We share lots of fun things with you all on the Choice blog, but we also want to share the more honest aspects of our careers. One of the more talked about ideas in the last several years has been the concept of work/life dynamic. Some people believe there’s a way to achieve balance between the two. Some think the idea of it should be thrown out the window. On the Choice blog, we’re going to be sharing our thoughts on the subject and things we’ve observed as professionals who work a job where one side of the dynamic can often outweigh the other. As we share this series, we would love to know what you think about work/life dynamic. What are your best tips and tricks to make sure you feel fulfilled in both areas?

As I approached graduating from college, I concentrated my job search in two areas: Memphis and Nashville, Tenn. They were both close to home and both places I had visited many times. Like so many people, I was drawn to Nashville because of its busyness, frenetic energy, restaurants, music and more. I loved Memphis as well, but Nashville was – and still seems to be – THE place of the moment. A month after I graduated, I interviewed with the Choice team and began working the following month. Because we can work remotely, I didn’t move to Nashville until about six months later.

Moving to Nashville I only knew a few people and, honestly, felt a bit swallowed up by Music City. Yes, there were endless options of things to do, restaurants to try and music to be heard, but how did I begin to carve out a place, a community for myself? When you go to college, everyone is looking for new friends. After you graduate, it can feel a bit like you’ve been thrown off a cliff. There’s no real roadmap and all of a sudden, you’re adjusting to a career, a new city and everything else that comes along with “adulting.” Please know that the few years following graduation can be really hard on anyone, whether you go to graduate school, start a job or pursue another avenue all together. I have friends who have traveled all of those roads and there’s been one general consensus among all of us: this is just a weird phase of life. You’re figuring out a new schedule, (sometimes) a new city, new routines and navigating new friendships while also staying in contact with old friends. Regardless of where you are, I think it’s important to remember something: be invested in your current situation. We want to be honest with our readers, so I have to tell you that I learned this lesson from doing the opposite. I spend a lot of weekends traveling to visit family and friends in other places. This is absolutely my choice and my fault, but I’ve come to learn that it’s difficult to establish a community when you’re not often present on the weekends.

So, how have I found a way to be involved in this booming city? I pursued something, outside of my job, that I was already passionate about. For a summer in college, I interned with ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and one that stuck with me. Since that time, I’ve stayed involved with the organization. When I moved to Nashville, I reached out to the local St. Jude office and asked if they needed any volunteers. Soon after, I became the PR/Marketing Chair for the Nashville St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer. Through that position, I was able to combine my love for St. Jude with my love for PR. It also became a great way to meet people and gave me the opportunity to volunteer at other events in the city.

Were you in a Greek organization that has a local presence where you can get involved? Is there a league you can join for a sport you love to play? Is there a charity that you would love to support? Whatever your “thing” is, go find it. When you move somewhere new, it’s a great place to start to get know people who have a shared interest as a foundation for new relationships. And, most importantly, be present where life has you right now. Whether it’s your hometown, graduate school or a booming city, invest in the people around you.

    AUTHOR: Maggie Rheney
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