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Work It: Passion (Or Obsession)

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Passion or obsession? This week on the Work It podcast, we talk with an a day trader and a software engineer about balancing their love for work with their day-to-day lives.

On the fourth episode of the Work It podcast, we're introducing you to a software engineer and a day trader who have an intense love for their work... which may even border on obsession.

Everyone has a "Work It" story (whether it involves love or not). Who should we interview next? Submit your guest idea in the box below or leave us a comment on Facebook.com/WorkItPodcast.

Receive the Work It podcast as soon as it's available: subscribe for free (and leave a rating/review) on Apple Podcasts, NPR One or on your favorite podcast app.

READ THE TRANSCRIPT:

Episode 4: Passion (or Obsession)

Jill Bjers: Over the last year, we’ve had the privilege of talking to lots of people and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the positive relationship most of them have with their job. But a few really stood out!

Stephanie Hale: Oh my gosh, yes. We have had a couple of people who love their jobs… like love, love their jobs. Or as one of our guests today puts it…

Milad Hafezi: I'm addicted... obsessed... you know, choose your adjectives.

Stephanie: OK, I’ll choose the adjective obsessed. We have spoken to some people who are obsessed with their jobs. And I’m not surprised. One of the strongest narratives in American culture about work is that you should love your work. We are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up, encouraging graduates to follow their passions and nowadays posting cheerful messages on social media about how much we love our careers.

Jill: So true. Another narrative that gets so much airtime is work-life balance. Not giving everything to work, but instead committing to self-care and down time routines. The tug and pull from these two narratives is so frustrating to me. How practical is it to tell someone to be obsessed with their job but also be zen and balanced? Obsession by definition means no balance.

Stephanie: Wait, what? You’ve had the same job for more than 20 years, I thought you would be the one who had this figured out and could explain it to the rest of us.

Jill: I wish! I’m trying to figure this out too. For me, balance was important earlier in my career, so I actively sought out a job that would provide that. But now I’m surrounded by people who are obsessed with their jobs and I, well, I'm not. So, I’m actively wrestling with this right now. Do I want to continue in a career that provides balance or go all in on a career that might be all consuming? Honestly, I’m not sure.

Stephanie: You’re right. These narratives are at odds with each other. Hmm. OK, Jill, maybe our guests can help. You said you followed the work-life balance route. Let’s give you a taste of the “Be obsessed with your work” life. Today we are going to hear from a day trader and a software engineer, both of whom spend much more than 9-5 working their jobs. That’s coming up on the Work It Podcast.

Theme

Stephanie: Hi, I'm Stephanie Hale.

Jill: And I'm Jill Bjers. And this is the Work It podcast, where we have conversations with people about their relationship with their jobs and how it shapes their view of the world.

Stephanie: Each episode, we follow our curiosities underneath the job and into the complex identities of the people we encounter in our everyday lives. Because on the Work It podcast, our core belief is that it's the people ... not the jobs ... that are truly interesting. Now it's time to get to "work."

Act 1: Milad

Stephanie: OK, Jill, the coach in me wants to dive in on this just a little deeper with you. Tell me a little more about your job and why you chose it.

Jill: Well, the pay is good, and the hours are flexible, which was great when I was earning my degrees. Plus, in 2002, they created a work from home program. I signed up right away. At the time, I was a single mom of a 7-year-old. So working from home was huge. But, honestly, what’s kept me there is mostly … the travel benefits. If you ask most people in the airline industry why they started, the answer will be the travel benefits. Because of them I’ve been all over the world, over 100 countries, on all seven continents. I wouldn’t have been able to do that otherwise.

Stephanie: Those are some serious perks. What is causing you to reconsider your choice now?

Jill: Well, my son is an adult now, so that need is gone. Plus, on my birthday this year, I’m eligible to retire with my lifetime flight benefits. So what has held me there for the past 23 years is secure. Which has prompted me to look around at the people in my life, most of whom are the “LOVE their jobs” type of people, and I’m wondering if maybe I should be looking for a job that I’m super passionate about.

Stephanie: Yeah, that’s an important question. Maybe our first guest will give you a glimpse of what life is like when you answer that question with a resounding “Yes.”

Jill: Oooh. That would be great!

Stephanie: Then let me introduce you to Milad Hafezi. He is a stock trader, and he self-describes as addicted to trading ... not to be confused with investing.

Milad: Investment implies long term; trading implies short term. I would say I don't have the luxury of investing. I’m not patient enough.

