49 Tips For Working Moms
It's not easy working two full-time jobs. Much less so in an age where long hours have become a status symbol. So in honor of Mother's Day, we reached out to our community to ask women at all stages of motherhood and their careers what they wish they'd known before they started their second full-time job as a mom.
Because at the end of the day, it takes a village... and our village came out strong to share their tips for working moms. 49 amazing women contributed to this piece. (And it's no surprise that the most common piece of advice was to be kind to yourself... so moms, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! Enjoy your day - you deserve it).
Here's what they had to say:
"When I became a working mom, I wish I knew that 'work/life balance' was not a real thing! I've learned it's about reaching a balanced spot within each of those areas, which has looked different at different times of life. When things are balanced at work, it makes family life run more smoothly. When the family feels balanced, I can be more invested at work. 'Work' and 'life' do not have to be in competition with each other - they can actually create synergy if you pay attention to the pain points and re-shift your focus and energy along the way." - Sara Klucsarits, Manager, Talent Development at Carvana
"In our constant struggle to balance a career and motherhood, we forget the fact that we cannot 'have it all.' Bridge that guilt gap by prioritizing and being selective, and always remember having a working mama doesn't hurt kids, and research proves it." - Sakshi Verma, Technical Recruiter at Netskope
"Always remember where you are and why. When you are at work - be all in. When you are with your child - be all in. Resist the urge to feel guilty about not being somewhere else and always give yourself grace." - Julia R. Kulikowski, Clinical Data Analyst at Flatiron Health
"I am a new mother in the process of transitioning back to work. Right now, I need to acknowledge that the reality is, it isn't easy. I'm exhausted and overwhelmed, it may feel that way for a while, and that's okay. Right now I feel like I have three jobs: working, being a mom, and producing milk for my baby, and I have no idea how to successfully juggle all three. What keeps me going first and foremost, is being kind to myself. Accepting help from others, stealing naps when I can, and focusing only on the most important priorities - which means letting everything else go for a little while." - Rebecca Clayman, Brand Marketing at Cloudflare
"The #1 piece of advice I wish I'd been given is to be kind to yourself. You can do it all, but not perfectly, and not all the time. Just accept that sometimes your kid is going to come first, and your job is going to have to be okay with that... and don't feel guilty about it!" - Chiara Hughes, Head of Corporate & Technical Recruiting at Carvana
"NEVER feel guilty about unplugging from the office and spending family time... Take 'me time' on a regular basis and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it." - Nancy A. Shenker, CEO, Innovator & Brand Storyteller at theONswitch
"Be kind to yourself and don't focus on the small stuff. Make time for you, or you'll find it difficult to impossible to take care of everyone counting on you." - Maria Jacobson, Sales Leader at Karat
"Know that you are enough in both spaces – at home and at work. Do not feel guilty about or ignore the need for a third space – of your own making, whatever that may mean to you. Take care of yourself and the rest will follow!" - Erin Becker, Marketing Services Team Lead, Digital Sales at Autodesk
"Take your time to transition back to work – you have just undergone some major shifts emotionally, mentally and physically and if you honor yourself and take things slowly, your boss (employer) will honor you too. Don't rush to pick up exactly where you left off – the only person that expects that of you is you – so be kind and graceful in this transition and soak in the love and light of the new human you brought into this world. I would have loved to have worked fewer hours in the days before birth, up to a year after my daughter was born…Still go into work but leave an hour or two earlier." - Elinor Cohen, Life Coach
"Embrace being a full-time mom! When I first became a working mother, I felt guilty about leaving my children so I could go to work. I also felt guilty about wanting to leave work right on time so I could rush home to my children. I wish back then, I would have known that it is okay not to feel guilty about being a mom and having a full time job. Over the years, I have learned that it is all about having and adapting to a work/life balance and being fully present in both." - Kam Smedley, Renewals Specialist II at PagerDuty
"Don't forget to practice self care. When I became a working mom, I tried to continue giving everything I had to my husband, my baby, my job. Somewhere along the way, I got lost. My identity was tied to motherhood and work and that was it. Take time to go to the gym, eat healthy, spend time with friends... anything to ensure you are taking care of your needs too. If you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else." - Karey Hoffman, Senior Director of Sales at Scout RFP
