Chevy Volt Engineers Answer: How Do You Manage a Work/Life Balance?

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Looking for work/life balance? Aren’t we all? Below are three phenomenal female engineers (and moms!) on the Chevrolet Volt team who are creating a work/life balance that works! These ladies not only play a pivotal role on the innovative new electric plug-in vehicle, but they also play an integral role in their home-life. So, we asked them: How do you balance work and life?

Nina Tortosa, Aerodynamicist for the Chevy Volt

Embrace technology.

Being a single mom means there are times when you have to leave work early, so you can get the kids to hockey, or gymnastics, or both. With my laptop, I can catch up on email while I’m waiting at the hockey rink. On the other hand, work in GM’s wind tunnel goes on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Having a cell phone allows me to keep in touch with the technicians working the 3rd shift, without leaving the kids.

Take time to live your life.

When you have the opportunity, take time to live your life. It took me a while to get over feeling guilty for not being at every activity, for every kid, every time. But I realized my kids need to learn that mom has activities too, and that’s okay and normal. So, in the summer, every once in a while, I skip hockey practice to go race sailboats; in the winter, I go snowboarding.

You don’t always have to say “yes.”

Just as it is okay to take an hour off of work to go to the school Christmas party, it’s also okay to tell the kids you can’t make it to the Valentine’s Day gift exchange party. Of course, I try and make it to everything at school, but sometimes responsibilities at work have to take precedence. Setting a good example for my kids occasionally means putting them second and showing them that one cannot always do what one wants.

Britta Gross, Manager of Hydrogen and Electrical Infrastructure Development

Keep in mind that you are good at what you do.

When I have bad day, I find a great recipe to try – usually something French or Italian. On the weekend, I go buy all the special ingredients. I carefully follow all the directions. And it inevitably doesn’t come out at all like I imagined. Sometimes it’s hardly even edible. Then I’m reminded that what I do at work really matters, and I’m much better at it than at cooking. That’s what gets me ready for Monday morning.


You have to make time for yourself. My way to unwind is by reading. Whatever I want. However long it takes.


Cristi Landy, Product Marketing Manager

Take risks.

One thing I wish someone had told me when I first started my career is don’t be afraid to take risks. It’s important to try new assignments and take on new responsibilities, even if they are outside of what you know or are comfortable with. I started my career in engineering, and was a little hesitant to transition into marketing. But, that decision lead to my current assignment with the Chevrolet Volt, which has been the most exciting job of my career.

Detach yourself from the issue.

If something happens that derails my plans, or gets my day started on the wrong foot, I have found it really helps to detach myself from the issue. It always feels harder when it’s you. So, I try to imagine what I would say to my best friend, if they called and laid out the issue and asked for my advice.

Do you have other suggestions? We’d love to hear them, leave a comment!
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