I'm so excited to kick off the Everyday Professionals spotlight features. Occasionally, I'll interview someone who is totally rocking the professional work / creative life balance.
First up is Andrea, who, in the past year, has launched an incredibly successful creative blog which features DIY projects, memory-keeping projects, and other lifestyle topics. If you are familiar with her, you may already know that Andrea is the queen of organisation. I was really interested in hearing about how Andrea balances her work life and free time, and was thrilled when she agreed to answer some questions.
Tell me about your job. How long have you been working in your field?
I work at an insurance company for unemployed people. Here in Switzerland we have an insurance for people who lost their job. My job is it to check if they are allowed to get money from the government and if so, how much. It is a very interesting and diversified job but also stressful and exhausting at the same time. No day is like the other because every case is different. I work in this field since 2009. I work in an office with four people and I’m sitting at my computer the whole day.
What does your standard work day look like?
I leave home at around 7.30am and start working at 8am. First thing first, I start my computer and check my e-mails. Then I go through a few lists to see what I have to do today. I roughly plan my day considering what tasks I have to accomplish. A few mornings during the week we also offer telephone service and people can come over to ask their questions. Two days a week it’s my job to answer the phone and talk to the insured people. Around 12.30pm I make a 30 minutes lunch break. I usually eat leftovers from last nights dinner to save money. At 1pm I’m back at my desk and work for another four hours. At 5pm I’m leaving the office and travel back home.
Does your job have creative elements?
No, not even one. But that is okay. As much as I love to be creative I also like playing with numbers and write official letters. My organisation skills are also useful in this job.
How do you find the time for both your professional responsibilities and your creative hobbies?
The most important thing is, that when I am at work I focus on my work and when I am at home I can focus on my private life where creative hobbies are a part of. I make sure to draw a strict line between professional and personal. I had to learn that working isn’t everything and that it’s important to leave all work related stuff at the office. My responsibilities are complete as soon as I close the door at the office.
During the weekdays I don’t work on many crafty projects in the evenings. Most of the time I’m just too exhausted and all I do is prep and eat dinner with my boyfriend, watch some television and knit a little bit. In the evenings I also write some first drafts for future blog posts and I like to read before I go to sleep.
I only work part time (80%) from Monday through Thursday. Fridays are reserved for working on my blog. This includes writing blog posts, editing photos and making projects for the blog. Saturdays and Sundays are for activities with friends and my boyfriend and I also make sure to include a few crafty projects on those days.
Do you ever worry about the effect your online presence could have on your career? If so, how have you guarded against that?
No, I don’t worry about that. Basically because I am proud of what I share online. What I do in my free time is totally up to me and no one can say something against that as long as it doesn’t effect my work.
At the moment I work in an area where I have some special clients. And because I don’t want that they are able to google me and find something about me (like where I live) I make sure to only share my first name online. I also don’t write about where I live. For all you know, I’m Andrea from Switzerland. But that’s all.
If my online presence would be a problem for the company I think it’s not the right company for me to work at.
What is your most valuable career advice for others?
For me the most important thing is to have a healthy work-life balance. That’s it. If you have a balance between working time and free time both sides benefit from each other.