Zach Lierley Talks Internship, Olympic Trials & Work/Life Balance in Action

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It’s no secret that the Protiviti community is packed to the gills with interesting people, boasting a wide range of extracurricular interests. Whether they’re fired up about exploring Europe, writing a memoir, coaching kids’ track practice, or something else entirely, Protiviti has a way of empowering them to pursue their passions beyond (as well as through) their work.

One particularly timely exampl​e takes the shape of Pittsburgh Intern Zach Lierley, a collegiate swimmer who trained for and competed in the U.S. Olympic trials during his internship here at Protiviti.

Zach Lierley (left) pictured with his older brother at the University of Pittsburgh, where both competed as collegiate swimmers.

The trials, held in Omaha this past July, were actually Zach’s second. “I started swimming when I was 5, and by the time I was 11, I’d begun swimming competitively year-round,” he explained. “I made the cut to attend the 2012 Olympic trials prior to my senior year of high school, and I qualified again this year.”

You might think that training for the athletic event of a lifetime would preclude a person from pursuing a formative professional experience in parallel, but Zach – with the support of Chicago Recruiting Senior Specialist Eujin Kwak and the entire Pittsburgh office – has pulled it off with aplomb.

“Everyone has been so supportive and accommodating throughout my time here,” Zach said. “I think they understood that this opportunity doesn’t come around very often, and I am so appreciative of that.”

Even at the Intern Challenge in Orlando, Zach found a way to squeeze in the training he needed, Ubering back and forth to train with local coaches at a nearby pool each morning.

Eujin arranged for Zach’s absence the week of the trials, allowing him to fully experience the event he’d trained so hard to attend. “It’s probably the most unique swimming experience you’ll ever have,” Zach said. “Swimming’s not usually a big spectator sport, but here you’re center stage in a massive arena full of 10,000 people. I wasn’t fortunate enough to make it to finals, but even prelims get you pretty pumped up.”

With the trials behind him and his senior year of college inching up on the horizon, Zach is thinking ahead to life after graduation.

“Between the work I’ve done, the friends I’ve made, and the flexibility I’ve been allowed, Protiviti has been such a great experience for me,” Zach said. “I don’t know if swimming will be a big aspect of my life a year from now, but it’s great to know that there are companies out there that make this kind of work/life balance possible for their employees. That will always be important for me.”

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