I am older than my father. That fact follows me around a lot. It stays with me. My dad died young. Too young. It happened during our family vacation many years ago, but still feels pretty recent sometimes. That event shaped who I am today. Knowing that even though we might feel invincible, we are not. We are all fragile. We think we have all the time in the world but we do not.
The only thing we have control over is the way we decide to live our lives. For me, I aim to live each moment of every day. It is a very hard task with everything that’s going on around me, but I am trying. I want to be present, here and now. I want to have time to stop and breathe.
I grew up playing video games. My father was passionate about electronics and gadgets, so it was hard for me to escape that – not that I wanted to. I would sit and play various games like Donkey Kong, River Raid, Venture and whatever games I had at the time. I loved to play video games! Sometimes I would even incorporate the games into my real-life. For instance, instead of pretending to drive by sitting on the floor and having an imaginary steering wheel, I would play a racing game.
So instinctively, I studied to work in the gaming industry and took that career path. It was quite perfect, but also very demanding time-wise. At the time, I did not mind though, because I was still young and I had no kids. However, when I got pregnant with my son, I realized I still wanted a fulfilling career, but I wanted more time with my family. I needed more flexibility to be there for him. Since my father died so young, I feel like it’s important to have that work/ life balance to enjoy every moment with my kids and family, which includes a daughter now, too. There is no way I could miss out on important events in their lives.
A former video game colleague convinced me to follow him at Planora, the startup that was acquired by RedPrairie, before the merger with JDA. It was a scary move for me because it was a complete shift of careers. But I jumped. It is one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Not only am I surrounded by extremely smart, fun and loveable people, but I have finally found the flexibility I need to balance work and my family life.
Every morning when I get to work, I am happy to see my colleagues and friends. I am glad to have the opportunity to work on various tasks and assist on different projects and initiatives. JDA Labs is an energizing place to work. I’ve never had as much fun as I have here. My work-life balance makes it so I never have to miss school activities, such as ice skating with my daughter and her class, celebrating her first 100 days of school with treats and a parade, or joining my son and his classmates for breakfast. I’m happy to have the opportunity to be there for them when they need me, but also have a successful career at the same time. When it comes to my life, my career and especially my kids, I want the least regrets possible. It’s important to know and embrace what makes you happy in life and to find a company where you can achieve your personal and professional goals. Thankfully I’ve found that at JDA, where it appears I can have my cake and eat it, too!