What I Do (Living in the "Slashes")

In the process of recent work interactions, I've been told by several people that I should clarify who I am and what I do - that I'm more than just a grunt intern for Health 2.0 (still one of the best jobs I've ever held, by the way Matthew and Indu).

When people ask me for my job title, I have a tough time responding. Here's why...I don't have just one job title. Going back to a typical desk job would be the equivalent of solitary confinement.

I live in the middle of multiple 'slashes.'

As Rosetta Thurman explained at the last Women Rule DC meetup, the 'slashes' are hash marks that divide the terms we use to describe who we are and what we do (dentist/dog groomer/painter/dad, etc).

The more slashes you have, the busier you are...more slashes also equals more potential for a frenetic rather than fulfilling life.

If I put all of who I am into just the professional 'slashes,' that would be one hell of a run-on sentence.

But it's vital, now more than ever, for me to consider the 'slashes' I've chosen very carefully.

Designing and building the Nexthealth app is quite a journey, and my work-life balance, ever perilous, is slipping ever more towards 80% work, 20% life (or thereabouts).

I decided to do a little exercise and see - when I introduce myself, what comes up first? Work or life? Does my work eclipse my other passions?

Today, over coffee, I gave myself 10 minutes of quiet time and an even split - 10 and 10 to describe what I do and who I am. Here's what evolved from the evaluation.

Bloggers' Note: If you're struggling through building a startup, I highly recommend this exercise. It helps you refocus, and sometimes, just maybe, helps you make peace with yourself about the fact that, ahem, you might as well admit it....

Work may be life. But it's not all there is.

So, here are some of the things that I do (in no particular order):

1. Vice Chair, MEDBANK of Maryland, Inc. (nonprofit Board, unpaid, 2 years)

2. Newsletter Committee Member, Dress for Success of Washington DC (nonprofit, volunteer, 1 year)

3. Health 2.0 Grunt Intern/Analyst (yes, still, unpaid, although we've changed this title to "Ranger" - ask Matthew Holt about that one)

4. Health 2.0 Volunteer Coordinator - User Generated Healthcare (unpaid, this upcoming Health 2.0 conference)

5. Health 2.0 Speaker Liaison - User Generated Healthcare (paid, this upcoming Health 2.0 conference)

6. Health Policy Blogger - HealthCentral.com (paid)

7. Blogger, Health Management Rx (unpaid)

8. Blogger, Nexthealth.NL (unpaid)

9. Co-Founder, Nexthealth (bootstrapped, international hybrid collaborative nonprofit)

10. Co-Creator, Nexthealth App (bootstrapped, with Maarten den Braber, Brad Sugar, support from Nexthealth NL team)

And here are some of the things that say more about who I am (in no particular order):

1. Cigars. Definitely not just for men.

2. Ancient Egyptian history.

3. Old-fashioned drinks, including dirty martinis, bloody marys, and single malt lowland Scotch.

4. Enthusiastic player of badminton (when I don't get too excited and smash it way out of bounds).

5. Can't cook a fried egg to save my life, but I make a mean Egg Beaters' zucchini frittata.

6. Family. Mostly bugging me not to work so much. And loving me despite the fact that I don't listen. Sometimes. Well, most of the time.

7. Reading. Anything, and everything. I share a bunch of the professional reading I do on Twitter via links, etc. Current passion = genetics.

8. Being an e-patient. Fell asleep at the wheel and hit an 8 foot iron ships' anchor dead on. Multiple surgeries ensue. Don't worry - I can probably still kick your butt at Spinning.

9. Art. Which I buy on Ebay, or from street artists. Favorite sculpture = paper clip free form dachshund.

10. Travel. Homebase in Rotterdam. Family in MD, VA. Lots of time spent in DC for work. I love airports, travel size shampoo. The things that say this discomfiture is only temporary - think about the next exciting leg of the journey yet to come.

Nice to meet you.


Berci Meskó said...

It was so interesting to read all of these things about you. I hope you will tell me even more details next week. :)

I'm also thinking about writing a similar post.

Vijay said...

Nice to meet you too, Jen.