"It's a significant transition that will require you to rewire the way you're used to things. Be patient with yourself along the journey and realize that nobody is expecting you to figure it out right away. I was so hard on myself in the beginning. It wasn't until later that I realized my mindset was sometimes getting in the way of me evolving into my new identity more than the new challenges themselves." - Hamida Khalifa, People Partner at Asana
"I had such a hard time returning to work because I was feeling guilty about leaving my kids. I wish I had known that my babies would be fine in daycare and that they'd develop independence skills that they would not have done otherwise." - Abby Carrales, Security Compliance Specialist, Cloudflare
"Many things will be out of your control when you go back to work. Get mentally prepared for that. Invest whatever it takes to find the right care provider for your little one - someone you can trust 100%! Otherwise, the hours spent at work will be unproductive and you will be constantly on your phone texting your nanny or wondering if your baby is doing alright at daycare." - Boryana Kalinova, Business Operations and Planning Lead at PagerDuty
"Always create your own definition of ambition and success—and realize that up is not the only way forward for women. It's easy to get caught up in the power sisterhood's mantra that it's every woman's responsibility to get to the top of business and government. While certainly more women should be at the top…it's not a path that all women should feel pressured to follow. Today there are so many more opportunities than when I was a young mother to work in lucrative, professional ways that fit and fund life. And these options are often much more practical for women in the everyday sisterhood who are also caring for children and aging parents." - Kathryn Sollmann, Career Coach, Speaker, Author
"Do not compromise on your career growth, and never settle for less than you want to be. Fulfilling your potential will make you a happier person and a better mom." - Limor Bergman Gross, Director of Engineering at DigitalOcean
"Let go of perfection. Give yourself time to acclimate and adjust to being back at work, balancing a career and motherhood is no easy feat. Make a list and prioritize, otherwise you feel like you're always in a state of chaos and one step behind. And always remember to make a little time for yourself!" - Tamara Rodriguez, Customer Success Manager at Checkr
"Everybody has an opinion on what a mother should do, but only a mother knows what works for her family and herself."- Emilie Abblard, Software Development Manager at Autodesk
"There are going to be things that other people think are important that aren't important to you - that doesn't make you wrong. Decide what you value, what you're good at, and what brings you joy - and do those things. Explicitly choose not to do the other things, and don't feel badly about it." - Kate Reading, Engineering Manager at Asana
"Don't be afraid to accept and/or ask for help!' Being a parent is hard and there are unique challenges faced by moms working outside the home. As a first-time mom I held myself to an unrealistic standard, but the reality is that it truly takes a village! So don't be afraid to take your friends, family and neighbors up on their offers to help- this is NOT a sign of weakness. And one day, when you're no longer a sleep-deprived zombie, you can return the favor!" - Nicole Rackiewicz, Attorney at Rosenberg, Klein & Lee
"Having a strong partner at home, but also at work was key for me to succeed as a working mom. My husband is a true partner, he's in it with me all the way, at nights, in the morning, but also during the day if my work prevents me from attending mommy duty. When I went back to work after my first child, I realized I also needed that level of support at the office. There will be days where you will be late to work, where you'll have to rush back home for an emergency or simply need a day to SLEEP. That's when you'll appreciate having a strong team to support you, to elevate you on the good days, but especially on the bad ones." - Alex Schinasi, CoFounder of Ivy
"Relying on your colleagues to help run a project, or relying on your most trusted personal network (your partner, family, or friends), when you need advice or an extra set of hands, is far more rewarding than I expected. Just because you can get everything done doesn't mean it's the best option for your team, for your family, or for you." - Daniella Vallurupalli, Head of Communications at Cloudflare
"It is ok to ask for help – You don't have to have it all figured out. Motherhood has constant learning curves and there are many mothers (and fathers) out there that can provide great insight and advice. Remember, you are not alone! Surround yourself with the right support system and advocates because that will make you feel more confident transitioning back into the working world." - Julia Roquemore, Sr. Manager, Global Talent Acquisition at Cisco Meraki
