Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New Career Opportunity and Fitting It All In

I was very fortunate to have an amazing career opportunity fall in my lap recently. At first I wasn't interested in pursuing it because I was happy in my current job and didn't see a need to make a move. However, the company changed my mind when they told me about how rapidly they were growing and how my role in marketing could really have an impact on that growth. I did some research and discovered that this was one of the "hottest" companies in the DC metro area and ranked across the board as a fantastic place to work. And they wanted me!

After a day of interviews with some of their senior leadership, I realized that this would be an amazing opportunity in so many ways. The people were all highly intelligent and driven, I would have a good sized team reporting to me, everyone seemed to really embrace the company's mission, and the company was a pioneer in its space. It's a young culture-- most of the employees are in their 20's, bringing a fresh perspective, and are eager to grow/learn.

Only this type of career opportunity could prompt me to change my lifestyle by exchanging my 20-minute,
no-traffic commute to one where I would potentially be sitting in traffic for over two hours each day. Thankfully, they have flex time and told me that I would be able to work from home once a week. It's definitely an office I would want to go into-- a fully stocked kitchen with organic fruits and veggies and juices. Catered lunches. A lounge area with couches where people hold meetings. Super casual attire. And a team of really energized people. I just needed to figure out how to best use the flex time.

Before I went into my interviews, I spent quite awhile "digesting" the possibility of this commute. Even though
This is typical traffic for the road I would need to take.
 the job is only 22 miles away, in rush hour, this would take 60-90 minutes each way, depending on how bad the traffic was. And actually, an hour-long commute wouldn't bother me too much if I was moving. But I have very little tolerance for traffic. I worked out all the various scenarios in my head of when I would come and go, which roads I would take, and when/where the running would occur.

Current Schedule
For the past few years, I have been waking up without an alarm at around 5:30, starting my runs at around 6:00, finishing at around 7:15, taking some post-run recovery time, showering, getting ready for work, and leaving at around 8:15. This gets me into work before 9:00. I work a full day, leave at a reasonable hour and have no traffic on the 20-minute drive home. Pretty simple and stress-free.

Monday: Medium long run (easy pace)
Tuesday: Intervals at the local track
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: Tempo run
Friday: Easy run
Saturday: Long run
Sunday: Easy run

Potential New Schedule
There won't be much "wiggle room" here and everything will have to be timed pretty precisely for things to work out. The goal is to get all my runs in, avoid rush hour traffic, and put in a full work week. I could not even imagine what I would do if I had kids!

Monday:  Easy run in the evening. Wake up at 5:00. Get ready for work. Leave the house at 5:40am, avoid most of the traffic, get into work at around 6:15. Work 9 hours (straight through lunch), leave at 3:15 to be able to take the HOV lanes inside of the beltway, get home at around 4:00. Run. Dinner. Relax. Bedtime at 8:30-9:00. 

For July and August, this evening run might need to be on a treadmill at a gym near my house. It can easily be in the 90's at 4:00, so I will have to seek out a treadmill for the summer months if that is the case. I would be done with the run and ready to have dinner with Greg by 5:30.

Tuesday: Intervals with my team in Arlington. Leave the house at 5:20am, avoid all of the traffic, arrive at the track just before 6:00. (The track is located close to my office). Run the intervals. Drive to my office, which has a locker room with showers, get ready for work, start the work day at 8:15. Work 7 hours (straight through lunch), leave at 3:15 and get home at 4:00. Work some more. Dinner. Relax. Bedtime!

I have now averaged 8 hours a day in the office, plus some additional time at home on Tuesday after work. Are we tired yet?

Wednesday: Rest day. Follow the same schedule as Monday (9 hours in the office), only no running in the evening. Instead, do some extra work when I get home while waiting for Greg to get home. 

Thursday: Medium Long Run & Work From Home.  Thursday is my day to really pack in the miles because I don't need to commute or even worry about doing my hair or makeup. I could run as many as 14 miles in the morning and still work a full day. From a work perspective, this would be the day when I focused on strategy and planning and documenting things that might be hard to do with my team around me. The office is one of those open environments where there are no cubicles and only the top 5-6 executives actually have offices. So it will be nice to have some quiet time for things that require a great deal of focus without interruption. I imagine I would be working more than 8 hours this day, too!

Friday: Tempo run with my team in Arlington. Repeat the Tuesday schedule. 7 hours in the office to balance out Wednesday's 9. 

Saturday: Long Run. I normally give myself an easy day between tempo and long run, but I have successfully run 20+ milers the day after a strong tempo, so I am not really worried. I do not want to become a Sunday long runner because I like to get it done with first thing and then relax for the rest of the weekend.

