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This week the Triangle Community Foundation is somewhat quieter than usual as the office was closed on Monday and Tuesday for the 4th of July holiday, many staff are beginning to take summer vacations, and we begin our “summer Fridays” tomorrow. The long weekend got me thinking about how much I valued the opportunity to recharge, and more importantly how much I appreciate that this organization also shares that value.

The never ending balancing act of work and life is a popular topic of articles and conversations in the professional world, and seems all the more complicated in the nonprofit sector. Everyone here is so tied to their work, and the work isn’t easy. It can be impossibly frustrating, painstakingly slow to make progress, and emotionally draining. It seems incredibly difficult to not let your work become your life, and vice versa. However, this is why it is all the more important for nonprofit employees, and other public sector workers, to make sure they take the time they need to recharge.

Since arriving at the Triangle Community Foundation it has been clear that work-life balance is a priority for everyone who works here. Not just in their formal policies, but in the atmosphere that’s created by the daily interactions and the example set by the leadership. Everyone has been able to take time off for different family trips, including the President who emphasized that she would not be checking her phone or email frequently when away. We have had multiple opportunities to attend yoga classes while at work. I am able to adjust my schedule and shift my hours as I need to. Starting this week we have “summer Fridays” where the office closes at 12:30. And sometimes people bring in donuts to share or homemade desserts just because. All of these aspects make work seem much less like an obligation, and much more of an opportunity to connect, learn, and grow.

One of my favorite sayings is, “you can’t fill from an empty cup.” While “self care” seems to have become an overused term, and sometimes can be associated with slacking off or being selfish, I really don’t think that could be further from the truth. If you don’t have the emotional, mental, or physical well-being to bring your all to the workplace that you’re not going to be nearly as effective and productive as you could otherwise be. While these are ideas I’ve been forming before coming to the Triangle Community Foundation, finding a workplace that reflects my own values is incredibly validating. The Foundation has set the bar high for my future workplaces, and I know I want to work somewhere that creates space for flexibility, fun, and self care the way TCF has for me this summer.

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