Love For Tech Took Her From Side Hustles To A Full Time Design Job At Hearst
Ayana Palisuc is a motivated UI/UX designer that lives and works in the Philippines. She kicked off her career as a freelance designer during her second year in college. Six years later she says that she’s still passionate about her craft. Last year PowerToFly helped Ayana land her dream job as a full time UI/UX designer for Hearst. She now works for the New York based media powerhouse from the comfort of her home office in the Philippines.
In celebration of her first year anniversary with Hearst, we spoke with Ayana about her typical work day, her secret to crossing everything off of her to-do list, and how PowerToFly helped her secure a salary that’s 80% higher than her previous freelance pay.
How would you describe a typical work day?
Since Hearst is New York based, I work on east coast time, starting at 9:00 a.m. The first thing I do is to check my email and messages on Slack. Most of the time I talk to Theo, Hearst’s Digital Studios VP of Engineering. He assigns me tasks. I also communicate with Romina, the Project Manager and Nazat, the QA Engineer. I try to finish my tasks on the same day that they’re assigned, so that I don’t cause delays with development or testing.
What advice would you give other women interested in working remotely?
Don’t be afraid to work remotely. It gives you more time to spend with your family, and there’s lot of other benefits. For example, you can take 5–10 minute breaks or naps whenever you want, to relieve stress or to refresh your mind. You can wear whatever your want, as long as it’s comfortable enough and not distracting to your work. You save money on transportation and food.
I don’t have someone checking my monitor every other minute for updates on tasks. As long as I submit the deliverables on time and don’t delay the team, it’s fantastic. I experienced constant monitoring when I worked for a local software development company and it was stressful.
Do you have any strategies for staying efficient outside of an office?
I always write down my daily to-dos. I believe it’s more efficient than adding it to an Excel file, because when I write it down, it stays on my mind. For communicating with my colleagues who work remotely all over the world, we use Slack. It has great features that gives other tools a run for their money. Our team uses Jira so we aren’t lost whenever we have tasks.
What are the biggest challenges about working remotely? How have you overcome them?
Some of the biggest challenges with working remotely in my area is having unexpected power or WiFi interruptions. It can affect our communication and cause delays with time-sensitive tasks and deliverables. There are also times that I and other members of the team misunderstand each other. I’m thankful for Skype calls that help create better communication channels.
How do you spend your free time, when you’re not working remotely for Hearst?
It’s my first time working for a huge New York based company, remotely. Most of my previous freelance assignments were short term or project based. During the weekends, I work on small design projects. I love learning design stuff, specifically UX from my fellow UI/UX designers. I always make time to watch webinars related to my niche; as well as working on personal projects (like my own website). During my spare time I try to spend it with my family — that’s always been my favorite past time. We usually visit malls or eat out at restaurants in our area. We try to enjoy each other as much as we can.
What did you like best about working with PowerToFly to find a remote job?
From the first day that I registered with PowerToFly, I was never let down. I was always emailed potential job offers until I was hired by Hearst. Whenever I have questions, the team, especially Deveshe, are always there to assist me.
I’m thankful that PowerToFly introduced me to a great opportunity at Hearst. It’s been a year now, hopefully more years to come! PowerToFly made my dreams a reality. You helped me secure a salary that was 80% more than my previous freelance jobs. They also gave me the opportunity to work for a huge and respected company.
It's been six years since Sarah Cooper graced us with her 10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. But how on earth can we appear smart in our new virtual world, in which for many of us, going to work is just sitting in one long series of probably-not-necessary Zoom meetings?
