We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah White and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Like many people, my work life balance has seen many types of imbalance. There have been phases in my life where I prioritized work over living my life and it showed in my personal relationships, and there have been phases in my life where I have prioritized life over work and it showed in my career. When I was nearing my college graduation, I was working three jobs on top of a full credit load. I got married a few weeks after I graduated and then worked to support my husband and I as he finished up his second degree. It was safe to say my balance was off, but the bills were paid for, we were independent, I knew it wasn’t going to last forever, and so I was okay with it. We were also really happy, and got exceptionally good at dealing with finances together. Once my husband entered fully into his profession, I downgraded my three jobs to just one. And it was a huge adjustment for my schedule – one that I had waited for for so long! It gave me more time to focus on my life outside of work, which ended up shining the brightest light on to my work life balance, not only in the imbalance that was so glaringly apparent in my coworkers’ lives, but mine too. I was convinced a lot of it was the culture of the industry, and having since left that industry I think I was mostly right about that. But it was also an attitude that I know many Americans harp on Europeans for, but that I ended up taking closely to my heart, and that is: you work to live, not live to work. I spent years dreaming about a career that would saturate all the days of the week for me, the glamour in late nights at the office and pride in working overtime. There was something so intriguing about it. But then I got to a point in my career when I could have made that choice, and I didn’t want to do anything else but run the other way. It was a shock to me and my boss. But there was something that clicked inside of me that said, “I know this has true happiness and success and fulfillment written all over it… but that’s not what you’re going to get.” Soon after, I left my job to go on maternity leave for my first daughter. And soon after that, doors opened up for me for remote writing positions. Many mothers will testify to the struggle of balance in general, and they are right in their testimonies – it takes great talent, patience and discipline. But for the first time in my life, I was being presented with the opportunity to slowly let work into my life, instead of balancing my life and my work. And there was something really special about that to me. As of now, I keep my work life balance in a way that is unrecognizable to my college self. But it is so much more fulfilling, and so much easier to choose. Even on the days where I don’t strike it correctly, I am without the idol of busyness. And I think that is the key to balance: not striking it the perfect way, or always trying to change things up, but riding yourself of the idol of busyness and focusing on a wholesome goal (like working to live).Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My passion for writing started at a young age, and got “official” in my head when, for my senior thesis in high school, I wrote and published my own book. My desire to keep writing and editing, especially in a way where I could share my writing with others, led me to working for my college newspaper (which was more like the town’s newspaper because the city was smaller) all three years of my undergrad. There, I edited the entire paper, and spent many hours reading and learning and falling more in love with the written word and its power to paint pictures, deliver truths, and even change peoples’ perceptions. From the moment I graduated I was searching for a job where I could write or edit professionally full time, and to this day I have not found it. However, I do write and edit part-time for a number of platforms, and it brings me so much joy. I write for Catholic Match and The Young Catholic Woman, and I am one of the editors for The Catholic Woman. Over the years I have learned that my passion for writing doesn’t necessarily need to be my full time job (although my eyes are always open for opportunities), if I am happy for the time that I get to write at all. Every piece is a gift. I am particularly focused on writing on topics within the Christian faith, ranging from the debates within purity culture, to dating tips, to living liturgically within your own kitchen. There is a common saying that people are drawn to the faith through goodness, truth or beauty, and I hope that when people read my writing they get a taste of all three. I hope that when people read my articles they are challenged to give a current anti-cultural practice – being religious – a shot at being something that could actually fulfill them in ways they are looking to be fulfilled. Or at least see the goodness, truth and beauty of what already exists and be open to looking into it further. I also hope to inspire people to take their Christianity home with them from church into their homes and with their friends and family, be that from how they eat and drink or how they decorate their home or how they are charitable to those around them.If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take us to a number of the Fox Concept restaurants around Phoenix, some being Arrogant Butcher, Culinary Dropout and Blanco Taco. There is also a bar off of Central that is a refurbished Jiffy Lube, with the bar itself underground, that I would choose for a night out. I would drive up to Sedona and Flagstaff, and out to the Grand Canyon. I would hike in Sedona, walk around the small town shops in Flagstaff, and enjoy some time at one of the world’s seven wonders. We would also hike up different mountains in Phoenix and visit one of my daughter’s favorite places, the Phoenix Zoo.Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a shout out to the incredible groups of women who have invited me into their platform, The Young Catholic Woman, and The Catholic Woman, as well as the writing team for Catholic Match. I love writing with all my heart, and they give me opportunities to partake in it on a public platform, and I am so grateful. I also want to give a shoutout to Erica at Be A Heart and Shannon at Chews Life, two women who have affiliate programs that they invited me into. Through them, I am not only able to talk about small businesses and original pieces that are so near and dear to me, but I am also allowed to supplement some income for my family, and I am so grateful.
Michelle Telepak Photography