Stephanie: Milad does seem to move quickly. I found him on LinkedIn, and he pretty immediately called me to say he’d be happy to do an interview ... as long as it didn’t take much time. He was clear, any time away from trading is a big sacrifice for him. So we met at the WFAE studios late one evening in February. Milad is young, fit, with thick dark hair that looks like it might be curly if it was just a little bit longer. He’s dressed in khaki shorts and a pastel-colored button-up shirt, and he starts fidgeting with the equipment before we even sit in the chairs. You can just see the energy in his body pushing to get out. And when he starts talking about investments, it's like opening a dam that is even hard for him to close. Just listen.

Milad: Operations is a very general term, but it's one of the most important, it is the most important component aspect attribute. Take your word of and a business, a partnership, the joint venture, you name it, whether it be an investment vehicle or whether it be a small biotech company in Silicon Valley trying to get his first round of funding…

Jill: Yeah, I see what you mean …

Stephanie: Sometimes he goes off into these descriptions of different financial instruments or trading strategies, and I’m totally embarrassed because I’ve worked at a financial services firm for over a decade, and I am totally lost after a sentence or two.

Milad: I’m really off topic here, so I’m going to let you reel me back in.

Stephanie: Today, Milad is self-employed and very focused on his work. I think it is fair to say he learned determination in the cradle. He’s a first generation American with parents from…

Milad: Iran, so they immigrated here because of the revolution in ’79. So they were married very young, not arranged. They decided to get married. The revolution begun and really took full force and they had to part ways because if I am remembering correctly, the only way a female could leave the country was by going to school outside of Iran. So my mom went to beauty school in Germany.

Jill: And his dad?

Milad: He went to the military and it was just, “I'll see you in America.” Like, we'll find a way there.

Stephanie: His father arrived in America first, coming directly to Charlotte and immediately started …

Milad: Learning English, working odd jobs. He worked as a waiter. He worked at a gas station. Just anything to make money right when you moved here without a cent in his pocket.

Stephanie: A couple of years later, the young couple is reunited here in Charlotte and set down roots. They began a family and over time built a successful beauty salon business with several locations around Charlotte.

Jill: That takes a lot of work. I’ve had extended stays in other countries and being an outsider is really hard! It takes sustained dedication to learn the language and build a life in a radically different culture. I can see where he gets his strong motivation to succeed.

Stephanie: I can’t even imagine how difficult his parents’ move to the US must have been. Whether its nature or nurture, Milad has exhibited a singular focus and a drive from a young age.

Milad: I wanted to be homeschooled in middle school because I thought I was going to be a professional skateboarder.

Jill: Did his parents go for it?

Stephanie: Ha ha! No. In his early years, sports were the subject of his attention.

Milad: I was a pretty good skateboarder here in Charlotte. Wakeboarded, snowboarded, No. 1 passion was racing motocross, but too many accidents.

Jill: But by the time he went to college in Virginia, his focus had narrowed to lacrosse.

Milad: I played two years of Division III lacrosse there. And it was great.

Stephanie: I once had a professor tell us that people often find that their life’s purpose and passion is connected to the thing they were obsessed with when they were between the ages of 10-13. Sports for Milad. What were you into at that age, Jill?

Jill: Duran Duran. Totally obsessed.

Stephanie: Ok, mystery solved. Pursue your passion as a groupie. Anything else?

Jill: Writing. Anything from love letters to Simon LeBon to poetry to horror stories. How about you?

Stephanie: This will come as no surprise: debate.

Jill: Hey, two years of high school debate here, too.

Stephanie: Like I said, I’m not embarrassed to be a nerd. I spent many high school weekends schlepping big boxes of newspaper clippings around for debate competitions. This is the origin of my love for one big aspect of my job. In both debate and facilitation, it's fast paced, partially scripted, partially spontaneous. I love it. So here I am 20 years later, schlepping research around the country for facilitation gigs. However, Milad is more of a serial obsesser.

Milad: And so I kind of live by this two-year rule, and I can trace my life in two-year increments.

Jill: So he was focused on lacrosse for the first two years of college, but as the cycle goes, it was time for a change.

