We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Hoffman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I think work-life balance is a myth, because ONLY the thing you pour time and energy into will reflect that input of energy; the other area(s) will necessarily suffer, and work can be a sink when it comes to energy input. You have to choose sometimes what is more important, for different reasons and at different stages of your life. Obviously, work is important for stability, physical security, and putting food on the table, but work cannot fulfill your emotional, spiritual, and physical wellness needs. Ideally, your life and work merge seamlessly together so that one is not separate from the other, and one day I hope to be among the lucky few who have the privilege of an occupation that allows that. In the meantime, I just try to always do my best at my day job, and on my time off, put energy into my own passion projects and entrepreneurial endeavors…and let’s not forget the all important activity of doing nothing! Productivity is counter to creativity, so doing nothing is absolutely imperative to my creative process as well as to my productivity in the rest of the week.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have always been different and wished I could just fit in. As I’m getting older, though, I’m realizing how much I appreciate being able to stand out and being able to stand alone. It’s always difficult to put your finger on the thing that sets yourself apart, because appraising your own strengths is an activity of the ego. Of course we place more value in the qualities that we put effort, blood, sweat, and tears into, but by virtue of requiring effort, those are probably precisely the areas we are weaker in. The things that come naturally to us don’t even come to mind when we try to take inventory of our strengths, paradoxically because they require so little effort. I would love to say that what sets me apart in any work place is my individual contribution in some way – my work ethic, my formal education, my integrity, my organization, my grit or dedication – because those are the things I have worked at and take pride in. When I look back at my life with a little more objectivity, however, I think that my greatest strength is bringing out the best in other people. When I am on a team, it’s a winning team, and that’s not to say I am the leader; but by being a part of that team, I elevate the caliber or work and professionalism that others in my team put in, and I do lead by example.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Colorado Springs, and an hour and a half from downtown Denver, so I would definitely take them around both cities. Colorado Springs is home to the Olympic training center, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and Air Force Academy, so we would hit all of those places before going to Denver for another couple days of activities – maybe a Rockies game or an Avs game, Blake Street bar crawl, the Denver Art Museum, and oysters and drinks at Ocean Prime.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Who would I like to dedicate my shoutout to? I definitely have to mention the Colorado School of Mines, where I went for grad school and got my MS in chemical engineering, since their world-renowned engineering program is the reason I am now a working engineer; along with that, I’d shoutout the Society of Women Engineers, which I was active in during my years at Mines. I’d also mention all the strong women and men who have served as examples and teachers to me, from my elementary school teachers and my first science teacher, Mr. Elliot, who first sparked my interest in a career in STEM in 6th grade, to my high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Bryner, who made chemistry labs so fun to look forward to every week. My parents of course always instilled in me the desire to do better and go further, and never to consider the possibility that I couldn’t do anything I set out to do.
Other: email: firstname.lastname@example.org modeling: https://www.nxtmodel.com/profile/jess-hoffman/