunately pretty common in our industry.
Our workweeks can also be broken up with flexible lunch schedules, summer flex hours and a very generous offering of PTO. Since starting here, I’ve never had the sense that work is interfering with anything I want to do in my personal life — and I’ve had a lot going on in the last four years (wedding, honeymoon, extended leave during the birth of my first child, etc).
Work and play are not mutually exclusive
Work/life balance isn’t just about what I’m doing outside of work. Having a life at work is also important, and it’s something that our company definitely recognizes. In fact, our annual Iowa Cubs game outing was last week, and it was a blast as always.
The I-Cubs game is just one of the many perks of working here. Other events Two Rivers Marketing puts on regularly include scavenger hunts, monthly recreation Fridays, volunteer time off and more. Many of the events revolve around charitable contributions, such as the Special Olympics Plane Pull and the Special Olympics “Over the Edge” event, in which one of our employees rappels down the side of one of the city’s tallest building.
Long story short — we have something to look forward to every month. Jack didn’t have that luxury.
If work is what you love, it’s not work
Work/life balance is a major factor, but ultimately, being creatively challenged at work is what keeps me coming back every day. Jack wanted to be a novelist, but settled for being a caretaker of a hotel, leaving him creatively unfulfilled and tied to his job 24/7. He subsequently went nuts. I enjoy writing, making videos and having plenty of free time outside of work. I didn’t settle until I found an employer that allowed me to do so.
Now that I’ve found what I’m looking for, I plan to stick around for a long time, because interesting work and lots of play make John not insane.