Milad: Sure enough, two years later I'm at the University of South Carolina. I transferred because I needed to focus on my future when I realized professional lacrosse was not in the cards. I'm living in Columbia, all I did was lift weights, go to class and lift weights. And my professor, she pulled me aside after class and she said, “Listen, you know, this stuff very well …”

Stephanie: This stuff being the personal finance class he had to take as part of his business major…

Milad: “...and it doesn't come easy to a lot of people. They're looking for people like you in the student success center, specifically in the finance department.” So in my junior year, quickly my schedule changed from going to class and kind of palms up, “What do I do now instead of class, practice, class, lifting?” It was class. OK. PowerPoint presentation to a freshman honors class about consumer credit, and then to foreign exchange students. I just realized, “OK, I'll just apply my work ethic, whether it be towards the sport or classes or my career.”

Jill: It's natural that after college his focus would shift to his career, but of course Milad goes one step further.

Milad: Just like I'm addicted to investment research. I was addicted to advancing my career. Charlotte, two years. San Francisco, two years. Miami, two years. And now, I'm back home.

Stephanie: During each of those stints, he was working day and night in investment firms. Sometimes sleeping under his desk, moving quickly from one specialty to another. I realized through my time with Milad, which was in total four conversations, that this obsessive passion thing may be more a matter of expressing a personality trait than a specific career choice. Or as he would put it

Milad: I will use the word “addiction” intentionally because it's fun. It is just fun. I've never thought through it like this. Growing up with action sports, those early years defined you and they shape you. That’s who you are. And I guess you could say I’m somewhat of an adrenaline junkie.

Jill: That’s not a surprising revelation, given his choice of sports.

Stephanie: But it wasn’t all fun.

Milad: I saw my life slipping away from me. I became inundated with work to the point where I tried to quit one of my jobs. They paid me tens of thousands of dollars and gave me an entire month off and a promotion because I tried to quit. It's hard to escape when you're in that deep.

Jill: That taps right into one of my concerns of being totally consumed by my work. I’m so glad that he recognized it. Tell me how he escaped?

Stephanie: As a crazy cat lady Jill, you are going to love this. He got a dog.

Milad: I needed something that was going to force me out because if you give me this career and this income and this prospective career path with upward mobility, and you gave me my dog, I'm going to choose my dog 11 times out of 10. I know that that's mathematically impossible, but I unconsciously got something I knew I loved more than my job and when push came to shove, I chose my dog.

Jill: What an excellent way to break his addiction!

Episode 4 - Milad - Hank.jpg
Milad Hafezi
Meet Hank, Milad Hafezi's German Shepherd pup.

Stephanie: More like replace the addiction than break it. Milad is pretty obsessed with his German Shepherd puppy named Hank. In fact, this is so cute, when I first called him to make the appointment for the interview, he told me, “I can’t stay past like 7 because...” but rather than finish that sentence, he said, “Well, I’ll just show you.” Then he sent me a picture of Hank through text.

Jill: Ha ha. That’s a total dog dad!

Stephanie: Yes, I have had to cut a million appointments short over the years because of my kids, but never once have I texted someone their picture as an explanation. So right now, I have Hank in my phone as the photo that comes up with Milad’s phone number.

Jill: So now he has two obsessions?

Stephanie: Pretty much. Trading and playing with his dog.

Milad: Like I know when the traders go to lunch, I know I can feel it. You can tell the activity slows down, the numbers stop moving so fast and you're like, I've got 30 minutes. I won't miss out on a dip to buy or a spike to sell. I just grab Hank. And I don't take my phone: just keys and poop bag, dog, lacrosse stick and then a tennis ball or a lacrosse ball because we're still working on “leave it.” But that's what I call unplugging.

Jill: I love his connection to Hank. How does he fair with people?

Stephanie: I’ll let Milad speak for himself on this one.

Milad: As soon as I begin interacting with someone, I just want to talk to them. I'm like, I'm bouncing ideas off someone who has a no interest in what I'm talking about. So what's my option? Go play fetch with Hank, go back home and see what happened in the past two hours because something is always happening somewhere in the world. That's the most exciting thing to think about. There's always something happening. The sun's up somewhere, right. Someone's awake. They say it's five o'clock somewhere like you're going drinking. In my head, it's 9:30 a.m. somewhere while people are trading.

Stephanie: On the surface, I can see how someone could be like, whoa, this dude is totally obsessed with making money. But actually, he never says anything to me about spending the money. No stories of elaborate vacations or cars or homes.

Milad: Money comes, money goes.

Stephanie: And he just keeps working all the same. In fact, he told me a couple of stories about losing big money and his attitude floored me.

Milad: In 2017, I started options trading pretty significantly. I got my bonus, and I just dumped it into my brokerage account. I lost all of it. Every last penny. It was terrible. I lost that money. But I learned so much about volume, open interest options, pricing, overpriced options, volatility.

