Life Beyond Work – Are You Alive After Five?


This month’s Pulse probe revolves around what do you do to re-charge and re-fresh beyond your day-job?  I enjoy reading how others find a life outside work to gain a sense of balance.

As members and leaders within the HR Community, we need you to be rested and ready to go each day.  You are role models in balance.  As the flight attendants remind us in travel, we must first take care of ourselves before we can care for others.

My hobby and passion involves my kitchen and cooking.  I find great solace behind a spatula.  In my former life, I did much more baking than I practice now.  There is a beloved Chocolate Ganache Cake served with a warmed frosting and finished with ice cream that can still bring men to their knees thanks to the creativity of the one and only Ina Garten or the Barefoot Contessa.

Someone once asked me the beautiful question of why cooking?   I paused on that answer.  Yes, it sparked my creative self, yes it is challenging especially in my quest to be healthier and yes it is an art that is admired but not always practiced.   But the deeper answer was that this represented something that had closure, something I have little of in my professional life.   Sometimes, it is nice to have closure!  You know immediately what did you right and wrong and changes you must note moving forward.  I will often re-create a dish again with the corrections to put a recipe to rest in my electronic files.  Or, I will tag notes on my recipes for the next rendition.  Others have laughed at my notes to self, but these are important as I review the foundations of the formula.

I have been graced with many successes, and humbled by a few failures.  There are recipes that folks always ask me to re-create.   My pesto and roasted vegetable soup always tops this list, as does homemade Italian sauce, sausages and meatballs and of late homemade pasta too.  Roasted meats are popular as are many of my newest Meatless alternatives that I have perfected. I have been humbled by the lentil in my creation of a Lentil Loaf, but have become a better student of the legume of late to save face.  Oh for the love of the lentil.

I like to practice cooking as it brings me joy and satisfaction in the preparation and added delight when it is shared by many who grace my table.  It is one practice that gives me immediate feedback and I cherish its honesty and simplicity.

What is your secret passion/hobby outside of your work?  What lessons has it taught you?


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Outside of my 9-5 recruiting job, my passion is writing. As an aspiring historical novelist, I'm "alive after five" ... AM! I wake early to log writing hours before work, and I find that it allows me to start my work day feeling happy and productive.

Thanks for this important message and reminder!

I admire you Diana for your beautiful passion which is cooking. Food is our main source of energy, the person who finds happiness in cooking is a happy person. You not only filling up the empty stomach but the soul as well. I got so much hungry while reading your post, after work it's good to relax and cook the best pasta pesto.

Thank you for sharing your passion Lauren and how you weave this into your day. Keep penning!

Thank you for this important reminder to fill up our own tanks. Too often we forget to do this. You spend the work day taking care of others and come home to take care of family. It's easy to forget to make time for ourselves. I am still looking for that "go to" activity. Most often it's going to the gym or getting outside and really noticing what is going on in the fields around me, the sky above me, the sounds, and the smells. It can be astounding how much we tune out!

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