On helping and haymaking

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A different kind of work-life balance

Daniel Shearer moved from Austria to Graubünden. Wherever he is, his focus is always on simplifying the lives of others.

On summer evenings, while others head to the swimming pool to enjoy their hard-earned free time, Daniel Shearer can be found standing in a meadow turning cut grass. “I love it,” he says, before adding that you can always find work on a farm. At least if you are like him and actually want to do it. Daniel doesn’t want to just let time pass by – for him, breaks have to be earned. And yet there are still those little moments when you catch him appearing to just stop and dream.


Making life easier for others

“I would like to do something nobody has ever done before,” he says about his job, without coming across as the kind of person who sees it as some kind of vocation or his calling. From Monday to Friday, at around 6.30 a.m., the development engineer gets into his car in the Domleschg area of Graubünden, drives along the Rhine and through the Isla Bella tunnel, continuing on to Zizers, where he parks in front of the building of his employer, INTEGRA Biosciences, at around 7 a.m. And from Monday to Friday, at around 4 p.m., the Tyrol native exits the building and drives back home. “It’s a beautiful region,” he says of the steep and somewhat hilly area, with plateaus in between and a motorway with good connections. “You couldn’t ask for more.”

"If everyone just takes, you won't get anywhere as a society"

Between the two trips, he devotes himself to his tasks at work: forming concepts from ideas, thinking out some of them, implementing the best ones as prototypes of semi-automatic pipetting devices and sending them to series production. “No two days are alike. What’s new for the customer is already old for me.” But there’s one thing that never changes: his goal of simplifying the lives of other people.

“If everyone just takes,” he says, “you won’t get anywhere as a society.” For seven years, Daniel was an ambulance driver in his spare time. “Initially I was drawn to the flashing blue lights,” he explains. “But later, I also just wanted to do my bit to help other people.” He continues: “I rarely experienced gratitude. Most people take help for granted. Like a taxi ride.” But that didn’t bother him. He likes to help people “and maybe even change the course of their lives in the process.” But when he moved from East Tyrol to Graubünden (for love) he had to give up driving an ambulance, as they are driven by professionals in Switzerland.


Freedom in nature

The only personal item at his workspace is a clock. It is embedded in a gearwheel that comes from a Formula 3000 racing car. “It’s a gift from my dad. He grew up near the Silverstone racetrack in the UK.” He seems to have a little Silverstone in him – and not just the fascination for technology he inherited from his father. He calls his 2.5-year-old son “Junior”, pronounced with an English J.


Junior is often there when Daniel works on the farm, taking in the scent of fresh hay, riding on the tractor, listening to the mooing from the cowshed and the ringing bells when the cows in the pasture follow the calls of his father. “It’s wonderful that he has the freedom to be out here in the great outdoors.”

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