"Ask for help from your tribe - family, friends, place of worship, neighbors - and ask often. Asking for help doesn't mean you're not a good mom or you can't handle the life of a being a working professional and a parent. Sometimes we just need an extra hand and too often we're afraid to ask - and offer help to fellow parents, working or not, because sometimes the ones who need the most help are the least likely to ask." - Amy O'Hara, Associate Director of Corporate Communications at Carvana
"Ask for help! Being a new mom can be hard physically, emotionally and mentally. Don't be afraid to reach out to family, friends, and your employer." - Robbie Fang, Director - User Operations at Checkr
"Motherhood has the power to transform you in a way that is beneficial to your work. You develop new skills in parenting that will actually help you outperform your former self. You become more bold; you are able to ruthlessly prioritize; and your focus at work hits a new level. These are important skills for anyone, especially leaders. The neuroscience supports this, and the best workplaces acknowledge this and are happy to have parents on their teams." - Janet Van Huysse, Head of People, Cloudflare
"I just came back to work after having my second child. Having spent most of my adult life driving my career (waited till I was 40 to have my first baby), the biggest shock to me is that I am not able to come back and perform work in the same way that I did before I went out. Motherhood transforms you in so many unexpected ways: your values are different, what used to upset you doesn't matter anymore and you suddenly feel passionate about things you never cared about, and I discovered a crazy strong nurturing instinct I frankly never knew I had. All of this impacts how you do your work... and you may even feel like you're failing, but ultimately the changes that impact your work are in fact positive. " - Renee Taormina, People Systems and Operations, Cloudflare
"It's okay to realize that working makes me a better mother and being a mother makes me better at work. I'm constantly reminding myself of this on those days when juggling it all seems too hard and it's so easy to fall into the trap of feeling guilty about not spending enough time with my family or not putting those extra hours in at work. I need to remind myself that my contributions at work and at home are much more impactful because of the soft skills I continue to develop as a working mother." - Gigi Chiu, Solutions Engineer, Cloudflare
"Working moms are given super powers. Before the birth of my first child I couldn't fathom how I would balance a full-time career and motherhood. Yet, it all worked out beautifully and I wish I didn't spend so much timing worrying about the logistics and "what ifs." Somehow working moms are able to do the impossible, and are given strengths that allow them to be some of the most productive, efficient, and skilled multitaskers at home and in the workplace." - Katie Bouwkamp, Senior Manager of Internal Communications and Employer Brand at Smartsheet
"As much as I am attached to my baby, I never imagined how much I'd actually want to go back to work after maternity leave- I wish someone had told me that it would actually be a relief to go back to talking to normal adults again; I wouldn't have been so apprehensive about the transition." - Laurel Kiskanyan, Senior Recruiter at DigitalOcean
"It's ok to enjoy being a working mom! I couldn't afford to be a stay at home mom so I went back to work after my first son was only 6 weeks old, I felt very guilty for many years because it felt selfish. Once I gave myself permission to be a working mom, it was freeing, I was a better employee and a better mom." - Stephanie Mirch, Head of Customer Success at Nanit
"I have been a working, single mom for my entire career in tech. My advice to new moms who work outside the home is to work for good people who value you in and outside the office. There will always be times that you feel as though you don't measure up as a mom and as a professional, but most of the time you will feel valued and fulfilled in both settings. If you thrive at work, it will reflect in your parenting. Don't sweat the one time you miss pickup because you're absorbed in your work. Your child will survive, your village will back you up, and you'll only make that mistake once." - Susan Hobbs, Chief of Staff, Cloudflare
"You should feel empowered to prioritize your family and don't make excuses for doing so. I have worked in very male-dominated industries my entire career. Once I became a mother, I recognized that I need to articulate how they could best support me, and they did, but I think many women are afraid to speak up and set boundaries about hours, travel, etc. Once I did, it was respected and honestly, often times championed." - Paige Guzman, VP Marketing at PAX
"If you find yourself in a toxic workplace or abusive boss situation - leave. You might think you're doing the right thing for your children by staying, but you're actually emotionally damaging yourself in the process. Don't be afraid to aim higher." - Brenda Elwood, PLM Program Manager, Hardware Engineering at PAX
