Accountant, Courtney Benner, San Francisco > Carlsbad, CA USA

Courtney Benner grew up in Carlsbad, CA — a small beach town in San Diego County — but moved to the “big city” of San Francisco to start her career in accounting straight out of college in order to gain new experiences and meet new people.

Courtney ultimately decided on moving to San Francisco, since it’s a hub of startup companies and a city known for it’s fast-paced environment. As an accountant, Courtney wanted to work with clients who would look to her and her team for advice and support — so the startup culture was a huge factor driving her decision.

SF Life

The COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine has really shaken up Courtney’s daily routine. She moved away from San Francisco back down to San Diego to spend more time with family, and has been forced to work from home where she’s converted part of her bedroom into a “mini office” space. This has completely removed any the barrier between “work” and “home.”

As a true “beach girl” at heart, Courtney has found a way to stay sane has been making it a priority to create her own “commute” to work with the extra time she has not having to drive into San Francisco each day — by getting some sunshine and ocean-time with a walk on the beach before each day of work.

She has taken travel restrictions as an opportunity to discover the hidden gems in her own backyard of SoCal. She describes the importance of the support she’s appreciated by having extra time with her family (including her sister, who is a nurse and working on the front lines).

Read more about Courtney’s COVID Chronicle experience working from home as an accountant in Carlsbad, CA below:

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve personally faced during quarantine/the COVID crisis? 

“One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in quarantine is keeping work and life separate. I find myself rolling out of bed and logging straight onto my computer and after a long day of work rolling off my computer and making my way to my bed. I also find myself looking more at screens than I have ever before.”

What have you been doing to keep your spirits up on a day-to-day basis?

“I find peace in the ocean, and so I have been creating my own “morning commute” by taking a walk on the beach in the morning for an hour or a half hour to wake up and prepare for the day. Seeing the ocean and getting some sun before sitting on a computer all day has definitely improved my mood, stress, and anxiety I might have.”

Is there anything you feel that this experience has taught you that you’d like to share as inspiration to those who are feeling a bit defeated?

“I found so much support in my family, and doing things that make me happy. Also, keeping sure i check in with my sister who is a nurse and works the front line, and also my 90 year old grandma that she is staying healthy.

I love being outdoors and so I have been taking advantage of the extra two hours I have gotten back in my day from commuting downtown to the city, by going on nature walks, trail runs, or watching the sunset. Also, it’s okay to ask for support, if you aren’t feeling good, or feeling defeated no one will know unless you reach out to your friends or family, they will always show up (even virtually)!”

Has this experience in any way changed the way that you order your personal priorities in life?  

“I have always been very conscious of my priorities, so COVID hasn’t really changed that — but has given me more opportunities to focus on them. Family is one of my top priorities, and working from home has allowed me to travel back down to San Diego and spend a couple months back with my family. All my siblings are home from college so we have been able to spend a lot of quality time together.”  

Where are you located/what has your local community been doing to fight the rate of transmission? 

“San Francisco was one of the first major cities to shut down and implement a stay at home order, which has definitely shown in their numbers of cases, and has continued to stay closed.

This has definitely affected a lot of small businesses, so the city continues to really focus on trying to support all local businesses and order food in or delivery from your local mom and pop shops, rather than ordering items off Amazon.”

Has this travel ban/quarantine situation impacted any especially important future plans you had laid out?

“The travel ban had impacted a couple trips I was planning to take. I was going to travel to Kauai to hike and explore and relax after a long busy season in accounting, that for me ended the day our stay at home order was enforced. I was bummed I couldn’t go on my trip but I took advantage of my family in San Diego and traveled home to relax on the beach.

Additionally, as nature is still open I have been able to really explore my surroundings and stayed local backpacking in the Trinity Alps. There are a lot of hidden gems in California and this situation has definitely helped me explore more the state has to offer. “

My goal in 2020 was to finally start doing things I’ve been saying I’ve wanted to do, and actually do them. Although COVID has impacted some of these ideas, I’ve still been able to cross off “running a half marathon” and “backpacking,” and I plan on completing more as the year goes on, as COVID becomes the “new normal.”

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