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The 30 Best Places to Work (Outside Magazine)

work-life-balanceI remember the first time I heard the question you’ve probably heard a number of times yourself by now:

“Are you working to live, or living to work?”

My initial answer to the friend who asked it of me was, “Ummm…can’t I do BOTH?!” But when I thought more about it, I realized that no matter what I might be telling myself, the reality was that I was living to work. My actions and day-to-day regimen testified to that fact: I was up at 6:30am, commuting an hour each way to a 9-5 office job (let’s be honest, it was more like 8:30 – 6) where I sat behind a desk most days interacting only with my co-workers and getting exercise for a few minutes each day after work before eating dinner, going to bed, and getting up the next day to do it all over again.

The thing was, I had convinced myself that I was doing good things. That I was fulfilled. That I was stimulated. That the start-up firm I was working for was on the cutting edge and poised for great things…and I was a part of it!

But when I look at this list of the 30 best places to work and all that they offer their employees by way of work-life balance, man, it makes me realize just how naive and misguided I really was!

USANA Health Sciences, Outside Magazine's #23 Best Places to Work

USANA Health Sciences, Outside Magazine’s #23 Best Places to Work

Consider, for example, USANA Health Sciences, which boasts a beach volleyball pit, an indoor basketball court, organic food choices in the cafeteria and complimentary personal trainers for anyone who wants to take advantage of them! Then there’s Brainstorm, where blowing off steam means spontaneous dodgeball games and foosball tournaments. Or MercuryCSC, a company that allows its staffers to work in their base layers after a morning run and where music plays and windows offer gorgeous views of the Bridger Mountains.

Many prospective MBA’s go back to business school with visions of larger salaries and increased opportunities to climb the corporate ladder and advance their careers. But with those inflated salaries often comes increased responsibility, longer hours, and stress to match. My question for you is, “Will it be worth it?”

It’s important to remember that there is no set path for you as a future MBA, that the world is your proverbial oyster and that truly any company or career path is an option for you. Companies are adapting to the demands of their employees, and many are placing an increased importance on a healthy work-life balance, realizing that happier employees are often more productive employees.

While you do ultimately have to “live to work” (gotta pay the bills, after all!), there’s no reason you can’t find enjoyment and fulfillment in your work at the same time. You can make good money while still having time to spend with your kids. You can be there for your spouse while still making a positive impact in the world of business. And you can having a meaningful career while still living in the fullness of life. In the words of Dr. Kathleen Hall:

“We have overstretched our personal boundaries and forgotten that true happiness comes from living an authentic life fueled with a sense of purpose and balance.”

So, as you transition your career post-MBA, consider these 30 Best Places to Work as recognized in Outside Magazine:

1. ReadyTalk
2. Natural Habitat Adventures
3. Seeley Lake Elementary School District
4. MercuryCSC
5. New Belgium Brewing
6. Dero Bike Racks
7. Blue Tent Marketing
8. Clientek
9. Strava
10. ZaneRay Group
11. Realeflow
12. Clif Bar
13. BrainStorm
14. Restoration Services
15. Beach Cities Health District
16. River Design Group
17. Country Walkers
18. Max Borges Agency
19. The Honest Kitchen
20. Goal Zero
21. Paradigm Group
22. TrackVia
23. USANA Health Sciences
24. Rally Software
25. Groundspeak
26. Drake Cooper
27. Ecology Project International
28. Nerland Agency
29. Salt Communications
30. Hanson Dodge Creative

To view the full article, including 70 more Best Places to Work, click here.

I think you’ll also find useful the four bits of counsel about work-life balance in this thought-provoking TED talk by Nigel Marsh, author of Fat, Forty, and Fired: