Every N2 department plays a role in bringing our community publications to life, but none more literally than our in-house print department. One hard-working team member is Second Shift Print Team Leader JD Salazar who left N2 behind for the career of his dreams, only to realize he’d already found it.
In 2012, JD returned from a one-year deployment to Afghanistan faced with an important decision: head off to college or secure a full-time job. He chose the latter. Like many job seekers, he turned to Craigslist for potential opportunities and one post caught his eye – “Printing Press Operator Wanted.”
Though JD knew zip about N2 Publishing, his personality and work ethic fit the bill so he was offered the job. It didn’t take long for him to realize his new work environment was, well, different… and not just because he was surrounded by print equipment.
“I’ve worked at a lot of places and I’ve never experienced a culture like we have at N2,” said JD. “We are all there to make the goals of the company a reality and to have a good time along the way. The culture is what makes us so successful.”
JD quickly felt at home in the N2 print shop, but when his shifts ended, he’d turn to his long-time sideline passion – the stock market. So, when a unique opportunity fell in his lap less than a year after joining N2, he knew he couldn’t pass it up.
JD received a sponsorship from a capital management firm to become a licensed stockbroker for their company.
“My only real motivation for leaving N2 was the fact that I had a chance to turn a long-time hobby into a well-compensated career,” JD said. “I knew that this was something I had to try or else I would regret it for the rest of my life.”
JD made the leap from printing into the world of stocks and securities. As expected, the pay raise was there, but he quickly learned that this came with a price tag: For stockbrokers, work-life balance is no more than a myth.
“I was at the office for 60ish hours per week, and when I was at home, I spent all my time reading, analyzing, and trying to make sense of the stock market,” JD said. “Having just come off a long deployment with the Army a year before, my family wasn’t very happy with me focusing all my attention on something else.”
It’s one thing to jump into a career with little flex time, but coming from a job where work-life balance is a priority makes the stressful, time-consuming opportunities that much harder to bear. This assumption proved true for JD.
“After eight or nine months, I decided to come back to N2 for a more balanced and family-oriented career. Because the culture at N2 is so amazing, they accepted me with open arms,” JD said.
“I jumped right back into the print shop and I never looked back.”
JD with girlfriend, Amanda
BACK ON THE CREW
JD was glad to return to the work family he’d come to see as more than just colleagues. He credits his strong relationships with co-workers and Troy, his supervisor, for why there are “very few days” he doesn’t look forward to work even today, four years later.
“Troy treats us all with respect and doesn’t micromanage. He sets the tone for a relaxed print shop environment,” JD said, “and it has allowed all the guys in the shop to become friends, not just co-workers. A lot of us hang out together outside of work because the N2 culture attracts the type of people that you want to spend a significant amount of time with.”
We hear it time and again: Enjoying who you work with makes such a difference in your day-to-day happiness. But being able to spend quality time with the people you care about outside of work – for JD, his children in particular – is even more paramount, and it’s what drove his decision to seek the N2 lifestyle once again.
“I learned that time with my family is more important than chasing money,” JD said. “N2 gives me the best of both worlds. I’m able to spend a significant amount of time with my kids as well as provide them with a stable life.”
“Time is the most valuable thing we have and my family would rather me spend my time with them than invest it [all] in my career.”
JD's children, Braxton and Ayden
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