Updated: Apr 29, 2019
We asked the Experts. Here's their Tips on Maintaining Happiness in High Velocity Careers
Maintaining health, happiness and peace of mind while pursuing a high-velocity career is often much easier said than done. Not only can tense working relationships, build-as-you-go processes and long hours wreak havoc on your soul, but disconnecting from the fray after hours can often feel nearly impossible.
We talked to a handful of tech professionals in different fields to learn what helps them get through the day — and life in general.
Blaine Garrett, a software
engineer, artist and co-owner of mplsart.com, works at a high velocity SaaS company. He says creating processes to minimize chaos (such as automated testing, Soc compliance, etc) is essential in managing work flow — and sanity. He also cites putting logging in place to find issues before the customer notices and having a good customer support flow as being key elements to keeping the inner peace.
Patience and moral support between colleagues and leadership is also important when it comes to high-pressure work situations. Blaine says, “I had a 40+ hour straight session a few years ago during a product launch where a database migration failed and broke the product for nearly that entire time. Once we had figured out a path through, my boss' boss reached out to just make sure I was doing alright. That was nice, since I was 99% sure I was getting fired after that. Luckily, it wasn't specifically my fault, but rather a systematic failure due the the lack of the aforementioned checks and balances.”
As far as maintaining a semblance of life balance and avoiding work-
related nervous breakdowns, creating space outside of the office to let off steam is crucial. Alex Levin, President of full-service web design, marketing and development firm, ThermoDynamo relies on fitness to (quite literally) work out stress. He says, “When 9-5 turns into 24/7/365 its best to have an outlet to redirect energy. For me it’s the gym, a place where I can turn mental energy into physical energy.”
While pumping iron helps Alex, there are plenty of other ways to physically burn off stress-related energy:
Take a walk during lunch for a quick fix
Go out dancing with friends
Center yourself with calming practices such tai chi or yoga.
Find your exercise comfort zone and incorporate it into your daily routine.
Some high-velocity careers are not as static when it comes to being
stuck in the office, and instead require globe-trotting flexibility and think-on-your-feet ingenuity. Dr. Clement Shimizu, co-owner of The Elumenati and DoGood Media, and consultant for feedback.video, lives an incredibly fast-paced life, traveling the world to run projection immersion projects for everyone from Arab royalty to major museums and high-level organizations such as NASA (who recently awarded him with a “Major Space Act Award” for his contributions to exploration app, NASA Eyes).
Clement creates work/life balance through using his tech expertise to help artists and independent arts organizations with projects — an outlet that satisfys his craving for creative expression. One of his pro tips for happiness includes “If you have the ability to solve extremely complex problems that others find impossible, why not apply that to passions like art, music, inventing, or other creative fields? Allow yourself to dream of the impossible, because you can make it happen!”
To keep personal morale up, Clement advises, “Haters are just indicators that you’re onto some next level s**t - Tabasco sweet. To me, this means accept yourself even if other people don’t. Do things that will make your fantasies come alive, even if you need to leave some people behind in the process.”
More literally, he also suggests, “Get a personal assistant and get them to do everything. EVERYTHING!” and “If you travel a lot for work, invest in your wardrobe because it goes with you.”
Finding what works for you personally will always require a bit of trial and error, of course. But once you find that sweet spot, managing your own expectations, as well as those of your job, becomes that much easier. It’s true that creating a healthy life balance for those in high pressure careers is a challenge — but certainly not an impossible one.
How do you stay sane and happy in your high velocity career?