According to Psychology Today, the average person will spend about 90,000 hours at work in their lifetimes. If we’re spending that much time at work, it should be doing something we love with people we genuinely like to be with, right?!
For the past three years, I’ve had the opportunity to live that experience at the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI). In my opinion, PJI is a great place to work, but you don’t have to take my word for it: PJI has just been named one of Inc. magazine’s Best Places to Work for 2018.
PJI is a unique place to work for a lot of reasons; the top two factors are the culture and the people. We are a values-based organization and that is personified from the top levels of leadership through every position. I can confidently say that every single member of this team, regardless of their role in the organization, is striving toward our shared mission to advance safe, fair, and effective juvenile and adult pretrial justice practices and policies that honor and protect all people.
We have been able to achieve that level of harmony across our highly dedicated team by strictly adhering to one of our top mantras: make no stupid rules at PJI. The result is a culture that is very intentional and thoughtful around policies and procedures and is inclusive of staff perspectives and ideas.
What is it like to work in place that has no stupid rules? Let me give you an example. Everyone at PJI is trusted to be responsible for completing their work. That means that I can work from home and I can do things that are important for work-life balance, like going to the gym before I start my work day. That also means that PJI leadership expects everyone to focus on self-care as part of their regular routine and they provide mindful feedback if it seems like the balance is slipping. If you’re sending a lot of emails at 1 am, you are going to get a gentle reminder to take care of yourself and an offer to support your work.
We have assembled a team of people who are dedicated to our mission, who bring specialized skill sets, who are unafraid to experiment and to fail, who care deeply on both a professional and personal level about every person on this team, and who are down right hilarious (having fun is also an important guiding principle for PJI). The fact that almost all of us work remotely and we have been able to maintain such a close bond among the staff is a testament to the powerful culture of this organization. I actually look forward to our fun and informative bi-weekly all-staff video calls--who looks forward to a 90-minute meeting?!
Being in that kind of environment, where you have tremendous autonomy and freedom over your work and yet at the same time are supported by a group of risk-encouraging people can be a revolutionary experience for people who have come from a more traditional office setting. Coming to PJI, for me, was a life-changing experience.
I’m thrilled that I have the privilege of working as part of an organization where I am trusted, my contribution is valued, and my work is meaningful. I have opportunities to grow and challenge myself, and we’re having fun while we’re working hard. But the thing I value most is that I’m also able to legitimately maintain a healthy balance of work and everything else in my life (which is more than just watching cute cat videos on YouTube, though there is plenty of that).