One of my coworkers asked me where I see myself in five years on a personal level, and I honestly couldn’t answer it without including my professional self and my career goals. That’s just the facts. You read all this great advice about how to manage that work-life balance: set your out-of-office notifications, choose a hard stop time for your work days, turn your IM notifications off, stop checking email on weekends etc. etc. However, the reality is that we spend more time at work, with work, and talking about work than we do with almost anything else at the end of the day, week or year (fiscal or calendar!). So, what’s my point?

How you leave your footprint at the workplace should 100% be a reflection of your authentic self. Imagine your employer tasking you to go out to lunch with one coworker (at a time) on his dime and learn something specifically personal about them; something that’s not work-related, something that maybe your other team members don’t know about him or her. I might add that out of 9 team members, I am the only remote employee. So, instead of lunching, I got to take coffee breaks and have FaceTime chats with the team. *Working remote can make a person feel totally isolated, but this task broke down any of those barriers (pro-tip). I got to sit back and literally shoot the shit with my team – zero agenda, no rush and no pressure, which was really cool. From that one-on-one, we started a vision board reflecting what we took away from our time together. Being the techy types, we turned to the mother of all vision boards and began a companywide Pinterest Page. Everyone pinned away their discoveries. It was really interesting how spot on each persons board was, a total genuine reflection of them! Last week, we were all together in NYC and did a fantastic team-building session led by Vivian Groman from GroCoaching. This experiment was integrated into the session, and I have to say that even our coach was pretty impressed with how cohesive we were as a team, as well as how true we are to the Core Values that define FiveFifty. It’s amazing how breaking down the generic barriers of the daily grind makes everything a little easier. My takeaway from this experience was priceless because my career is such a huge part of my life, and who I am outside of the office directly relates to the work I do inside. Being authentic goes a long way, and why wouldn’t you want to really care about the people that bring it 365!

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