We had the good fortune of connecting with Jordan Younis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jordan, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I’ve always been a hard worker, but like a lot of people, my tendency toward being too perfectionistic tripped me up a lot. I’d over-work and over-function, and my last job was in an environment that sort of fostered over-working and lack of balance much of the time.
Over time, I realized that I gravitated toward the fast-paced, work hard/play hard thing because, on some level, it gave me a sense of worth, but not necessarily fulfillment. It’s a terrible lie we all tell ourselves that productivity, working more and being crazy stressed at work makes us worthy or important, but it’s so common for people nowadays.
I still work hard and like to grind, but as I’ve refined what’s important to me, defined my own brand of ambition and gotten clearer on the type of life I want to live, I’ve found more balance around work. Not so coincidentally, that shift internally also led me to an amazing work environment and culture. I work with an amazing group of caring, really authentic people who encourage rest, taking breaks and time off and getting outside. When one of my higher-ups first said to me, “There are no emergencies here”, I was stunned and excited, because that message was finally in line with how I always wanted work to be prioritized in my life.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still stressful at times and adjusting my mentality is constant work. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’ve earned a rest or time away, but that’s a conditioned mindset I’ve learned and am still learning to change. It’s leading to better balance and doing what works for me while still getting the job done well. To me, balance is doing what works for me, and it’s something you intentionally create.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Writing was my first love. When I was young I used to write short stories and enter poetry contents. All these years later, without really trying to or realizing it, I’ve started my career as a writer. It wasn’t a clear, straight path though. I’ve never known what I wanted to do, just what I liked and didn’t like. For many years, I worked at a consulting and professional services firm, and while my job involved some writing, but not as much as I’d have liked and not about anything that really interested me. Lots of big data sets, compensation talk, HR and employment oriented stuff. I wore a lot of hats there and it was great because I basically got to make up my job! But in the end, it wasn’t my cup of tea and it never felt entirely like an authentic fit. I was so antsy to make a career move when, out of the blue, a writing opportunity at a genetic testing company got dropped in my lap. I’d been wanting to tap into biotech since we consulted for many biotech companies at the consulting firm I worked for, and those companies were always the most interesting ones to me. It all happened at the right time so perfectly. It was challenging to go for a long time without feeling passionate in a job and wait patiently for the right thing to pop up, but I love what I do every day. It was a big jump to go from talking about equity and executive compensation to chromosomal disorders and genetic disease, but I think when you’re on the right track, you meet even scary challenges with excitement and grit rather than all-out fear and timidity (at least most of the time). I’m constantly learning new things and see so much room to grow, two things I prayed over and longed for in a new career path. It worked out. And I learned that money or position or title don’t make up for feeling happy and aligned in what you do – cliché but true. In addition to what I do for a day job, I’m taking on more photography work too! Whether food or people or the outdoors, that’s another outlet for me that I hope to grow into something more professional.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If we had the time, Palm Springs in Joshua tree! I’m a desert dweller and I can’t get enough! If we were just staying in San Diego, we’d most certainly eat our way through Little Italy (a Salt & Straw stop after Born & Raised and maybe some drinks at Nolita Hall somewhere in there). We’d walk around dreamy Coronado Island. We’d definitely hit up every Pigment location to shop for plants and home goods. We’d hike Torrey Pines and bop around La Jolla, stopping to snorkel in the cove and get food and drinks at Duke’s or George’s overlooking the ocean. We’d wander around Encinitas and eat our way up the 101. (Can you tell I like food?) What I love about San Diego is that you can get the downtown urban feel but be at the beach in 20 minutes. It feels like everything is a 20 minute-is car ride, so you can be in the city, at the ocean and in nature all in one day. It’s chill, but also alive with a very happy, easy-going vibe. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
So many people have poured into me over the years. My mom is my number one, my sister is my number two. They’re strong, gifted, creative women who propel me forward, encourage me, support me and know my heart. They steer me the right way always. Too many amazing friends, men and women of all ages have shaped me too. I’m eternally grateful to them, but mostly to God for filling my life with all of them.
Brit Keesling, @keestolife