"Speak up honestly and frequently about what you need to be successful now. Becoming a mom is hard work and requires a whole new set of priorities, insights, and attempts to balance your life. Your needs will ebb and flow as your child(ren) grow, and a good employer will listen and understand this." Nora Moravec-Gallagher, Customer Success Manager at Karat
"You won't always feel that you are doing well at both and that's ok. Some days are better than others. Find a company that supports parents and allows for flexibility so that you can find a good balance for yourself and your family." - Nicole Stanley Polizzi, Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition at PAX
"Put it on the calendar! Before becoming a parent, I was pretty impromptu with scheduling things. I've now learned to lean into the fact that toddlers thrive on schedules, and just get everything into a preset rhythm - from weekly grocery shopping, to standing date nights and dinners with friends, to a designated day each quarter for catching up on home maintenance or finances. This gets the to-do list out of my head and into an app, so I can stay present in the moment with my family, friends and colleagues." - Urmila Nadkarni, Senior Software Engineer at Convoy
"Being a mother is the most rewarding job you will ever experience but it is also not an easy one. My advice to all first-time moms is to embrace the power of "No." It is going to be hard, but once you learn that skill, you will free up a bunch of time to focus on things you really need to. Don't be hard on yourself and set your own boundaries. You are the best role model your kids can have." - Deepika Khowal, Customer Success Manager (#Mom first) at Autodesk
"Figure out what is the one important thing you want to do each day to feel happy as a mom, and set boundaries around that. It could be dropping your child off to school every morning, or being home in time for dinner. Plan your work day around it. Learn to set boundaries and protect what is important to you as a working mother. But, also learn to accept less than perfection from yourself. Once in a while a work trip will come along and your kids will not see you for a couple days. It is ok - they are watching and learning from you how to balance their lives too." - Sangeeta Chakraborty, Vice president Customer Success at Checkr
"Your kids won't recall if you made the perfect Pinterest-ready treats for the class party, or if the house was sparkling clean every night. They'll remember the fun, silly, sweet moments they spent with you, so make room for and prioritize those times, and try to let the other stuff slide." - Nicole LeClerc, Content Designer at Autodesk
"There is no right or wrong way to balance it all, hone in on finding the groove that best fits your situation and needs. Be fully PRESENT wherever you are - at work or at home. Carve out dedicated time to take care of yourself!"- Shauna Wu, Senior Events Manager at Smartsheet
"Don't look at email or texts while you are spending time with your children off-Hours. Looking back, I wish I had created better boundaries." - Mary Ann Bianco, VP Customer Success
"Multitasking is nearly impossible! Try to focus on the task at hand, if you are with your kids BE present with them, resist the urge to open emails by turning off the notifications after business hours. If you are at work BE present there. Not everyday is a perfect split of responsibilities, but if you give 100% to what is in front of you then you will accomplish a lot." - Rebecca Arsham, Online Program Manager at Autodesk University
"The time away from work you have to spend with your kids is gold! They are also your motivation to challenge yourself and get things done! Kids learn from just seeing what you do and I want to teach my daughter that the world is hers!" - Cynthia Newsome, Deal Development Executive-Sales Operations Services at Autodesk
"Working mothers: you are amazing! What I have learned about being a working mother is that you may not be able to give your kiddo(s) all your time, but when you can, give them all your hugs and smiles. That's what they care about anyway." - Lily Kerrigan, Inside Sales at PAX
"Be present. When you're at work, be efficient and enjoy the time with your colleagues. When at home, put your phone away and fully engage with your kids. Sometimes you can get more done when you try to do less... Make small adjustments as you need them. Leaving 15 minutes earlier, packing bags before bed, trying a new workout. Feeling overwhelmed doesn't mean everything is broken, it just takes a few tries to find what works for you." - Trish Tormey, Product Marketing Manager at Asana
- 20 Lessons for Balancing Family and Career - PowerToFly Blog ›
- 20 Lessons for Balancing Family and Career - PowerToFly Blog ›
10 Full-Time Roles You Can Do Remotely! [Updated Sept 2021]
[This article was updated September 20, 2021]
Work-from-home jobs sometimes get a bad reputation: low pay, repetitive work, micromanagement... the list goes on. But if one good thing has come out of 2020, it's that it's redefined working from home. Remote work has come a long way, and the opportunities to work from home in 2021 are more promising than ever before.
