Beyond the Badge

Nature in miniature helps work/life balance

Jason Anderson holds a bonsai tree.
Lt. Jason Anderson was forced to find a work/life balance after two strokes.

Two strokes force lieutenant to reduce stress

A CDCR lieutenant who suffered two strokes was told he needed to find a way to find work/life balance to reduce stress.

Lt. Jason Anderson has worked for CDCR for more than two decades.

Inside CDCR caught up with Anderson to discuss his hobbies and life beyond the badge.

A look at a 25-year career

Where did you start your CDCR career? In what areas have you worked?

I’ve worked for CDCR for almost 25 years when I started in 1996 at CSP-Solano. I’ve worked at SOL, CDCR Headquarters, CCHCS, CSP-Sacramento, and most recently back to CCHCS. 

At various times throughout these assignments I have also been involved in special assignments or detached assignments at various institutions and in 2016 at EIS as a subject matter expert for the Incident Report Tracking in SOMS.

I’ve enjoyed every part of my career and am thankful for the opportunities to work in these various areas and develop friendships with so many amazing people working within CDCR.

Finding work/life balance

What hobbies do you enjoy and why? 

In January 2018, I had a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack), also known as a mini stroke, and in June of 2018, I had a stroke. These were devastating to me personally.  I’ve never suffered any type of brain injury and was clueless as to how it would affect me.

While I was lucky to not have any permanent outward effects, I struggle every day to regain some normalcy as I was prior to having these strokes. After almost 25 years in CDCR, it was time to slow down.

My doctor said to find a hobby away from work to have a way to de-stress and slow down.

Years ago I enjoyed both bonsai and fish-keeping but life got in the way. I got busy with family and work and slowly moved away from both hobbies as I worked more and more. Restarting these hobbies gave me a way to deal with the day-to-day stresses inside a prison.

Now, I’m an avid bonsai hobbyist and also enjoy aquariums. I have both a reef and freshwater aquarium. 

I’ve also just recently begun learning to play acoustic guitar.

What inspires you to keep putting one foot in front of the other?  

I’d say my family.  I have three kids (two boys, 26 and 21 and a 12 year old daughter) and an amazing supportive wife who I try to show that life shouldn’t get you down.  I’ve been married for almost 27 years and have always believed in fighting for what you believe in.  Whether that be your marriage, career or life in general. 

Are you involved in any outside organizations?

Although the pandemic has slowed many of our local club activities, I am active in many Bonsai workshops offered by different well-known Bonsai teachers. I look forward to things getting back to normal where I can become a part of some of our local Bonsai clubs.

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor

Learn more about bonsai.

See more stories highlighting CDCR/CCHCS staff.

Follow us on YouTubeFacebook and Twitter.