We had the good fortune of connecting with Jason Criswell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jason, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
In starting my career, and being single, having a work life balance wasn’t a very important goal of mine. In that time of society (and at that point in my life), it was all about working hard for whatever was asked of me. Being successful and sacrificing for my job was at or near the equality of success & meant an internal value of meaningfulness. As the years have whisked by, there has been a growing sense of ‘where is there a work/life balance?’ & ‘does that really exist in the workforce’. In the last few years having spent a lot of time putting together ideas for my own business, this issue has been a constant grounding point for me. Especially in terms of ‘learn how not to do something’, or ‘why doesn’t anybody do it this way’. Which always makes me want to ask ‘why not do the opposite, and do it better than anyone with the gripping integrity you had when you were in the trenches with these emotions that brought your heart and mind to the point of wanting to make such pioneering changes for the greater good’.
I feel like, in general, no matter what field you get into, you will learn more of ‘how not to be’, and ‘what not to do’ than you will find leaders, colleagues, or bosses with like minded visions as your own. Which leads into, what i feel is the most critical factor in work life balance, your people. With the state of the world and the workforce right now, i believe that this is at an absolute critical juncture, and changes in how we operate to maximize not only our own work/life balance, but that of everyone that works with and alongside us will be essential to success. Workers are at a place now where they survey the landscape and see that it is a ‘buyers market’. For the first time in a long time, maybe ever for a lot of people. workers can be choosy when trying to come back into the workforce, which creates a lot of entitlement that I feel has been long overdue. With the coronavirus affecting nearly everyone, people have had a chance to see the real, fundamental value of time.
All of this, in a nutshell kind of encompasses how I feel about the balance, and how much of an overlooked factor it has been for such a long time.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I like to think of myself first as a singer/songwriter. While working on my craft throughout the years, my father (and my realistic brain) always told me to have a back up plan. This backup plan started when i was still young in high school working in a restaurant. This stayed with me because it was fast paced, steady hours, i could set my vacation times & time away to play gigs & perfect my own sound. Being able to have time for this while at the same time perfecting and honing my skill set in the kitchen has blessing in hind sight. None of the ride is easy, but trusting in the process that everything is meant to work out for you the way it’s supposed to be has had a big influence on me in being able to step back and enjoy the ride, especially the older i get. You’re only as old as you feel, and if you can take life as it comes with a zest and a grain of salt, you’ll be forever young. I am most proud of my music and continuing to be creative after all the years, and all the people i’ve influenced in my life as a chef, and being able to cross-utilize my creative skills into both areas.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Everyone likes different things. Tailor every visit to things that excite you, that will make it more enjoyable to your memory brain & stimulate the nerve endings that will make you an advertisement for what you think is worth telling about a place. Those are the beginning points for amazing stories, and ones that you don’t hear all the time. You’re far more likely to sell something you’re passionate about, same goes with storytelling. When visiting anywhere, be a storyteller and put yourself in the epicenter of what will make you most excited to see and share.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Chris Lorraine Wells, father & major influence in my life
Linkedin: Jason Criswell