This post originally appeared in PRSA’s New Professionals blog, The Edge.
As a PR professional tethered at all times to some sort of device, it’s easy to let work take over your whole life. But our passion projects are a huge part of what make us unique, bringing a diverse range of experiences to our daily work.
Outside of Martin Waymire, I work for Varsity Vocals, an organization that provides programming for high school and college a cappella groups. Our flagship tournament, the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA), is the same tournament featured in the movie Pitch Perfect.
I’ve been working with the organization for more than 10 years. When I was in college, I sang with an a cappella group that competed in the tournament. I wanted to stay connected to music in some small way, so I asked the organizers of the tournament how I could help. At the time, the high school level of the tournament, the International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA), was very small—holding only a few shows each year. I signed on to help grow the tournament.
Over the past few years, thanks in large part to the commercial success of Pitch Perfect, The Sing-Off and Pentatonix, the tournament has grown exponentially. More than 150 high school groups competed in the ICHSA in 2016, at 17 quarterfinal and semifinal events around the country. Even though it’s not my day job, I still manage the tournament and a team of regional producers who run each event. It never feels like an extra burden though, because it’s something I love.
On that note, here are a few tips for keeping your professional and personal life in tune with each other:
Learn how to say no to things that don’t make you happy or bring you some sort of personal fulfillment.
Your spare time is precious. It’s easy to get pulled into a million extracurricular activities, such as serving on boards or attending networking events. It’s absolutely beneficial to do some of those things, but you also have to commit to carving out time for the things that you truly love.
Marry your passion projects with your professional skills.
Did you play soccer in high school and miss the game? Volunteer for a local youth soccer league as a coach, or see if your area has a semi-professional league that you can help in some way with your area of expertise. Working with Varsity Vocals started off as a way for me to stay connected to the a cappella world, but I’ve learned about event planning, people management, public speaking and public relations through the experience.
Share what you love in your professional life.
It makes you more human and helps you connect with your coworkers and clients on a more personal level. I brought in my old college a cappella group to sing at a company function last year and found the head of a local association sings in a semi-professional a cappella group. A couple coworkers have also come to shows to support me. One even flew to New York City for the Finals!
Here at Martin Waymire, every team member has a passion project outside of the office, from fly fishing to fashion blogging. Learn more about who we are.