Stephanie: In fact, Milad actually goes so far as to call his losses tuition, to him, what he has learned by losing money is like paying for a class.

Jill: What a luxury to be able to view money in such a fleeting way. I always thought day trading is for people who are looking for a risky way to get rich quick. But that doesn’t seem like him at all.

Stephanie: Nope, it isn’t. He also told me about a more recent big loss day, during the coronavirus crash in March and again he was totally upbeat, calling it tuition. He isn’t obsessed with money so losing it doesn’t kill his love for trading.

Jill: Remember he says he’s an adrenalin junkie, so losing once in a while might actually make him like it more.

Stephanie: I know, it's funny. His work is a totally consuming, fast-paced, high-risk roller coaster that would make most of us queasy. It’s easy to think that this whole thing might be unhealthy, But what I heard from him in every single interaction I had with him is joy.

Jill: He does seem totally happy. His voice is lit up when he talks about trading and Hank.

Stephanie: After our second interview, he called me back, and we just chatted like two nerds about what might happen to higher education as a result of the coronavirus. We were coming up with crazy scenarios, and he was backing them up with all sorts of facts from the news and it was really fun. He’s a very positive, happy, energetic guy. Not the image I have of a person who is living a life totally out of balance.

Jill: You’re right. He’s delightful. In some ways, his life is so intense, but in another way, it's really quite simple. I can’t believe I’m saying this but Milad makes a compelling case. I love that kind of passion, but honestly, it kind of sounds exhausting. Is there another way?

Stephanie: Yep. Passion doesn’t have to be fast. Our second guest is going to show us how to take it slower. That’s right after this break on the Work It podcast.

Act 2: Kiley

Stephanie: Before the break, we were talking to Milad about his two-obsession life. So, Jill, did that help any?

Jill: I’m still a little tired thinking about the pace of Milad.

Stephanie: Yeah, he’s a 20-something-year-old adrenalin junkie. Let’s take a look at someone living to a different rhythm.

Jill: Let me introduce you to...

Kiley Dowling: Kiley Dowling, and I’m a software engineer.

Stephanie: You know I’m not really tech savvy so sorry if this is a dumb question. What is the difference between a software engineer, developer and a coder?

Jill: Not dumb at all. That’s a great question. There’s not really much of a difference. For the most part, they’re interchangeable. Essentially, they all describe the same thing” someone who writes code to create software.

Stephanie: OK, got it. I’ll ask all my questions about what coding is some other time.

Episode 4 - Kiley.png
Kiley Dowling
Kiley Dowling is a software engineer based in the Charlotte-area.

Jill: That’s definitely a longer conversation. For now, let’s get back to Kiley... On the surface, well on Kiley’s Linkedin surface, she looks like someone who lives software development 24-7. She has a great day job, most of her connections are in tech, and all of her volunteer experience is in Charlotte’s tech community. So, I reached out to see if she’d be interested in being interviewed, she got back to me right away and was all in.

Stephanie: Oh, Milad was really quick to respond to me too. Love how responsive these millennials are.

Jill: True. Due to social distancing we couldn’t meet in person... so my only visual is from her LinkedIn profile: natural black hair pulled off her face with a headband, studious looking glasses and a wide bright smile. We met by phone just after work and chatted while Kiley was still at the office. You know how you can hear someone smile? Well, I could instantly hear her smile, not to mention giggling throughout our conversation. I didn’t feel any of the social awkwardness that is often associated with software engineers. Right away she was warm, personable and thoughtful. Immediately, I could imagine the energy she must bring to everything that she does.

Kiley: I originally worked in education nonprofits for roughly five years straight out of college, and I was working kind of on the program project management side.

Stephanie: Non-profit to coding, so that’s a pretty big shift in direction. What prompted her to make such a big change?

Kiley: I was finding that over time. I didn't really feel like I was learning or growing my career in the way that I was looking for. There were limited opportunities, and I wasn't entirely sure the work itself was a fit for me.

Jill: I can relate to that sentiment. That is exactly where I am right now.

Kiley: So I started kind of exploring more like STEM-focused careers. So I was looking at accounting, software engineering and taking classes at the local community college to kind of explore both. I ended up choosing software engineering. I'm not entirely sure why I made that choice between the two, but I had never coded before, never took a programming class and just started self-teaching at the community college and went from there.

Stephanie: Kiley is a communications major like me, and I never learned anything about technology in school. Technology is pretty intimidating to me. I would never think about trying to teach myself how to code. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Did she have a friend or like a mentor or someone who got her interested in coding?

