Jessica C. : How She Does It

Jessica C.  28, single,  has a younger sister, college graduate, food industry marketer, grew up in Boston

What do you think about Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s CEO, ending theJess C.
company’s telecommuting policies?

It is so hard to balance a career and kids that being less accommodating of employees being able to work from home seems very shortsighted.  Maybe it isn’t fair, but I am more surprised that decision came from a woman.

Do you think women can have it all?

Yes, but not necessarily everything at the same time. Having a good partner is a big part of that, I think. Between working hard all day, commuting, doing housework, cooking, taking care of your kids and spending quality time with them, and on top of that maintaining a strong and loving relationship, it is a lot to balance. Being with the right partner is necessary to do all those things well.

How do you and your generation think about the women’s movement or
women’s rights?

Truthfully I think we totally take it for granted. We can’t imagine a world where women are just supposed to get married and have babies. Recently when Nora Ephron passed away, I read all her old essays and honestly found some of her feminist articles boring because I just not relate to it at all. I am of course very grateful that the generation before us worked to change so much.

Tell me about your career trajectory to date.

I had a bunch of internships in journalism and really wanted to pursue it as a career. I took a semester off to intern full time on Weekend Edition Saturday at NPR and worked on a film festival at National Geographic. In Chicago my first job out of college was as a Research Analyst at a sponsorship consulting company.  The recession hit and so I found another job, for one of the best breweries in the country at Goose Island.

I founded the communications program and started managing their social media just as it took off for marketers. The culture of craft beer was wonderful.

One of my biggest passions is local food and I had a chance to explore working with start-ups. They included a sustainable coffee importer, an artisan food gift marketing business, and a food truck festival company. I worked at Allandale Farm in Brookline this fall and since November have been the Consumer Development manager at New England Country Foods in Cambridge, a natural soup company.

What do you aspire to career-wise?

I need to work for something I believe in and enjoy. After having many different experiences early in my career, I would like to grow within one company or organization for many years as the next phase of work. Both my parents were very passionate about their jobs and that inspired me to work hard so that I would be able to do what I love.

How do you imagine your life unfolding?

It was unexpected to move back to Boston.  Chicago is one of the greatest cities in the world and I love being out West, but the East Coast is home.

However it is very expensive here. I hope to be able to buy a place to live in the next couple years. I hope to advance in my career, get married and have a happy family life. Living in the same city as my parents has been wonderful and I’m grateful to have good new and old friends in Boston.  

At 28 I feel like I’m right between being young and growing up. As I get older and have greater responsibilities and commitments, I still always want to be able to follow my passions and have new experiences.

What do you want on the personal front? Do you want family?

Yes I do want kids. I am not in any immediate hurry at all, but definitely want a family.

How do you think integrating those things?

My sister and I always had babysitters growing up, because both my parents worked. I know it is almost impossible to have a full time career and be a full time parent, but I hope I can be very present in the lives of my children. I think having dinner together is very important and would love to be able to cook for my family most nights.

What will you be looking for in a life partner?

I feel so lucky to be in a relationship now that is completely fulfilling. Sharing values is essential as well as wanting the same lifestyle. A life partner to me is a best friend who you can rely on completely and be a team together. Someone that appreciates my interests and has their own, has a family I feel at home in, and a person you can always laugh with.

What is your own personal definition of work-life balance?

Being able to have time for family, the friends, and the career that makes me feel fulfilled.

Tell me about your worst or funniest House of Cards days?

Last year I moved to Burlington Vermont, to be part of a very exciting and high profile start up. Starting over in a new city with a new job, new friends, and being single was a lot of change all at once. I also was working on a program I run at a music festival in Chicago in my spare time and it ended up being too much to handle. I was so stressed out between working hard to perform in a role I was not well suited to, trying to make a life for myself, and producing this program that I crumbled. The job did not end up working out, but that ultimately was the best thing that could have happened. I learned a lot and it was a valuable lesson in not spreading myself too thin.

Photo credit: Jessica C.

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