Oh the Places You’ll Go….

by Linda Costa, Assurance Intern, Bellingham

Work life balance. What does it mean? How many times have you asked that question to an employee? Could it be lacking originality, or could it be the most important aspect of your career management? This past weekend I began to figure this out for myself on the Elwha Rainforest River Valley Trail.
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Moss Adams specializes in the tribal government and gaming industries…lucky for me. With an engagement scheduled on the Olympic Peninsula for the following week, I find myself driving out a weekend early for some backpacking.

The speakers in my Subaru ring Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” as I turn an unexpected corner onto a one lane, windy, dirt road. As the car climbs, and the drop-off becomes steeper, I remember that the journey being difficult makes the destination more worth-while. The rainforest blazes by in a wall of green mosses on tall trees, and a turnout appears: I had arrived at the Elwha overlook.

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Here we can see the beautiful result of the de-damming of the Elwha river. The river bed once wide is now giving birth to new forest lands. The salmon are returning to the area, the ecosystem is jumpstarted, and I feel more connected to this very special place. Why? Because I am proud to be an intern for a company which helps the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe with their finances.

In the day and age of millennials, more and more people are seeking career rewards  which go beyond raises and promotions. Sometimes these rewards can come from the value added in helping a client, other times they can be similar to my experience: being in a beautiful place I wouldn’t otherwise have been at this point in time.

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The above photo shows my accommodations for the weekend! Eight dollars a night, cozy, and very, very portable! Sleeping on the Lillian Rver valley floor only to wake up to a trail run up the Elwha river trail to Mary’s Falls, and then packing out back to the car. To be perfectly honest, I had not expected the approximate 3,000 ft elevation gain; I thought that 16 miles in 24 hours were going to be mostly flat. But hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you a better auditor, right?

Few things taste better than a well-deserved dinner after a night in the woods. But dinner tastes even better this time, knowing the engagement week ahead of me includes being a part of a community which values these beautiful places they call home. That’s how I balance work and life, by combining the best parts of work with the best parts of life.

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