If you're like me, and freelance, task-oriented remote jobs like article writing, data entry, transcription, or professional survey taking (yep, that exists), aren't your thing - don't worry. There are more full-time remote opportunities than ever before that offer you the freedom to manage your own time, the security of consistent monthly income, the support of a team, and the promise of growth. In fact, we've got close to 5,000 on PowerToFly.
So, if you're looking for a remote opportunity in 2021 that will push you to develop professionally, look no further than our list of the 10 best work-from-home jobs. And by best, we mean fun, challenging roles that will help you grow, while making a respectable income.
All the jobs listed have average salaries between 45 and 119k, and have average or higher-than-average growth potential (based off of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' predictions for growth from 2018 to 2028 and/or LinkedIn's 2020 Emerging Jobs Report).
10 Best Work-From-Home (Remote) Jobs for 2021
Jobs sorted from highest to lowest average salary. (Salary data taken from ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and/or the U.S. BLS depending on availability and specificity to remote roles.)
Who It's Good For: Detail-oriented stats masters skilled at identifying and understanding trends.
Why You Can Do It Remotely: With more data than ever before at our fingertips, companies know the value of hiring folks who know "big data" as more than just a buzzword. True stats buffs are hard to come by, so expertise often outweighs location.
Growth 2018-2028: 30.7%
Average Annual Salary: $119,000
Who It's Good For: Self-directed (and disciplined) coding enthusiasts who love problem solving and having the freedom to work whenever they feel most focused.
Sound Like You? Check Out: 4,000+ Software Developer/Engineer jobs on PowerToFly and be sure to check out this Q&A with software engineer, Kasey Champion to learn about her experience working at a fully remote company and get her tips for acing technical interviews!)
Why It Can Be Done Remotely: Arguably, not only can programming be done remotely - it should be! Why? Writing code requires undisturbed blocks of time rarely found in traditional workplaces.
As computer scientist and entrepreneur Paul Graham observed in his essay on makers' vs. managers' schedules:
" Most powerful people are on the manager's schedule...But there's another way of using time that's common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can't write or program well in units of an hour. That's barely enough time to get started."
Office culture was designed with managers' schedules in mind, and thus makes adhering to a maker's schedule extremely difficult. Remote work, alternatively, is much more conducive to this. After all, it's a lot easier to snooze your Slack notifications than it is to ignore your boss literally hovering over your shoulder.
Growth for 2018-2028: 21%
Average Annual Salary: $111,781
3.Designer (Web, Graphic, Product, or UI/UX)
Who It's Good For: Designers who do their best work independently or from the comfort of their own home.
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote Design Roles
Why You Can Do It Remotely: No doubt there's value in brainstorming with your team, but once you know the needs of a project, most design work can be done independently and then shared. With tools like Zoom, Jira, and Slack, it's easier than ever before to share your work, get feedback, and hit deadlines. (And, like programmers/developers, designers are also more likely to benefit from a maker's schedule!)
Average Annual Salary (for UX Design): $98,816 according to data from ZipRecruiters
Average Median Salary (for Graphic Design): $50,370 in 2018, according to the U.S. BLS (not specific to remote roles)
Who It's Good For: Anyone who loves big-picture strategy and building products that users will love.
(If you enjoy more nitty-gritty task oversight, consider project management instead — both roles can be done remotely! You can learn more about the differences between the two PM roles here.)
Why You Can Do It Remotely: As more and more software engineers and other tech professionals work remotely, it only makes sense that the PMs coordinating with them work remotely. If you're a virtual communication wiz comfortable communicating online and using tools like Zoom, GitHub, Jyra, Slack, and Asana (the list goes on...), then you're all set!
