In a fast paced, always changing workforce, millennials often find themselves struggling to find the perfect balance for work and play. For many, it’s a continuous battle to manage your time as an employee, but still enjoy the perks of living life.
As millennials, our focus has changed from delaying the gratification and fruits of our work, to enjoying and reaping those benefits in the now. What used to be years of working, in order to enjoy life later, has become work now and enjoy life now.
For Atiyaa Reed, finding time to enjoy life is just as important as working to make a living.
Just two years after graduating from Miami University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Chemical Engineering, she began her career as a Manufacturing Engineer at L Brands (think: Bath & Body Works/Victoria’s Secret/Pink). Being new to corporate America, it seemed like the perfect career position.
“At the time it seemed like the perfect job: traveling, free products, and what I thought was freedom. Then I met Andrew and he showed me a whole new level of freedom, so I decided to leave my comfy corporate job and move to California,” says Reed.
She currently resides in Oakland, California where she serves as the Project Manager at Sight Machine, a data analytics software company.
“I found that my passion truly lies in delegating work and getting things done. I’m the queen of keeping people on task and getting things accomplished,” says Reed.
“In California, specifically the Bay Area work/life balance is real. People work from home, take sabbaticals from work to travel and the company supports them 100%, keeping their job open when they come back. I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for with my background because being an engineer with a specialty limits you and engineering jobs don’t quite give me the level of freedom I am looking for,” says Reed.
After working contract jobs to make more money she landed a job at a start-up company. Like many who have ventured into working at start-ups, it comes with great risks, and after a month the lead investor pulled out funding leaving Reed without a job.
Unemployment effects about 96 million Americans, but Reed didn’t let this daunting, yet real statistic become her downfall.
“I could’ve been disappointed about being unemployed but something told me this was a blessing in disguise. I had travelled for a month to the Middle East and Africa and I had the itch; I figured why not just travel the US and visit friends and family?” says Reed. “About a week later Andrew found out his startup was being acquired and he too was looking for employment. The universe was telling us something. He suggested traveling together and for longer all over the world. Why not, right? We both had time, money saved up, and an itch for adventure. In one year we saw 19 countries traveling within the Middle East, Africa, Central America, and Europe.”
As adults we often find ourselves trying to hold on to the “traditional” path and not challenging ourselves and what we want out of life.
“I’m a firm believer that traveling has a way of opening up your soul to the voice of the universe, and if you’re willing to listen the answers to the questions you’ve always had will be answered. I knew when I came back to the Bay Area in April 2017 that I would no longer be an engineer. I knew I needed more freedom and I wasn’t settling for less,” says Reed.
“Just a few short weeks later, we ran into an old colleague of Andrew’s and he mentioned the data company he was working for and suggested a job. Two interviews later, I had a job offer with everything I ever wanted: Freedom, Growth potential, stake in the company, and a 6-figure salary. I took a risk coming to California, and then again taking a year off but the saying is so true; there is no reward without risk.”
Alicia: What are three things/people that inspire you?
Atiyaa: Black Women/Women of color succeeding despite everything stacked against them. People who take risk with no hesitation. Andrew Lee Miller: the man who helped push me completely out of my comfort zone and made me a better person.
Alicia: Do you have a mantra?
Atiyaa: “Life is an adventure, and I’m taking the scenic route”
Alicia: Share some of the best Advice you’ve received and who it was from.
Atiyaa: Keep that hunger for adventure, take risk, and be happy. Be better than the generation before you, do the things we wish we could’ve done but got too caught up with life to do. -Mable Holt (My grandmother)
Fun Facts about Atiyaa
If you could have attend prom with ANY celebrity, who would it be?
Rihanna, I feel like we would have fun and she matches my vibe.
If you were on a reality show, what would be your tagline?
Good vibes only, cuz I’m with the shits…
Top 3 Travel Destinations?
- Zanzibar, Tanzania
Name the best book(s) you’ve ever read.
Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind- Yuval Noah Harari (Truly mind blowing and totally makes sense of the chaos going on in the world right now)
Favorite show(s) to binge watch?
Master of None & Orange is the New Black