The people behind the people science: A true work/life balance

May 24, 2016 Maura Foley

During my interviews at Civis, I asked every Civi about workload. Against the guidance of interview tip listicles, career counselors, and even my own mother, I did not couch my questions in interview-speak. Instead of asking “What does your typical day look like?”, hoping someone would give me a clue as to work/life balance at Civis, I was (almost too) straightforward: “When do you get here, when do you leave? How many hours a week would you say you work? How often do you take work home?”

I was afraid to end up in a workplace where being present was the proxy for working hard. Where loyalty and potential are measured in billable hours. Conversely, I was equally wary of a workplace where afternoons are spent staring at the clock, waiting for 5 o’clock. Eighty hours a week or eight hours a day; two mutually exclusive and unsatisfying options. As a data scientist, I viewed it as a simple classification problem. Collect as much data as possible in order to place Civis in the proper end node.

My interviewers didn’t give me a consistent answer that day, because at Civis, we offer a flexible work environment. It’s not about clocking in and out. For most of us, the work is what you make it. You end your day when the work is done to your satisfaction. I personally have worked a few late nights, but I do not begrudge them. I wouldn’t be able to tell you how many 50+ hour weeks I’ve worked, because I honestly don’t keep track. When a job doesn’t measure your worth in hours, you stop measuring hours, and start measuring work you are proud of.

What I can tell you is: I cook or bake almost every day. I go out with friends. I read books. I’ve got more paid vacation time than I know what to do with. I take sick days when I’m ill and need to take care of myself. I work from home when I need to, though I prefer to come in to see the 100+ coworkers I have the joy to know. I graduated with my Master’s degree and a gaggle of Cives showed up to toast me. I know if and when I choose to start a family, I will be supported 100%.

Most importantly: I have meaningful, rewarding work. I’m challenged, and being challenged means I can’t be an island. I get constructive feedback, my manager cares about me, and every single person I work with is immensely helpful. I’m happy I didn’t take the advice of everyone else out there when I was interviewing. I was true to who I am and what I need. I’ve been fortunate to find at Civis, I’m given the autonomy I thrive on with an incredible amount of support when needed.

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