Your job and your passion. Do you ever feel like you are living a double life? We all wear multiple hats at the same time. Sometimes those hats can be so different from each other that it becomes hard to operate them all at once. We wear our worker hat on the job, but outside of those hours we can be entirely different people. Those feelings of dissonance cause us to question our selves – after all, which version is your true self? Unfortunately the multiple hats end up competing with one another for limited time and space in our busy lives. But what if it were possible to reorganize the status quo to create synergies instead of competition? What if our day jobs could support our passions, and our passions could support our day jobs? It is extremely challenging to lay the right foundation to conjure up such positive dynamic forces. It requires overcoming personal fears and potential objections from others. Through her unwavering belief that helping others is our rightful duty, April Tam Smith is proof that mixing passions and work is a healthy and beautiful melding of a life’s work.
Combining Work and Passion
April spends her “traditional” working hours at a large investment bank, where she is a managing director of an equity sales and trading team. The flow of her day requires her to be alert from start to finish and she is required to make high-pressured decisions on the fly. Where she is today however is not a reflection of where she began, as April has worked her way up to this point from a humble beginning. This is only part of the picture however, because by night April can often be seen at her very own restaurant PS-Kitchen located in midtown NYC. April’s passion to offer delicious food to her patrons is equally as important as her commitment to donate 100% of the profits to several local charities. Additionally, April supports a local program that helps underserved populations gain employment or re-start for a fresh beginning. And last but certainly not least, PS-Kitchen is totally plant-based and ethically vegan. Now April can take her clients out for lunch to an ethical restaurant that supports human and animals rights! In addition to her noble restaurant, April also takes her well-deserved vacation days and heads over to Haiti to help underprivileged children and families.
The Ven Diagram
April is certainly a contemporary renaissance woman, but getting to this point required mental toughness and perseverance. Getting PS-Kitchen up and running is something she had no prior experience in, but did that stop her? Of course not! She linked up with her partner Craig (it was actually his mandate to make the restaurant 100% vegan) who has extensive restaurant experience and together they drove the creation of PS-Kitchen. April describes the challenges of this evolving “side project” in the context of working a full time job at a bank. For a long time she played a delicate game of not divulging too much with her colleagues for fear of raising skeptical eyebrows from senior management. After all, in a high pressure position at a bank, shouldn’t she be applying this energy to her job? We learn from April that breaking with conventional wisdom is extremely rewarding. She describes the liberation she experienced when she began to tell her colleagues more about her charitable endeavors. To her pleasant surprise her colleagues greeted her passion with openness and enthusiasm, absolving her fears of being judged. Instead of keeping these two worlds separate, she overlapped them and found exponential reward in the overlap of the ven diagram.
April has a clear message for those of you who have passions that remain unexplored and unexposed. Release your passion from the shackles you keep them in. Let go of the insecurities that are holding you back from diving into your passions. If you can, find threads that will allow your personal passions and work endeavors to overlap – April describes this visually as a ven diagram. What is it for you that you would like to see in the middle of your ven diagram? We hope you enjoy our conversation with April!
The amazing PS Kitchen
Other episodes you might enjoy: TPP 011 our interview with Rachel McCrystal (Executive Director of the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary) and TPP 013 with restaurant founder Christophe Caron of Delice & Sarrasin in NYC.
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