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Thrive Global

Why I’m Joining Thrive Global As Chief Technology Officer

By Cheryl Porro, Chief Technology Officer of Thrive Global

Below is an article originally written by Cheryl Porro, Chief Technology Officer at PowerToFly Partner Thrive Global, and published on September 10, 2018. Go to Thrive Global's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

I'm thrilled to start as Thrive Global's Chief Technology Officer. Joining Thrive is not just the next step in my career. It's an opportunity for me to take what I've learned from two decades of experience building and delivering enterprise software products — most recently at Salesforce.org — and apply it to a mission that deeply resonates with me: creating technology and products that help to end the epidemic of stress and burnout.

Working at the highest levels of tech, alongside many of the industry's most talented and ambitious people, I've seen firsthand how deeply ingrained this burnout mentality is, both in individuals and in the culture at large. And I've lived it myself – more on that in a moment.

As I embark on the next phase of my own Thrive journey, here are a few key moments that have shaped me – and my beliefs around the power of technology to help us create a life of less stress, more well-being and more fulfillment.

"I'm done"

Looking back, there wasn't a single "aha" moment. It was a slow build. I was the sole breadwinner in my family, navigating, as so many women do, the competing demands and pressures of career and motherhood, professional and personal.

No matter how hard I worked, I felt I could not do justice to any of these categories. I felt anxiety and constant pressure — most of all from inside myself — and knew that if I continued on that way, I was headed for some kind of breakdown. On the surface I was successful: exceeding expectations, meeting my responsibilities; I was promoted seven times in as many years. I put in a full day at the office and then came home for dinner, but was constantly checking in with work and getting back to my laptop after the meal, often with a glass or two of red wine. And my response to the stress of it all had become physical: flare-ups of eczema, puffy eyes, exhaustion. My body was screaming "you need help!" But I'd become so used to powering through, I was able to tune out the warning signals.

Until I wasn't. One day, I walked into my boss's office and said, simply, "I'm done."

To his immense credit, he responded with patience, calm and kindness. Clearly, you're not ok, he told me. Before you rush into any big decisions, take some time off.

So I did, gratefully. And in the month that followed, I realized a truth I had been denying for years: that to really be there for my family, my company and my community, I first had to be there for myself.

Prioritizing Myself = Supercharging My Productivity

In the engineering world, you often hear people talk about "the 10x engineer." This person – an almost mythical figure in tech circles – is someone who is somehow able to be ten times more productive than the typical engineer. Where others feel like time is scarce, 10x engineers seem to have it in abundance.

I don't know if anyone has ever thought of me as a 10x engineer, but I've always been productive and proud of it. And yes, from time to time friends and colleagues have wondered aloud to me how I'm able to get so much done. And yes they are shocked when they hear that most nights I get a solid 8 hours and 20 minutes of sleep, what I have found to be the ideal amount of quality sleep for me to be at my best.

But it wasn't until I took that month off from work and began to prioritize myself that I realized how much productivity potential I had yet to tap into. Suddenly, my productivity skyrocketed. I'd unlocked potential I didn't even know I had. As I prioritized myself – in the form of more sleep, smarter food choices, a meditation practice, and more time for my beloved daily runs – I was able to reach new heights of productivity, focus, creativity. Everything, in other words, I needed to reach peak performance.

I returned to work a month later, a finalist for a new job at Salesforce, leading the technology and products team for Salesforce.org, the nonprofit arm of the company. I was extremely excited, and a little doubtful I would land it. But I got the job and had to turn around my plan for the year and present it to the president and the entire executive team over a one-week period. Something I wouldn't have previously imagined doing.

And as I returned to work, recharged and refreshed after my month away, the extent of the change in me became clear. It wasn't that I'd zeroed in on some magic bullet "life hack" or solved some complicated riddle. As I made time for people and things that truly mattered to me, something in me shifted. It was a dropping off of the ego, allowing me to be more creative and productive without second-guessing myself so much. I wasn't overthinking and overanalyzing nearly as much as I used to. As Thrive Global founder Arianna Huffington says, I'd tuned out the "obnoxious roommate" in my head – because now I had more important and supportive voices to listen to.

Grateful People Give

It wasn't just my productivity that increased. I felt a surge of gratitude that began to improve every aspect of my life. And as I felt more grateful, I became more generous.

Here's just one example: I started going to bed every night at the same time as my now-11-year-old daughter instead of staying up late to check email or chip away at the neverending pile of work. We would get ready together, read together, and start to doze off together – an expression of love and quality time I didn't even know I'd been missing. Instead of feeling that time was always getting away from me, I was looking for ways I could "give" time to others. I became even more active in my community, volunteering and serving on boards for education nonprofits and advocating for equal access to educational opportunities.

All of this forms the backdrop of my joining Thrive Global. When I first started talking to Arianna and learning about Thrive's message, I felt that I had to be a part of it, and would do whatever I could to help others get to a place of more well-being and fulfillment – before walking into their boss's office and declaring "I'm done."

I am beyond thrilled to be joining Thrive Global, where I will focus on building a world-class, diverse tech team in our new San Francisco office, so if you know any front-end, back-end, full-stack, iOS or Android engineers interested in joining our team and making a difference in the lives of millions, please email me at cporro@thriveglobal.com. And if you'd like to share your own story on Thrive, you can get started here.

popular

The Best High-Paying Remote Jobs

5 full-time work-from-home roles that pay seriously well

We—we being the internet in general, as well as PowerToFly specifically—often talk about remote work as this glorious thing: you can find professional fulfillment, friendly co-workers, and career growth potential from the comfort of your own home. All while collecting a check!