Jill: Nope. I think that’s part of what makes Kiley’s journey to software development really interesting. We talked for a while about representation and how important it is. Most women in tech don’t have that, and Kiley is no exception. Women in tech are seriously underrepresented.

Stephanie: Like how underrepresented?

Jill: Well, according to the Pew Research Center, less than 25% of computing jobs are held by women, and only 3% of those are Black women.

Stephanie: Oh.

Jill: Yeah. Women like Kiley are a rarity. Luckily, Kiley didn't let that slow her down. She had decided she wanted to work in STEM and started working towards that goal.

Stephanie: But eventually she had to go back to school I imagine. Right?

Jill: Kind of. She didn’t go back to college, but she did get more training.

Kiley: I also quit my job, moved to Ohio, spent a bunch of money on my coding bootcamp…

Jill: For those of you that don’t know, in tech, a bootcamp is a face-paced coding school. Usually between 2-6 months and can start at about $7,000 and can go from there.

Kiley: ...and then showed up in Charlotte, you know? So, financially it was a great investment long-term, but initially it was quite the hit.

Stephanie: She had invested already in a bachelor’s degree so changing fields could be seen as not making good on that big investment. I wonder how her parents took it?

Kiley: So my mom was really supportive. I think it was unexpected because as far as what my personality type was in my interests, my degree is in communications and business and, in general, I’m a big reader and writer. So computer programmer and that kind of thing, I don’t think fit, but it was never a discouraging thing.

Stephanie: So far, Kiley seems determined but not obsessive.

Jill: I’d agree. If you were looking at her from the outside and you’d totally think she was obsessed with coding. But even though it is a huge part of her life, and her social interactions, she isn’t obsessed. She is fully willing to commit to obsessive behavior to learn but doesn’t seem to live in that space as comfortably as Milad. For instance, the idea that she spends her free time going to meetups is part of what makes her look like she is obsessing. However, there is a goal there. Just listen...

Kiley: I started going to meetups pretty early on. This was even before I had my first developer job. I went to meetups because I was reading online about going to meetups to network with other developers and go to conferences.

Stephanie: If there was a perfect recipe for making a successful career shift, Kiley’s got it. Initiative and curiosity propelling her to formal education then on to social learning from more experienced coders. She knows how to go after this goal.

Jill: Yep. But even the best laid plans can have disappointing turns too.

Kiley: And I remember being usually the only woman, usually the only black person and always feeling like the only person who’s not a professional developer or an experienced developer. So I remember feeling out of place and a little bit discouraged about coming back.

Stephanie: Representation really matters.

Jill: It absolutely does. But that’s where Kiley’s sense of community comes in. She uses that energy to create a space that she wishes was there for her.

Kiley: So I think going into the field professionally, I was really seeking opportunities to connect with other people, um, who looked like me obviously and like exploring more diverse meetup groups but then also supporting in that. So being an organizer for local tech groups that are for either women in tech or just underrepresented groups. And I think as I have progressed as a developer, I have had an opportunity to both be a person of color, a woman of color in tech and a black woman in tech, having more work experience and being able to provide guidance and mentorship and things like that.

Stephanie: Love it! If it’s not there for you, build it for someone else!

Jill: Yeah. You can also see her roots in education coming through. But that all comes with confidence. It was different in the beginning.

Kiley: So when I first started in the field, obviously I had a lot to learn. I didn't know what I needed to learn, and I don't think I was necessarily wanting to create more opportunities for myself. But I just wanted to be in it. I think I just wanted to know, I wanted to learn and I was really hungry for it. So I was working as a developer by day, and then I was doing either meetups after work or being involved in different open source projects. And that was kind of my life for a while.

Jill: Like Milad, Kiley also operates in cycles. Not like cycles with jobs and cities, but more like cycles with her energy. She is really thoughtful when she talks about how these cycles impact her. She’ll sprint for a while…

Kiley: ...then there were times when I became very burnt out on it. And I think in software engineering and in tech, in general, the industry moves fast, and there is a lot of conversations about how if you're really passionate about this, you'll do it all the time. There have been times when I've been a part of study groups, and then there've been times when I literally just do my job during the day log off and do nothing related to work. And I think just finding that balance, and kind of acknowledging that that's going to come and go and recognizing the burnout. I think there was definitely a time where I was a little bit resentful about how much time and mental energy was being taken out by this

Jill: Resentful is such a good word. It totally describes my hesitation to go all in on something that I’m really passionate about. I don’t want to start resenting that passion because it threw the rest of my life out of balance.