Annual Growth: 24%*
*Based on expected growth for Product Owner from LinkedIn's emerging jobs report. The BLS doesn't currently track growth specifically for Product Manager positions.
Average Annual Salary: $81,149
5.P.A., Nurse, or Nurse Practitioner
Who It's Good For: An experienced medical practitioner ready to swap 12 hour shifts for a more flexible schedule.
Why You Can Do It Remotely: New technology is changing the way healthcare is delivered. You can provide wellness and medical education, patient-centered care, and treatment virtually, all while collaborating with a multi-disciplinary team of engineers, physicians, and medical assistants.
Growth for 2018-2028 (Nurse Practitioner): 26%
Average Annual Salary (Remote Nurse): $73,374
Who It's Good For: Top-notch communicators (writers) who can explain complex topics succinctly and clearly. (It's helpful if you have expertise in at least one technical subject.)
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote Technical Writer Jobs
Why It Can Be Done Remotely: Like programmers, technical writers are makers - they need large, undisturbed blocks of time to create content. Technology and the nature of remote work can help ensure writers are able to communicate efficiently with their teams and organize meetings when they'll be constructive, not distracting.
Growth for 2018-2028: 8%
Average Annual Salary: $68,,454
7.Customer Success Manager
Who It's Good For: Good communicators who love helping others and problem-solving.
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote Customer Success Roles
Why It Can Be Done Remotely: Most customer service needs can be met over the phone and online. With a computer and good internet connection (and enough patience), you can handle all your customers' needs from wherever you are.
Growth for 2020: 34% annual growth rate (The BLS doesn't share data specific to customer success, but thanks to the growth of SaaS, Customer Success Specialist made LinkedIn's 2020 list of the top 15 emerging jobs)
Average Annual Salary: $67,371
Who It's Good For: Folks who are equal parts creative and analytical.
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote Marketing Manager Jobs on PowerToFly
Why You Can Do It Remotely: Analyzing industry trends and crafting strategy can be done from anywhere. And with teams becoming more and more spread out, you can coordinate cross-functionally with sales people, engineers, and more using Zoom, Slack, and other online tools.
Growth for 2018-2028: 8%
Average Annual Salary: $62,788 (according to data for remote professionals from ZipRecruiters)
Average Median Salary: $134,290 in 2018, according to the U.S. BLS (not specific to remote roles)
Who It's Good For: A people-person skilled in market research, project/time management, and negotiation.
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote Recruiting Roles
Why You Can Do It Remotely: As remote work takes off and fully remote teams become more common, it only makes sense that recruiters at these companies would be remote as well. Although recruiting saw a dip at the start of the pandemic, the number of remote recruiting roles is steadily increasing as companies ramp back up their hiring goals—we have hundreds of open remote recruiter roles on PowerToFly!
Growth for 2018-2028: 5%
Average Annual Salary: $59,474
10.Sales Development Representative
Who It's Good For: A self-starter with previous experience or an interest in Sales, or anyone who's just starting out and eager to prove themselves!
Sound Like You? Check Out: Remote SDR Roles
Why You Can Do It Remotely: You don't need to be in a particular location to make sales calls, deliver pitches, send follow-up emails, or manage your sales team. And if you have to fly from an office to meet a client, you can just as easily fly from your hometown.
Growth for 2018-2028: 5%
Median Annual Salary (not specific to remote) for SDRs: $45,937
Interested in one of the roles above? Check out these resources for landing your dream remote job and get ready to reap the full benefits of remote work in 2021 - doing what you like, where you like. Good luck!
[A version of this article was originally published on Dec. 19, 2018]
Presented in partnership with 15five
If you are in talent acquisition or you are a hiring manager, you probably already know that it's a candidate's market for the foreseeable future. The world has changed forever over the last two years and that includes the talent acquisition space.
PowerToFly has partnered with 15five, a human-centered performance management platform, to present a free webinar on the practices and pitfalls of talent acquisition and retention through a diverse lens. This is a great opportunity to start setting clear goals for 2022.
