Erin Tsai is an avid concertgoer.
“I recently went to see Yellowcard on their 20th anniversary tour. Last Tuesday was Jake Owen, tonight it’s Carly Pearce.”
Three years ago, however, this lifestyle was inconceivable for Erin.
After graduating from law school, she devoted a decade of her life to a demanding career as an immigration lawyer, sacrificing her personal life in the process.
“I didn’t do much outside of work. Achieving a work-life balance as a lawyer seemed to be a foreign concept in that profession,” Erin states. “At my first law firm, we regularly worked long hours. And on weekends, I was doing jail visits to clients. The jail officers would often ask, ‘Erin, what are you doing here at this hour?’”
Burnt out and overworked, Erin left the legal field to pursue an opportunity where she could properly listen to her body and focus more on her aspirations in data science. She found it at RTB House where she is now a manager of analytics and data science, and advocates for work-life balance as a member of the company’s Culture Committee. We caught up with Erin to hear more about her journey, including her suggestions for self-care and achieving a balance between her professional and personal life.
From law to data science
“I went on vacation only twice in the ten years I worked as a lawyer,” Erin says. “My stress levels were consistently high as I constantly worried about my cases. Even when off the clock, my mind was preoccupied, fearing that my clients might face deportation while I slept.”
All the while, Erin nurtured her interest in numbers and data science. When a friend suggested she look into business intelligence, she decided to pursue a new opportunity and hasn’t looked back.
“I got my master’s in business analytics and have been working in data ever since,” Erin says. After gaining new experience and skills at a couple of technology organizations, a former colleague encouraged Erin to join his team at RTB House. “I loved that the company is fully remote. Also, the people and culture are vibrant. People actually like their jobs — and that is a stark contrast from my experience in law.”
“My life is different now. I work for a great company that supports a healthy work-life balance, and I’m able to get my work done in a manner that allows for more flexibility with my schedule.”
3 keys to work-life balance
It’s safe to say that Erin has found balance with her role as a data science leader and her active concert schedule.
She shares three tried-and-true strategies so that you can do the same:
1. Listen to your body.
When Erin was a lawyer, she would often work while feeling ill with a mild fever or sore throat.
“Now, I recognize when my body is breaking down. And I encourage my team at RTB House to prioritize their health, as well. We have sick days for a reason. I think it’s easy to get used to the routine of powering through. But sometimes it’s good to take a step back and recognize when you are in need of rest.”
2. Use your vacation days.
While Erin was a lawyer, she went on a vacation but was still on call.
“I was in Taiwan, which is nearly in the opposite time zone. I found myself up in the early morning hours so I could be available for calls.”
Erin now encourages her RTB House team to utilize their vacation time.
“I like to check in with my team to see how they’re doing, and let them know I’m here for them. Maybe someone is in need of some time off. They know I’m supportive of their health and wellness.”
She’s learned to recognize when her own body is feeling irritable, stressed out, or tired — and when she does, she’ll take a break.
3. Find a company that supports wellness.
Every month RTB House has an all-hands meeting during which the human resources department reminds team members to take advantage of their employee benefits, including the Employee Assistance Programs and available PTO.
“They’ll often say, ‘I know we’re repeating ourselves but we want to remind you that we offer these benefits, and you should use them.’”
RTB House’s Culture Committee also organizes monthly team-building activities to help people recharge and have some fun while working remotely.
“We had a terrarium class last month. They sent us a kit and together we learned how to make these little terrariums. I’m a little worried mine might die any day now. I’m not a plant person,” Erin laughs. “But, you know, these little things help you to take a break during the day.”
Erin’s final piece of advice? “Remind yourself that it’s okay to take a break. Make yourself a priority.”If you’re interested in working for a company that encourages work-life balance, check out these career opportunities with RTB House.