We had the good fortune of connecting with Alan Drummond and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alan, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
To be brutally honest the work life balance in North America absolutely SUCKS. While most 9-5ers enjoy up to 2 weeks of vacation a year, many “enjoy” that unpaid. Women, and parents, experience maternity & paternity different region to region. Personal days for something as simple as taking a child or yourself to the Dr is often frowned upon and God forbid you need sick day when you’re actually sick.

In Europe, Australia, S America and many other locales, hourly paid workers often enjoy 20-25 days, or 4-5 weeks of paid vacation per year. Which increases the longer you have been at a place.

Pre pandemic the focus on work from home was non existent in some industries. Post pandemic it is going to be interesting to see which industries go back to the old “normal” model and which industries keep to the work from home model and which offer a hybrid of work in office and work from home….or wherever.

When I landed where I am now, working for myself, my whole focus was in finding balance. Doing what I wanted when I wanted, within reason. I worked extremely hard ON MY TERMS and when I wanted to take time off and rest, or travel, or for personal reasons I did so.

My work has me outside, in nature, where I am most happy. It has me meeting people, from all over the world every single day…which the introvert in me panics about but the extrovert adores.

In the 5 months leading up to the pandemic turning the world on its head I had taken 10 or 11 weeks off, while still being remotely engaged when needed for work, and just enjoyed myself being away. When it was time to come back and get back to work I was refreshed and energized and looking forward to it…something that was unknown to me in previous career paths.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Answering the occupation question has long been a question I have struggled with throughout most of my career. As one friend said at one point that I was a white collar working in a blue collar world and even when I had a white collar job I wore steel toed boots even to confuse things.

My career started off in hospitality, first in the back then the front of the house. The front is where I shined. Bringing people food and drink, maybe making them laugh a bit, and they left you cash when they left. How cool. And I found it easy. Loved the people aspect of it. Hated the hours and how the hospitality industry ran. Kinda soul sucking.

From there, quite by chance I landed in manufacturing on a temp gig for two weeks. I had the task complete in 4 days and they kept me because they promised me two weeks then never sent me home when I came in the third week. I quickly rose through the ranks at that company simply because I never said no to any task or position offered me and I wasn’t afraid of doing jobs or tasks others wouldn’t do or turned their noses up at.. Within a short period of time I was running a shift, then the factory, then I was being parachuted across the country to open another factory, then being brought back to cover off office jobs at head office, before being brought back to open another factory.

The company I worked at after the one I just described went very similar. Was hired for one job and because I didn’t say no to other opportunities I was soon running a shift, then a department, then transferred internationally to run another factory, before being brought back to open another location. All because I wouldn’t say no to opportunity and again would do the jobs and tasks others wouldn’t.

Spent 13 years working with family business and again my roles were very multi faceted and again my role was sometimes hard to define or pigeon hole.

Fast forward many years and I was looking for something different. Something that wasn’t a 9-5 desk or factory management job. Because that’s what most of what I had had at that point..they were simply jobs. I didn’t feel that I was in a career with any of them. Their were parts I enjoyed, and parts I hated. I rarely woke up in the morning excited to get to work. They filled a need but didn’t feed me.

The different kind of found me. A friend saw a post on social media and tagged me in it. Again it was a temporary job doing something I had never done before but kind of taking me back to my roots in hospitality. A driver for a small tour company. I did this for three months, as needed, over the winter and loved it.
Took the knowledge and info I had learned from working that short term job and spun into a new business and career that I jump out of bed to go and do every morning. I am far happier. I am making more money than I have before. I am working with, and alongside, some amazing people, and I am having more time off than ever before and am achieving a fantastic work life balance that works for me.

To boil all of the above into one statement…I am where I am today because I never say no to the next opportunity, and I am not afraid to do the jobs that others don’t want to do.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would show the a mix of the best the city has to offer, you know the usual touristy spots that everybody needs to see whenever they go to a certain place. Like you just kinda gotta right.

However we would not spend much time to those because we would be racing off to see the stuff that not even the locals go to. Toronto is made up of literally dozens of neighbourhoods and villages. Each with their own flavour and vibe. And even the Toronto locals don’t really go too far beyond their own areas.

The food in Toronto is international and authentic. Chinatown dumplings at one point, drinks on a rooftop bar overlooking an alley, vendor hot dogs, beers on a secluded beach or with a view of the setting sun over the skyline, nature hikes, small museums nobody has ever heard of.

We would walk and bike more than drive.

I would hope that we could do a backyard BBQ at a friends house and they could get a vision of the city through my friends’ eyes.

We would just sit and watch the world go by and people watch . Toronto calls itself the most diverse city on the planet and its true…you can sit on almost any corner and watch the mosaic of the planet pass you by.

Perhaps a day trip out of the city to see Niagara Falls and some other not so touristy waterfalls between Niagara and Toronto. Hitting up a winery or distillery in the Niagara region is also a must.

There is so much to do in and around Toronto.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Like most people my parents have been a huge influence on me and how I conduct myself, personally and professionally. Especially my father whom I had the pleasure to work with for 13 years.

Many of my earlier bosses have also influenced me and been those who have given me the most guidance as I started my career path.

In recent years though the organization that has had the most influence in the success, of my current story, would be Airbnb, and primarily the Airbnb Experiences management team and the Airbnb Experiences Community Host Leader Global Community.

Website: www.airbnb.com/waterfalls

Instagram: www.instagram.com/alcation

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alandrummond1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alanrdrummond

Image Credits
Christy Hunter, Authentic Photos and Design Joyce Lam Lori Rossi Emily Franklin Alyssa Scott

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.