Join us Thursday, November 4th at 1pm Eastern (10am Pacific)? RSVP HERE (It's free!)
PowerToFly's Sienna Brown, Global Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will be joined by Mike Fitzsimmons, CEO & Co-Founder at Crosschq; Shweta Jacob, Recruiting Team Lead at Lever and moderator Polly Stocks, Human Resources Business Partner at 15Five for an honest and interactive discussion on all things talent acquisition and inclusive hiring.
Can't attend our webinar on November 4th? 15five also has upcoming talks on goal clarity, employee recognition and performance reviews with such speakers as Chris Timol, President & COO at PuzzleHR. Your free registration works for all talks!
Insight from Elastic's Stacey King Poling
Stacey King Poling knows that tornadoes don't really sneak up on you.
Growing up in Texas and living around the west, including in Oklahoma, Stacey knew what to look and listen for regarding the powerful storms: the National Weather Service warnings, the emergency sirens, the regular instructions on where to go and how to protect yourself. All that preparation and advanced warning helped Stacey and her family live through the 2013 El Reno tornado, the widest tornado ever recorded, and escape unscathed.
If only burnout had the same warning system.
With a 25-year career in engineering, Stacey, who is currently the Director of Engineering for Cloud Productivity at Elastic, has worked on her fair share of high-stress projects. She loves solving hard problems and always found herself energized by them, even when they required long hours of intense effort. A few years ago, though, she started to realize that her energy and motivation were dropping.
A perfect storm of tons of work, a lack of personal boundaries, and a neglectful boss had been brewing, but Stacey didn't see it coming. She burnt out right into a layoff, and only recovered when her next job forced her into an office with clear start and stop times. When COVID hit and sent everyone back to their home offices, where work and life balances blurred, she was back where she'd started.
We sat down with Stacey to hear more about her experience, including why she decided to join the Elastic team and what she's doing there to ensure her engineers don't have the same experience she did.
Finding Her Passion—and a Way in the Door
Stacey knew she wanted to work in technology the day she saw the movie Tron. "From that moment I was like, 'Oh, that is my life. I need to be part of this. I don't even know what it is, but it's awesome,'" she remembers.
She learned how to program in BASIC on her parents' Commodore 64, eventually winning an award for her first video game, which she coded when she was in the seventh grade. She went to school to become a mathematician, but didn't have the money to finish her degree, so she started taking database and tech support jobs as she could find them.
"Not a lot of people wanted to give me a shot," says Stacey. "I had to push really, really hard, above and beyond anyone else in my peer group, just to get in the door."
After a string of temp jobs, she applied for a contractor position at IBM. She thought the interview went terribly, but when she got home, she had a voicemail informing her she'd gotten the job.
"It opened a whole new world for me," says Stacey, who got down to work and says that she automated herself out of a job within the first few weeks. IBM was impressed, and had her move over to their web team, which is when she got the infrastructure bug.
"I thought I was going to go into software engineering, because that's where all the glamour is, but I liked the infrastructure side much better. It is so challenging and hard. There's so many areas you have to understand, all different types of systems work," she explains.
She loved her manager at IBM and loved the chance to learn about automation and to push technology forward. Until, eight years into her career there—with not a day of burnout in sight—she was laid off.
Entering the job market was different this time around. With IBM on her resume, she had an offer in two weeks, and began exploring different roles. She did a bit of software engineering and confirmed she didn't like it, then did some systems and integration engineering where she got very into application performance monitoring. "I found a memory leak that was eating up enormous amounts of resources, and it was like, 'Holy crap, I'm good at this.' It's kind of like being a detective, and I really liked it," says Stacey.
She basically created a dev ops function before that function existed, going so far as to speak at tech conferences about it and winning an industry award—her first since the certificate she'd earned for her seventh-grade video game—for her contributions.
As her career grew and advanced, so did her responsibilities. Though Stacey had long been committed to staying an individual contributor, she started to absorb management responsibilities, too, taking on one team, then another.
She kept herself sane by rationalizing that the people she was managing didn't report to her in Workday. "I didn't have official responsibility over them. And there's something about the officialness of that responsibility that changes the game," says Stacey.
