Designing an Integrated Career
Every few months we feature one of the pioneers that make up the ThirdPath community … Read on to learn how our amazing board member, Elizabeth Hall, crafted her integrated career.
Elizabeth Hall – “Pivoting” to Accommodate Work and Life.
Recently, Elizabeth helped coordinate a company-wide pivot that allowed her 5,000-person health care company to become fully remote. Elizabeth joined this organization six years ago. Today, she is Vice President of Employee Experience.
For example, when her son Spencer was born 17 years ago, the world was a different place. She also had a vision of trying to be both a working person and a parent, crafting a plan that felt pretty innovative considering the lack of successful examples in her circle of friends, family and coworkers. That’s a brave thing to do.
“I thought, well, I know my company doesn’t really have anyone who telecommutes, but maybe they will let me work from Portland. I also knew they weren’t going to fire me for asking. So, I went to my boss with a proposal: I could come down to Los Angeles every other week for four days, and the rest of the time I’d work from home in Portland.” Her boss said yes.
Elizabeth imagined only commuting every other week for a short while, but the arrangement lasted for two and a half years, with the company paying for Elizabeth’s travel.
Once again, it was time to pivot.
After Spencer was born, she decided she would resign, thinking she would be a full-time mom for a while. That was until her husband was laid off. “So there we were, with a baby and no jobs.”
Fortunately, Elizabeth’s former employer was happy to take her on as a part-time consultant, allowing her to work while still spending time with Spencer. This also taught Elizabeth how much, “It pays to really invest in those relationships, and to do good work.”
Time passed, and it became clear that Elizabeth was going to be the primary income earner in the family. Elizabeth found a new job that proved to be exciting, and full of opportunities for travel and success. But it also demanded a lot of time, and that took its toll.
Free for you! ThirdPath handout:
Launching an Integrated Career
“I felt like I didn’t have enough time for my child. I didn’t have enough time for my spouse. I didn’t have enough time for friends or family.” It was time to make another change.
Ultimately, she wanted to find a job that would be a better fit for her as a parent. She also wanted time to invest in her marriage to see if she and her ex-husband could turn things around, but they couldn’t.
Around this time her mother’s second husband also passed away. And once again, Elizabeth thoughtfully observed all of these new realities and rose to meet them, including the fact that if her mom wanted to spend time with Spencer, the time was now.
After considering a number of options, her mother said, ‘What if we just got a big ass house?’” This sounded appealing to Elizabeth, but life had also taught her it would be important to test-run the idea. So that is what they did, they found a big house she and her mom could rent, and the experience has been absolutely wonderful for everyone.
Today, when describing how she’s helped her current employer manage the changes connected to the pandemic, it’s easy to see how she continues to draw from her strength in having brave conversations and pivoting as needed.
Of course, Elizabeth first gives a lot of credit to her organization. But the idea of doing a test run before going fully remote came from carefully observing both her work and life experiences.
It turns out Spencer’s school was very close to the first reported U.S. virus outbreak. When this happened, the school sent all of the kids home. Then after a few days, they were ready to test virtual learning for a full school-day. It went so well, they never returned to school. She decided there was a lot to gain from doing a test run in her organization as well.
We picked a specific day and communicated our plan. “We told everybody to take their laptop and go home for a day.” The test day went pretty well, and ten days later the state instituted a stay-at-home lockdown. They were ready.
Just as before, Elizabeth found a way to draw from both sides of her experiences—in life and work—and pivot.
“You know,” Elizabeth remarked, “We’re all the same people, no matter where we go, so the skills you hone at work help you be successful at home, and the skills you hone at home help you be successful at work.”
She also learned, “You might not be able to solve everything at the beginning, because you don’t know what is going to happen, but you can solve what is right in front of you. You can evolve. You can do it.”
Want to meet Elizabeth Hall? Join our Thursday webinar on 11/12/20 @ 1pm ET. Register here.