Here we all are, a few months into the second year of pandemic life. I’m sure many people, myself included, are struggling with how they intend to balance both work and life this summer while continuing to stay motivated. Restrictions are loosening, and again tightening in some areas, vaccination numbers continue to increase, people are beginning to feel more comfortable taking part in things, but also there are areas where we are seeing a scaling back again to less comfort. I sat down with a few of the Women of CHESA members in a casual virtual brunch to get their take on this new way of life, the struggles they’ve faced and their techniques for overcoming them.
- Sarah Shechner – Territory Sales Manager – West & Central
- Marina Blandino – Director of Support Services and Customer Success
- Sierra O’Connor – Territory Sales Manager- East
- Leslie Perzan – Federal Inside Sales
Q.) How have you had to change your mindset after 15 months of pandemic life?
A.) Sarah Shechner:
- I haven’t really experienced the being free part yet because I just got my second vaccine. I think the biggest thing during the pandemic that changed was not being able to see the team and not being able to see clients, especially when I was transitioning them to new account managers. I mean I completely switched roles right as the pandemic was ramping up. I remember I was supposed to go out to Baltimore for training, but things were starting to lock down and I didn’t want to get stuck in Baltimore so I asked if we could do it remotely and we did so my role completely changed during the pandemic from direct account management to territory sales manager operations.
Q.) How do you plan to balance work/life during the summer months?
A.) Sierra O’Connor
- I think it’s important to have time that you unplug and completely check out, which I feel is still very hard for all of us to do. I know every time I go to bed I”m checking emails, as soon as I wake up, checking emails. Actually taking the time to unplug and even if that means at 5.15 every day I’m not going to respond to anything. I feel like I’m going to try this summer to take evenings as evenings and not as “extended on call” hours.
Q.) How do you self motivate when the feeling just isn’t there?
A.) Leslie Perzan
- I prioritize what needs to be done immediately and go from there. When my list piles up, it makes me want to do things less. If I am able to make myself see a “doable” list I tend to be more motivated and then I’m able to get a groove back.
Q.) How do you overcome the mental fatigue often felt from prolonged working hours?
A.) Marina Blandino
- It’s been literally the hardest thing to do because it’s not normally my personality but for my health, for setting boundaries, it’s something that you have to learn over time. For me personally, I have needs outside of work and if I put those last I’m not performing at the level I can be. If all I do is work and I have nothing else, then what am I really working for? For me, in particular it was important to set a balance and to know it’s ok if I do disconnect and that if I do the world isn’t going to be on fire. My team is aware that if it’s truly an emergency, call me, I’m not going to sit on Slack or check my email. If you really need me, if something is urgent, call me. I think it’s hard especially for women, because we’re trying to prove ourselves ten times over.
Q.) Would you say you work more hours now than pre-pandemic?
A.) Sierra O’Connor
- Yes but I will say I feel like I do take more breaks during the day. I’ll go for a walk or I’ll do a quick workout in the middle of the day, whereas if I’m in the Office a lunch break it’s non-existent.
Q.) What are you most looking forward to doing once we have free reign of the world again?
- Travel, definitely travel. I want to go to Alaska. I want to go to Asia. I want to go back to Italy and back to Spain
- I’m excited for weddings. I think I have five weddings this year that are postponed and my sister is getting married. Being in group scenarios where you don’t have to worry about hugging your grandma.
- I’m excited to see my family. I’m super close with my grandmother and I haven’t seen her in almost two years now. When I was in Maryland I saw them every three months or less. I’m to the point where I am ready to see them and my mom and my dad. This being my mom’s first grandchild, I am super stoked.
- Traveling is definitely something I miss. I’ve gotten to do a little more recently but part of the IT industry and part of this job that I love is being able to travel and network. Being able to meet vendors, customers, etc. in person or a new destination is a human and sales interaction that you really don’t get virtually.
About the Author: Ashley Williams is a Project Manager at CHESA and co-founder of Women of CHESA.
Coffee Talk with the Women of CHESA: This Women of CHESA blog series is where we discuss mentorship, what inspires us, our professional journeys, and the challenges we face.
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