How I Found Work-Life Happiness

Growing up on the west side of Chicago in the Austin neighborhood, I knew work and education would be the key to a better life. When I got my first job at Northern Trust at age 16, work wasn’t a chore or something that took away from life, but instead an escape that provided me with hope for a brighter future. My experience might not be the norm, but I think it can provide a unique perspective on the concept of work-life balance.

On average, we spend 90,000 hours, or one third of our lives at work, so why should we only search for happiness when we’re not working? It’s time to shift the conversation from work-life balance to work-life integration. At LaSalle, people are encouraged to be open, empathetic, and vulnerable. We believe it’s okay to let your personal life blend into your professional one and vice versa. Throughout all the highs and lows of my life, LaSalle has been a constant.

When I started at LaSalle at the age of 19, I found a group of positive people who supported me and wanted me to be successful. I was working 45 hours a week while taking 15 credit hours at Columbia College Chicago, so my life certainly didn’t resemble work-life balance in the traditional sense, but I was happy. My title was technically “office assistant,” but my drive and curiosity allowed me to wear lots of different hats. Payroll? I’ll give it a shot. Invoices? Can I learn how to do that?

Fast forward to age 27, when my boss asked me to start the HR function at LaSalle. I realized that if you’re invested in your role, you don’t need to disconnect life from work. In fact, if I had focused on achieving a work-life balance, I never would’ve gotten where I am today—working as the chief human resources officer of a 300-person company that’s changing the staffing and recruiting industry.

If you love what you’re doing and believe in the company, it’s easy to find work-life happiness. My co-workers at LaSalle have become not only my friends, but also my biggest supporters and family. When I started at LaSalle, I didn’t want to go home, so I stayed, I learned, and I worked hard. Now, 20 years later, LaSalle is my home.