Sunday: Easy Run. If I am feeling good, I can maybe tack on the few miles that I missed from Monday's run because it was too hot to do the whole thing or I got bored on the treadmill. :-)

I think this schedule is completely workable. I know that there will be very little traffic to contend with on Tuesday and Friday mornings because I have done those workouts many times in the past. Hopefully leaving just 20 minutes later on the other days won't make things completely change. I also don't know what the commute home will look like. I think that my 3:15 departure will help me avoid most traffic and get me home by 4:00.  

The company's fully stocked kitchen will help in terms of me not having to worry about packing breakfasts and snacks and such. The locker room is also a huge help. Plus, there's a gym inside of the building in case I ever need a treadmill before or after work. This might come in handy in the winter.

In terms of the career opportunity, it's an amazing one and I plan to work really hard and put in extra hours at home when needed. I do believe that working more hours doesn't equate with better quality work, but I realize that sometimes longer hours are needed to get the job done. I prefer to be as efficient as possible during the workday so I can take full advantage of my relaxation time, and then be able to focus on working efficiently the next day. 

I'll end with a funny story. I had all of my interviews back-to-back in one single day. Within 30 minutes of leaving the office, they called me and told me they would be extending me an offer. I called Greg, told him all about it, and he was really happy for me. That evening, a pair of running shoes that I had ordered online arrived on the front porch in a white box. As I carried them inside, Greg asked me what the box was. I said, jokingly, "it's my job offer". He said something to the effect of "Really! Wow!" And then I told him I was totally kidding. How could they have mailed me something that fast? But Greg reminded me that this was a pretty innovative company.

Then a few days later, a white box of the same size arrived at the door step and Greg brought it into the house. "What's that?" I said. "It's your job offer," he replied. I totally didn't believe him. I thought it must be something else I ordered online and forgot about. But then he said "seriously, it's from them." I opened the box and it was a congratulatory bottle of champagne! How ironic! And what a nice touch from the company. 

The new job starts on July 8, so I am going to enjoy the last few weeks of my current job and the relaxed running schedule. And then, my new journey begins! 


  1. COngrats on your new job and way to figure out a running schedule that will work with your job! I love seeing that others can prioritize running + work schedules. And that job/office environment sound amazing. Yay for progressive companies realizing how employees work best!

  2. COngrats! Kinda funny that now that we've got tempo workouts near your home, you won't be making them :)

    1. I know! I wish they had started those tempos a few years back!

  3. You could always move to Arlington - it's a pretty awesome place to live. ;o)

    Congrats on the new job!

    1. We've thought about it. We are going to see hot it goes for a year and then if I just cannot tolerate the commute we might think about Falls Church or Vienna.

  4. Woohoo!! Congrats to you!! It sounds like a lovely place to work and like you'll enjoy it!! :)

  5. I am so blown away by this company. Are these extras typical for businesses in DC? By extras, I mean the gym, the shower, the FOOD?????? Do you pay for the food and drinks? Like, at school, instead of wasting money on the silly coke machine, the teachers pitch in and buy 12 packs of soda. Then we throw a few cents in a pot every time we take one. Klassy, huh? We do the same thing for coffee. LOL.

    Your new job sounds really, really amazing. And yes, your schedule is TOTALLY workable.


    (I also love the champagne they sent to you- so nice! For some reason they don't do that when you accept a teaching job...)

    1. These are not common for businesses in DC, although I did work for another start-up once that had a fully stocked kitchen of Costco goodies. No, you do not have to pay for them. They are all provided by the company. It's a perk! Where Greg works, they do the same thing for coffee that you do, so it totally varies by company in terms of these perks. For a teaching job, they should give you weekly bottles of wine to help you unwind from the stress!

    2. LOVE the suggestion about the wine bottles!

  6. So incredibly happy for you! I can't wait to hear all about it as you take advantage of this great new opportunity and have no doubt you'll make it all work.

  7. Congratulations!! What nice perks from this company. Can't wait to hear about it but I am sure that you will enjoy it. Also, kudos for figuring out that running schedule and work schedule.

  8. THAT is amazing! Congratulations to you! I totally understand your hesitation with that commute, I know I personally could not handle it. My current commute is 20-45 minutes, depending on traffic, and it drives me CRAZY. I think with all of their accommodations it'll work out for you. Always keeps a gym bag with running shoes packed in your trunk, that way if traffic gets to you, you can exit, and run :)

  9. Congrats and sounds like a very impressive opportunity!

    You know you are a runner when when and where you'll run is one of the first priorities in picking a job-this was part of my decision to start my own business myself! Who knows, the additional structure may help.