But where should you look if you want that check to be as big as possible?

Start with this guide to the best high-paying remote jobs. These career choices (and the example companies hiring for them) don't skimp out on paying remote workers well, and you'll still get all the work-from-home flexibility you're looking for. I've linked to specific job posts for each category below, but also look through the 300+ remote jobs on PowerToFly's always-updated remote job board for more.

As you apply and interview, keep these work-from-home interview questions in mind. If you find yourself with a salary offer that's good, but not quite as good as it could be, reference these salary negotiation tips for remote workers to advocate for what you deserve. And when you get the job with a great salary, make sure your home office is set up for success. And then send me a note to tell me how you're doing!

1. Senior Software Engineer

Business woman using laptop

Who It's Good For: Anyone who's a pro in programming languages (Java, Javascript, C++, Python, and SQL, to start, among others) and knows how to drive the development of products. If you like complex engineering challenges, have experience working with different systems and products, and have the discipline to program without a PM physically hovering over you (Slack hovering's allowed, though), this is for you.

Sound Like You? Check Out: Sr. Principal Software Engineer at Dell, Senior Front End Software Engineer at Plectica, Senior Software Engineer at CloudBees

Why You Can Do It Remotely: Like most heads-down-and-create work, developing software and programming are best done with minimal distractions. You'll collaborate with your team for check-ins and bug fixes, but you'll be able to focus on your project work from a home office.

Average Annual Salary: $131,875

2. User Experience Researcher Manager

Young adult woman working with laptop at mobile app

Who It's Good For: Proven researchers who know how to understand the behaviors and motivations of customers through feedback and observation, who have experience synthesizing insights into a brand story, and who have managed teams.

Sound Like You? Check Out: Senior Research Operations Program Manager at Zapier.

Why You Can Do It Remotely: As UX researcher Lindsey Redinger explains in her helpful Medium post, remote research allows companies to reach users all over the world, not just within driving distance to their headquarters, and can be cheaper for companies and easier for participants.

Average Annual Salary: $105,810

3. Senior Product Designer

Female graphic designer smiling at desk in office

Who It's Good For: Creatives with technical chops who like the challenges of evolving and improving the production of current products, leading designers, and collaborating with other parts of the business.

Sound Like You? Check Out: Senior Product Designer at SeatGeek.

Why You Can Do It Remotely: While design teams definitely need to share lots of feedback, there's technology out there to make that easy. The Help Scout design team has shared their favorite tools and tricks to collaborate remotely, which includes recording daily videos of new designs to explain features and ideas in a way a photo file just can't express. (They're also hiring! Check out open Help Scout jobs here).

Average Annual Salary: $107,555

4. Senior Security Analyst

Developing Concentrated programmer reading computer codes Development Website design and coding technologies.

Who It's Good For: Thoughtful, vigilant thinkers who enjoy identifying and fixing gaps in a company's security posture, including through ethnical hacking (hacking a company's system before outsiders can, and addressing the weak points found) and incident response (containing the negative effects of a system breach or attack).

Sound Like You? Check Out: Data Protection Security Analyst at Deloitte.

Why You Can Do It Remotely: Not all security analyst positions are remote-friendly; sometimes they require working with very sensitive data that can be compromised if taken off-site or accessed from a VPN. But with the right data processing policies—like using a privacy filter over your laptop, only using secured wifi, and encrypting your data, all suggested by WebARX security's all-remote team—remote work as a security analyst is definitely possible.

Average Annual Salary: $108,463

5. Technical Project Manager

A strong wifi connection makes for a strong relationship

Who It's Good For: Tech-friendly jack-of-all-trades with a sweet spot for spreadsheets and other organization tools.

Sound Like You? Check Out: Technical Project Manager at Avaaz.

Why You Can Do It Remotely: Project management can sometimes be like herding cats, but you don't need to be in the same room as your feline team members in order to direct them around. With collaborative software (and a highly organized home office, like PM pro Patrice Embry recommends), you can PM the most complicated of projects from wherever you're located.

Average Annual Salary: $95,129

Other Industries

Other high-paying remote-friendly jobs include certain roles in healthcare (like nurse practitioners and psychologists, who can check in with patients via video conferencing and phone calls), app developers for both iOS and Android products, actuaries and tax accountants, and data scientists.

And remember that even jobs that don't seem remote-friendly at first, could possibly be done from home or on the road. If you find a well-paying, exciting job that doesn't offer remote work immediately, it might be worth negotiating a more flexible schedule with a 1-2 day work-from-home option. Both you and the company can see what remote work actually looks like in action, and if it goes well, you can make a pitch to transition to remote work full time.

Other resources you may want to check out in your quest for meaningful, well-paid remote work:

6 Programs You Should Download Right Now if You Work Remotely

Productivity Tips for Remote Workers

Home Office Design Tips for Remote Workers

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Build Your Network at the Next PowerToFly Event

Today we celebrate our partnership with Braintree! Check out this video to see highlights from our recent networking event.

If you missed the event, fear not! Stay connected by following Braintree on PowerToFly and email us at Hi@PowerToFly.com for future events near you.

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