Last week it was announced that Colorado Access was named to the Denver Post’s Top Workplaces of 2023. If we turn back the clock to October 31, 2022, which is when I started my role here at Colorado Access, that day was a major turning point for me where when people asked me how my job is I was happily able to not respond with the sarcastic “Living the dream!” While that response can be fun and good-hearted for me, it was often a coping mechanism to cover for the fact, I wasn’t seeing the direct impact of my work. I had spent nearly eight years there which was essentially my whole professional career to that point, had great coworkers, learned great skills, and worked on hundreds, if not thousands, of creative projects, but one thing was missing – seeing a tangible impact in my day-to-day life. This isn’t to say the work I was doing didn’t have an impact on anyone; it just wasn’t impacting the community I lived in and interacted with daily. When I was thrust into the job hunt, helping people that may be my neighbors was something that I identified that I wanted to be doing.
When I stumbled across the job posting here, it was different than all the others, as it allowed me the chance to use my skills to help those around me. Instead of driving leads for money to a corporation, I would be ensuring that digital channels contained accurate and accessible information for our members and providers that ultimately would help people in the community live better and healthier lives. It also didn’t hurt that the benefits offered were great, especially the focus on work/life balance with things like floating holidays and volunteer PTO, which were both new to me. In my interview process, everyone told me their favorite part was the work/life balance, but I didn’t understand what that balance was until starting here. I think it’s also important to note work/life balance is different for everyone – for me, I find it to truly be when I close my laptop for the day, I’m able to go do things like spend time with my significant other or walk our dogs and not need to have email or chat apps on my phone to always be available for work. After all, our weeks are 168 hours, and typically only 40 of those are spent working, it’s important to spend the other 128 hours doing things you enjoy. I’ve also found having this focus on deciding what hours are devoted to work and what are devoted to life has allowed me to be more engaged and productive during work hours because I know that at the end of that time, I can step away without worrying.
A change that is specific to my role is that my work here has also allowed me to be more creative than my previous job. From day one, I was asked for my opinions on existing processes and afforded the chance to offer improvements or implement brand new solutions. It has been refreshing to have ideas and opinions listened to and embraced by others in the organization and has helped me grow professionally by feeling like I can help innovate and offer new solutions for the work we do across our website and emails. I also quickly was able to see how our mission, vision, and values are all evident in the work we do every day. Where I’ve personally felt the most impact is collaboration. From the very first project I worked on it became clear that when projects are worked on, they are a group effort and that there are lots of opportunities to work with members from across the organization. This has led to plenty of learning opportunities for me and is also a good way to quickly get to know people across the organization. After being part of the team here for six months, I can excitedly say that the work I get to do has an impact on both the community I live in and the ones around me. It has been an enriching experience both personally and professionally to this point and when people ask me how my job is it usually ends up being a conversation about finding work/life balance and how my job here helped me find that.