Stephanie: The way I have always thought about this is that I want to have a job that leaves me full at the end of the day rather than empty. I need to be full to give energy to my family and I knew I couldn’t run a house and raise kids if working wiped me out. So loving my job actually gives me the energy to be engaged in other parts of my life. Maybe I’m a little more like Milad. For me the obsession is energizing.

Jill: Well, Kiley was really energized by moving toward her goal of becoming an experienced software developer.

Stephanie: Exactly.

Jill: But life has a way of reminding you that your career doesn’t exist in a vacuum. What’s going on in the other parts of our life has an impact on the way we see ourselves and can change what we want.

Kiley: On a personal side, my mom died at the end of February. And so I’ve kind of navigated what does my life mean now? So understanding that this is a time for space and grace.

Stephanie: I love the point she is making. It's so universally true. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, life has a way of prompting you to reevaluate and reimagine and that takes time.

Jill: "Grace and space" should be my new motto. Such an eloquent reminder as I go through something similar in my life right now. While my mom’s doctors are still upbeat about her prognosis. Her ongoing battle with a very aggressive cancer has really changed my perspective on things and made me reevaluate my priorities, even where I live. This conversation has made me realize, maybe this is why making a decision about my career feels so heavy on my mind. I’m in a constant state of conflicting thoughts. Bouncing between “life is short, live your passion” and “there is more to life than work.” However, Kiley reminds us that it doesn’t diminish our goals to give ourselves a little more grace during hard times.

Stephanie: We could all use a little more grace. Jill, you came into this episode with the question, “Do you want to continue your current job with all its perks, or switch gears and find a job that you’re really passionate about?” How are you feeling about that question now that you’ve gotten a deeper look at the lives of two people who took the route of pursuing passion.

Jill: Honestly, at the beginning, I had a little judgment about Milad, expecting to have his story confirm that obsession kills balance, and so I’m better off staying in my current job. But I was really surprised by how happy he is, and I love that he is creating a life where he finds balance hour-by-hour with Hank. Maybe this is not the either/or equation that I imagined.

Stephanie: Yes, I think that’s true. What strikes me is that both of these people, who are both under 30 (so pretty early in their working years) describe their passion as having a cyclical nature. Both shared a moment where they were like, “Whoa, I need to make a change here, even though I love this work, I’m burning out!” So they get a dog or just punch the timeclock for a while. However they do it, they work it out. So maybe this isn’t a question of, “Did I do it wrong by not pursuing a strong passion and now I need to do it right and become obsessed.” Maybe there is no right or wrong answer... just phases in the cycle.

Jill: So I think I’m ready to say that I’m at the end of this phase and am ready to look for something new and prioritize passion in that search.

Stephanie: Yes! I was hoping that’s where you would land! Now I have a million ideas for you. Have you considered opening a bakery, or maybe you could start an event planning business...

Jill: Whoa! Oh no, I’ve triggered Stephanie’s passion for talking to people about their jobs. Calm down, Steph! Remember: grace. I’m going to need to take my time with this.

Stephanie: Oh yeah, OK, OK. Going slow!

Credits

Jill: The Work It podcast is a production of WFAE. This episode was hosted by Stephanie Hale who is obsessed with eating from her garden.

Stephanie: ...and Jill Bjers who obsesses about making her cookies Pinterest worthy.

Jill: Our producer is Joni Deutsch who obsesses about Lisa Frank stickers and 90’s cartoons. Our editor is Greg Collard who obsesses about country music. And a special thanks to our guests for today’s episode: Milad and Kiley.

Stephanie: We heard their stories. And now, we want to hear yours!

Jill: Yes, you, listening right now, we want your story.

Stephanie: Go to WFAE.org/WorkIt or leave us a comment on Facebook.com/WorkItPodcast and share with us why we should interview you for an upcoming episode.

Jill: And while you’re at it, make sure to subscribe to the Work It Podcast so you can hear the next episode as soon as it’s released! You can subscribe to Work It on NPR One, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Stephanie Hales's fascination with people, their work, and the things that drive them is central to her work as a leadership development consultant in her adopted hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Hale lives in the University City area in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University and obtained her master’s degree from Queens University.
A true Jill-of-all-trades: mother, wife, author/playwright, organizer, and travel junkie. Jill Bjers is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah. She currently lives in Seversville area in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a graduate of the University of Utah.