December Health Hero: Prioritizing Work-Life Balance

Posted by: | December 1, 2011

Bobbi MacDonald loves books.  It is no surprise then that she has been working in various roles at the UBC Bookstore for 12 years.   You may have met her in her current role at the Front Information Desk at the UBC Bookstore, helping customers find the books or gifts they need.  She has been an advocate for work-life balance at her workplace since she started working at UBC; in fact, she started the UBC Bookstore “Bring Your Kids to Work Day” in May 2007.  She is also the person responsible for bookstore displays for health events like UBC Thrive.

Bobbi’s advocacy in her workplace expands throughout the store. She supports regular potlucks hosted by various groups of staff in the store, and she helped to merge the Bookstore Wellness Committee with the Health and Safety Committee.  The Bookstore’s support of “Bring Your Kids to Work Day” allows her to show her colleagues the importance of connecting beyond professional roles: “By recognizing that we all have a home life, and that’s part of our connection as people, instead of just as colleagues, it allows us to be happier at work. It allows us to move beyond just trying to get through our day,”  Bobbi says.

Part of Bobbi’s work-life balance is associated with a love of learning.  “I’m surrounded by a thinking community which is part of why I like books: they’re a thinking item – it’s about learning.  I think the people who work on campus and like books come to my desk because they’re generally people who want to learn and talk about new things and be engaged. It’s really rewarding to be part of that learning every day in our community.”  Bobbi also takes advantage of the opportunity to learn outside of work, most recently by taking the Freelance Writing Course offered by UBC Continuing Studies.

Bobbi’s perspective on work-life balance is about recognizing one’s limitations and priorities.  “People forget that their job is only as important as their health.  You can’t work more than your body or mind will let you. You have to turn off sometimes and it’s ok to do that, and to have that balance at work.  If you’re doing something that requires a lot of concentration, then you can only do that for so long, before you have to switch to another task or take a break,” she explains.

So here’s to all the folks like Bobbi in UBC workplaces who work hard to prioritize work-life balance, meaningful relationships and learning in the workplace.


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