Monthly Archives: December 2013

Erika

“Oh my God, it’s been so busy.” If you work in an American office, you probably hear this – and its companions: “I’m so stressed,” “I only slept for X number of hours last night“ and “I’m just so slammed with work” -a lot, from your colleagues, your boss, and even yourself. Our workplace culture tends to place a premium on stress and busyness, but at what cost to employee effectiveness, happiness, and sustainability? As a VISTA contemplating my future career path, I’ve become aware of the office culture surrounding working overtime and always being ‘so busy.’

According to the Center for Disease Control, stress-related illnesses and disabilities cost employers millions of dollars each year. Stress and overwork make you more susceptible to illness, less likely to have a healthy work-life balance, and more likely to make mistakes on the job. Many of us do important work, and sometimes you’ll be stressed because there’s a lot going on, or you’re on a tricky project, or something has gone awry in your personal life, and there’s no shame in that. What I’d like to move away from is the wide-held belief that if you aren’t stressed and aren’t complaining about how busy you are, you aren’t doing enough. Instead, let’s focus on doing our jobs well and efficiently and letting others do theirs.

So, yes, we’re all busy. But maybe we should be a little less busy, and my New Year’s resolution? To never again tell someone I’m so busy.

VISTA Spotlight: Rachel, EACS

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As the Strategic Initiatives Coordinator VISTA Rachel will make strides in achieving sustainability for East African Community Services (EACS), who, through educational programming and referral services, are dedicated to improving the well-being and quality of life for East African Youth and their families.

After graduating with her Bachelor’s in history and journalism in 2010 Rachel settled into a desk job in the energy industry and traveled as often as she could. In 2012 she traded in her 72” x 72” cubical for a better view of the world, moving to the UK before living and volunteering in El Sauce, Nicaragua. It was here, working alongside local tradesmen to build sustainable housing, teaching English to ELL learners, and in helping start up a backyard agriculture project for youth with a small NGO, that Rachel developed a passion for working with multi-cultural and multi-lingual communities.

Although this Buffalo native is now adjusting to life on the west coast, she can still be overheard speaking in Spanglish, seen scouring restaurants for gullo pinto, and often wonders where all the vacas are while riding her bike to work.