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What Is Your Life and Work Arrangement?

Photo of Vault Virginia is courtesy of The Daily Progress

A few weeks ago, a coach asked me critical questions during our session together, and it transformed the way I was thinking. Before I reveal the gilded inquiries, let me explain the backstory. Our family had recently moved to Charlottesville, VA, under the premise that I would work for myself. But after a few months, I became interested in returning to the workforce. I

missed being part of a team, serving a common mission, and supporting continuous growth in people. Plus, earning a predictable paycheck was appealing too! I thought I could work somewhere full-time and build my own business and the Christian Life Calling Institute at my leisure. I began applying for jobs to see what would happen.

It was humbling. I mostly got turned down. But I did manage to get invited to a few job interviews. All along, though, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Did I really want to work for an organization again? What could a workplace give me that self-employment couldn’t? Was I being motivated by some unmet needs? I had lots of questions but not many answers.

That’s why the coaching conversation with Coach Mark Ross meant so much. I went into the session seeking greater clarity about whether I should persevere to get hired or stick to my own work. Mark began asking me how I would like to arrange my life and work, what parts should be included, how much time I would like to devote to them, and what needs should be considered. 

That’s when fireworks went off for me. I began to see the picture of a life and work arrangement, where the important parts of both could be ordered and arranged to create an optimal fit. Maybe the answer wasn’t in a salvific workplace or redemptive self-employment. Perhaps the answer was more in how I chose to arrange the parts of my life. I was beginning to see that I had more agency. Maybe I had more agency than I thought I did.

I realized I was seeking to:

  • have more work and life separation
  • make a local impact in Charlottesville
  • help consistent people to grow longer term
  • be part of a team with a great purpose
  • feel more security with predictable income

Before I explored the concept of life and work arrangement, the only reasonable solution for me seemed to be getting hired and letting a workplace meet these needs for me. But the work and life arrangement idea let me think creatively. Was there a way to meet these needs in a different way?

As a result, I decided to stop applying for jobs and instead focus on building my two works while making some changes to my life and work arrangement.

This is what I decided to do:

  • I joined a wonderful coworking space called Vault Virginia, where I’ll offer professional development programming to the community.
  • I bought a separate work computer that, in addition to the coworking space, will offer more life and work separation.
  • I got involved in Trinity Fellows, where I coach and train recent college graduates who are exploring issues of work and calling.
  • I am making myself chill out about receiving a regular paycheck because that is not where my security is.

I’m grateful for this concept of life and work arrangement because it delivered new possibilities to me, created a framework to honor my needs and values, and helped me take control of what felt out of control.

What is your life and work arrangement? Would you like to consider yours?

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