1. Dial in.<p>Dialing in rather than joining via the link instantly boosts your credibility. Who calls into Zoom meetings? People who are still busy and important enough to be leaving their houses! But you needn't actually be one of those people, or even more than a foot away from your computer to pull off this maneuver. (Remember, this article is called *seeming* smart, not being smart.)</p><p><strong></strong><em>Bonus: </em>If it's a large meeting at which attendance will be taken, the person running the meeting will inevitably ask, "Who's calling in from 443-322-2121?" That's when you raise your metaphorical hand, jump off mute, and say "[Your name] here. Really looking forward to hearing your perspective on [meeting topic]." And voila! You've stolen the meeting spotlight.</p>
2. Don't come on camera—ever.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODU5OS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNjMwNjI3OX0.4fLyq2CvkZAJ7n_03esZepY37mOdyGdDdTEUYt5XEU0/img.png?width=980" id="bc7e6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fbbf21cc5d8c863b30654ae6993b04f5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p><br></p><p>Much like the "dial in," this technique works because it makes you appear aloof. If <em>The Crown has </em>taught me anything, it's that the key to maintaining a sense of mystique and prestige is to keep people at arm's length—and if you absolutely <em>must</em> touch them, wear a glove.</p>
3. Only communicate via chat.<p>Once you've mastered the art of staying off camera, you can level up by communicating exclusively via the chat box. Don't come off mute at all, even if the speaker asks your opinion. You are the elusive chatter and you will not be forced into actually participating in said meeting.</p>
4. Ask to share your screen.<p>Being aloof is great, but it's all about balance. Sprinkling in some active participation will really shock and impress your colleagues if you catch them off guard, so save this technique for when you've strategically <em>not </em>participated in a string of meetings.</p><p>Spend a few minutes prior to the meeting prepping a few inspirational slides with words like "synergy," "optimization," and "redefining 'culture'", or spend a few minutes poking around in Google Analytics. </p><p>Then wait for the opportune moment to say, "Can I just share my screen for a moment? I have some really interesting data I'd like to share...." and BAM — brilliance established.</p>
5. Show off your Zoom-saviness.<p>Try saying, "You know you can mute people, right?" to the host when they beg whoever's got the lawn mower and crying baby in the background to put themselves on mute for the nth time.<br></p>
6. Create an alter ego.<p>This tactic requires commitment, but the pay off is certainly worth it. Join the Zoom meeting from your normal account + name, and then join it again on a second device from an alias. Have your alter-ego ask some probing or stat-based questions in the chat and have the answers ready ahead of time. It should work something like this:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>Your alter ego Charlene</strong><strong>:</strong> "Does anyone know what percentage conversion rates increased by in Q2?"</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>Real you</strong>: *doesn't miss a beat* "It looks like Charlene has a question in the chat. That would be 36%."</p><div>Never mind that no one on your team knows who Charlene is or why she's at this meeting, they'll be too blown away by your brilliance to notice. (Bonus points if you use this strategy in conjunction with techniques 1, 2, 3 or 4!)</div>
7. Place an obscure object in your background that exudes intelligence.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODYxOC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNzk5Njg2Mn0.V9_-3Ij3v_QndseqlrXRt5Nn39EJ97-itjls5zzYPf8/img.png?width=980" id="a369d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="604a2f04b53c2e3bc801bfa5256f367b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p><br></p><p>We're talking a telescope, or perhaps a hardcover copy of <em>War & Peace </em>(no one need know that its only purpose in your life is as a makeshift yoga block).</p><p>If you don't have any suitable props at your disposal, do not despair: download some screenshots of Sheldon's apartment from <em>Big Bang Theory </em>or the chalkboard in <em>Good Will Hunting </em>and use those as a virtual background.</p>
8. Ask "Is this really the best course of action given the current climate?"<p>Economic collapse, COVID, racism… No need to specify whether you're referring to one or all of the above; just sit back and watch your boss squirm amidst the ambiguity.</p><p>This strategy pairs very well with techniques 2 and 3. You can prep additional vague-but-probing questions ahead of time and pepper them into the chat box throughout the meeting:</p><ul><li>How will this scale?</li><li>Do we really have the bandwidth for this right now?</li><li>What's the value-add here?</li></ul>
9. Remind everyone that you have a paid Zoom account.<p>"Oh, it looks like we're getting the 40-minute warning. I have a paid account, do you want to switch to my room?" It's helpful, with just a touch of condescension. Everyone knows condescending people are smart. And everyone knows that people with paid Zoom accounts are super important.</p>
10. Tell everyone you have a hard stop.<p>When pressed for details, share your philosophy on "work-from-home" balance and how committed you are to getting up once an hour to walk to your refrigerator.</p>
11. Ask the screensharer/host to "pull something up" for everyone.<p>Ask the presenter to navigate to a screen that only you know how to navigate well. Laugh maniacally while they suffer from crippling performance anxiety. Let them struggle for as long as is tolerable before saying, "Oh you know what? I can just share my screen if you want. That would probably be easier." BAM you're the hero. Don't worry, no one will even pause to consider that you could have proposed this course of action from the start.</p>
12. Say Zoom fatigue as many times as possible.<p>If you're too tired to employ any of the other strategies, just say "I know everyone is experiencing a lot of Zoom fatigue, so we can keep this meeting short." Then hang up as quickly as possible. Meeting averted! </p><p>After all, there's no better way to demonstrate your intelligence in a virtual meeting than to demonstrate why it wasn't really necessary in the first place. </p>
A five-step framework for addressing systematic racism at work
The world has changed in the past few weeks.
We're watching corporations and organizations across the world come out in support of Black lives in droves. Many of those organizations are doing so for the first time in their history.
I sat in front of my CEO to discuss several complaints of racism. I was new to my role as a Culture Director. I was nervous about his reaction to the complaints. But I also knew he strongly supported developing this new department; I knew that he would take the right steps. So I was shocked when I heard him say sheepishly, "I don't know, Noelle...all of this stuff about racism. I just don't see it. I don't even see color. I'm pretty much color blind."
Living in the midst of a pandemic has brought about a whole host of changes and challenges for workplaces and employees. One of the most notable? Virtual interviewing. With most on-site interviews on hold for the foreseeable future, it's important that you be prepared to make a great first impression—virtually.