Careers & Education

Elaine Ormsby's work/life balance

Sunday, December 16, 2012    

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ELAINE Ormsby is one of those people who has a healthy work/life balance high on her list of priorities and is unapologetic about it.

In fact, Ormsby, a paralegal at Jamalco, encourages everyone to take a break from the corporate grind to 'smell the roses'.

For herself, an important part of achieving that balance is her gardening, which has proven an important avenue for stress release on her journey to achieving career success.

"When I wake up in the mornings, I spend at least two hours in the garden and that usually relaxes me and sets the tone for each day's work," said Ormsby, who started out at Jamalco as a steno clerk in the public relations department.

After five years at the refinery of the bauxite company, she was transferred to the lands department at Woodside where her duties included filing, typing, responding to letters, and assisting the land vendors who visited the office.

She was later promoted to department secretary, which was followed by work as a paralegal.

"My duties entailed handling letters and all other correspondence from the company's external legal counsel, Dunn Cox, and that basically set the pace for my transition to the legal field," Ormsby said.

She shed her administrative duties after a few years and became involved in land conveyance.

"I had to ensure that all land ownership documents met the legal requirements and were forwarded to Dunn Cox as well as make sure that documents to facilitate land titling were executed," Ormsby explained.

Over the years, her passion for her job grew, as did her competence. In January, she was asked to serve as paralegal to the company's legal counsel, Stacian Bennett, while still providing support to the lands department.

"I've gained a lot of experience in litigation by assisting with the collation of information for the cases and sitting in on case review meetings," she said. "The legal field has so much to offer. There is so much to learn and every day is different, as is every case. Of course, there are those mundane tasks, but there is also a multiplicity of things to do [which alleviates] boredom."

The Clarendon College past student said some of her most memorable moments on the job have occurred in the courtroom.

"It is a place where the cases are played out before your very eyes. I treasure these moments and I've realised that that's where I want to be. Once you have had an opportunity to fully participate in the fruits of your labour as a paralegal and reap the personal satisfaction that comes along with it, there is no going back. I am so attuned to the profession that I am seriously contemplating becoming an attorney," she noted.

To achieve this dream, she plans to pursue an associate degree in paralegal studies before applying to law school.

But inasmuch as she loves the law, Ormsby also loves her gardening — the key to her good work/life balance.

"I am so obsessed with my garden that I have to literally tear myself away from it in the mornings and irrespective of my profession, my garden will still be priority," she affirmed.

Every day, Ormsby pours countless hours into her garden, making it the masterpiece it is today. Her garden, which she lovingly refers to as "Precious Blooms" placed second in the Large Garden Category of this year's Clarendon Horticultural Society's Garden Competition.

Her passion for gardening began at an early age, thanks to the influence of her mother and grandmother.

"My mother was just crazy about flowers and had one of the most beautiful gardens in Hayes, Clarendon. I used to despise going out with her because everywhere she went she would purchase flowers, and oftentimes my siblings and I would return home with our hands full. However, little did I know that my passion for flowers would be worse than hers," Ormsby said.

Today, her garden boasts more than 100 exotic orchids and many attractive anthuriums shaded by a majestic millie mango tree. There is also a wide variety of cacti in a rock garden decorated with ornamental animals. In addition, the garden contains a variety of other plants such as the desert rose, euphorbia (crown of thorns), roses, mini ixora, gerbera, caladium, fern, bromeliad, among countless other varieties.

As she does in her work, Ormsby goes the extra mile to make a success and beauty of her garden, which is decorated with many pieces of driftwood and other artefacts that she has collected and strategically placed to enhance the environs. Attractive signs have also been placed to direct guests to the different sections of the garden.

"I cut the lawn, trim and prune the plants myself. I do just about everything and it gives me a good feeling," said Ormsby, who also cultivates a variety of fruit trees and crops in a section called 'Plantation Valley'.

In addition to her top-tier award in the 2012 horticultural competition, Ormsby's garden has won first place in the society's Medium Garden Category for two consecutive years and second place once.

Her boss has attested to how good gardening has been for Ormsby's work.

"The therapeutic calm that Elaine gets from being in her garden is transferred to the way she handles her work. She is a consummate professional who takes great care and is very detail-oriented," Bennett said.

For those persons whose life is all about work, Ormsby urges them to reach for a balance.

"Life is not just about work and spending time with the family; it's also about taking walks in the garden, playing a game or working out in the gym, watching a movie, attending to your pets, or simply doing what I like best -- caring for the plants," she said.

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