Meraki – as a life philosophy, is a one way ticket to burn out (but I wouldn’t change it)

I have this print hanging in my office, not as a reminder but a statement of fact – I do this work with soul, with creativity, and yes even with love. (photo cred & Etsy store here). I have found myself in a role I’m well suited for, leading teams to build and manage digital products (more on that later), in technology – a field that is disrupting the way that virtually every part of life and the economy functions. And there is so much potential and so much that could be done that could add good in the world on a grand scale – or even just automate a bit and make somebody’s life a little better! – that it can feel daunting. With that kind of charge and with that intense meraki guidance, its hard to stop sometimes when I can ‘just get a little more done.’

Obsessive, much? Maybe at times. Perfectionist? Working hard on that.

I am also a parent. A single parent at that – but it’s no contest, everyone has loved ones and interests and meaning outside of work if they are lucky. Mine just happen to be 13 and 5 at the date of publication and carry with them equal parts smarts and kindness and sass. I am delighted to be their mom. I love watching them explore the world and develop in all of their glorious human-ness. I enjoy my role – when I’m not so tired I can’t see straight. Or picking up the kitchen for the hundredth time. Or figuring out yet another week’s grocery run for three (plus the dog!).

I also value my health, which isn’t always easy when your work depends on you being behind a computer much of the day. It takes effort. I value my relationships with my partner, friends, and family. My community. My hobbies and interests. And I tend to do all these things with gusto because – meraki. Unless you are willing to do something with soul, is it worth doing at all?

That perfectionism thing really can pay dividends if you can reign it in.

And so here we are – can’t give up any of the above, so let’s explore how to optimize. I’m in the tech industry after all, digitizing and automating and streamlining all sorts of things to make life better for others, why can’t I apply that same skill set here? Professional dangerously close to burnout with no intentions of giving up anything – user base party of one. Except I’m not a party of one because I know you all are out there too. And since I’ve been testing ways to make this life work to it’s very best for me I’ve come up with a few personal winners I’m going to get out of my head and share so that perhaps it’s helpful to you, too. My fellow (slightly?) obsessives following their passions and seeking balance. I want to hear your tips and tricks, too. Let’s learn together. We only get one shot at this life – let’s make the most of it.

Here’s to making Meraki work for us.

About the author: Hi! My name is Jess Anderson, I am a technologist based in Louisville, Ky. I lead technology product and project management teams and am ‘mom’ to two school aged kids.

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