Prior to the pandemic, all employees at my employer Hotwire Global Communications were already well set up to work remotely from wherever they could be more productive—on site, on clients’ sites, or at home—as long as they get their 40 or so hours a week done. As a result, I’ve felt that I’m in an environment where I am supported from above, adjacent to, and below me across teams I work with. I’ve been able to tell teams when I’m going to work “Eastern or Midwestern Time” hours while based on the West Coast, so that I can get a head start going to baseball games and get memorabilia autographed or preparing and getting settled into games where I’m behind home plate as the “Imposter Marlins Man” before the televised games begin. The work-life balance I enjoy through this is actually so good, that people joke that they think that all of the activity around baseball game trips must be my full-time job while my full-time tech PR work is just a side hustle.
Being present and visible
Whether you’re setting the boundaries to be off the clock, to be present for your family and friends, or at baseball games front and center often on television, showing that you’re present leaves an impression on those you’re investing your time with.
I’m quite present across Slack and email while on the clock, so no one really doubts whether or not I’m engaged with our pressing work-related needs, while also being present for the people I spend my pregame activities with at the ballpark. I’m also quite visibly present on TV often enough as an imposter Marlins Man, that people who watch Giants home games from their homes or sports bars see that I’m irrefutably there. The real Marlins Man would text me about how great it is that people will take to Twitter and/or text and call him to freak out over the fact that there is someone on the West Coast pretending to be him.
Shortcuts, loopholes, and workarounds
There are friends from my earlier adulthood days that grew apart from me over the years because it’s hard to relate to someone who goes to 100+ MLB games per year on top of trying to balance full-time work when people have more demanding attention required from their work and family. I’ve used office proximity, early arrivals to justify early clock outs, strategically planned “lunch breaks” to fit all of my activity into this balancing act I’ve somehow made work for me. There are people I see regularly at the ballpark from all walks of life and varying career fields who figure out ways to make it work for them.
The one thing people forget when they see the real Marlins Man at so many games is that he’s been the example of figuring out an amazing work-life balance put into practice while having no budget restrictions to limit him. I’m not able to do things at that scale, but with what I have been able to do, I’m pretty grateful for the people around me who’ve been supportive in enabling the flexibility I’ve been able to enjoy to make this all work.
Ken Ozeki is director of media strategy at Hotwire, a public relations and communications services company.