But that was just a formality: she was still in charge of hiring, firing, performance reviews, and capacity management. She also had a full plate of technical lead responsibilities to juggle alongside it.
It was just a matter of time until she burned out trying to do it all.
Backing Her Way Into a Burnout Diagnosis
"I'm a super workaholic, right? I'm passionate about what I do. I love it. I could do this all day and all night and be super happy," says Stacey. "That's why I didn't know I was getting burned out."
She paints the picture: Stacey was working her regular hours, which started when she woke up and ended when she went to sleep, which was never for long. She hadn't taken vacation in years, even when her mother was dying. If she woke up during her few hours of sleep, she'd decide to log on and get a little more work done, to push her team a little further along.
"I started getting really uninspired. My motivation levels were dropping. I know everybody has their off days or even weeks, but I wasn't picking up; this was going on for weeks," she says. "I knew the work was important, I thought the work was interesting, but I couldn't get excited about it."
When there was a round of layoffs at that company and Stacey's next role required her to be in the office, everything changed. After years of working from home and having little to no division between her personal life and the demands of her work, having to be in the office—and to leave the office—at a certain time each day shrunk her work day to a manageable eight hours.
"It really gave me the rest that I needed. I got a good routine going, doing workouts and getting my weekends back and seeing friends and family. It really refreshed me, and I didn't realize how important that was until hindsight," says Stacey.
Then the pandemic hit.
Back in her home office, Stacey found herself slipping into old patterns. But this time it was even worse, because she had just taken on teams and projects distributed between the U.S. and Shenzhen, so she'd stay up until late at night to talk to her team in Shenzhen, then hand things off to her counterpart there so she could sleep for a few hours before logging back on and picking it up again.
"I was so tired. I started seeing other people dropping like flies, and I was like, 'There's got to be a connection to why I feel the way I do and why I don't wake up and get excited about my work anymore,'" she says. "It's amazing how those old habits will come right back if you don't protect your time."
Why Elastic—and Stacey's 2-Step Guide for Creating a Healthy Culture There
Even knowing she was prone to burnout, Stacey couldn't stop herself from sliding back into it. Looking back on it now, she attributes some of that to the toxic management culture she had there.
"The CIO was the type of person that said sleep was for the weak and really was extremely demanding," she explains. "It would have been nice to have somebody who would set the example for me. So I wouldn't feel guilty [for not being online], you know?"
She knew that no amount of personal boundaries could change a toxic culture, and that it was time to change companies. She'd used Elastic's products before and liked them, and after seeing they had a role open on LinkedIn, she started to investigate their culture.
Their Glassdoor reviews were "outstanding," says Stacey, and she loved how their recruiting process gives applicants a chance to schedule time to chat with someone of a similar background at Elastic. She ended up talking to a guy named Dan, who had also spent time at IBM.
"I was like, 'Give me the real juice, you know?' And he was like, 'Seriously, I'd tell you if it wasn't, but it's a great place,'" remembers Stacey.
The cherry on top? Elastic's tech-first leadership. Part of why she burned out at her old company was because they didn't recognize the weight of being a combined people manager and technical lead—they usually divided those responsibilities, and Stacey was the odd one out for having both.
"But Elastic is a technical company first. They have demands and expectations that all of their leadership are very technical," says Stacey. In other words? "You have to know your shit."
That was "game-changing" to Stacey, and she decided to apply. She'd gone from being curious about another role to being sure that the role at Elastic was the one for her. Luckily for her, they agreed.
Six months in, she's quite happy with the move. And she's quite committed to making sure she creates an environment where her engineers can succeed—without burning out.
It's a two-step process, explains Stacey. First, there's setting an example of stepping away and taking rest. That looks like visibly being offline herself, as a director.
"You have to be really, really careful because you can get bored of playing any game if that's all you do," says Stacey. "I sign out and step away so that people don't see me online."
It looks like encouraging people to take vacations and breathers when they need them.
"If they want to push through and do a twenty-four hour push, that's awesome. But I better not see them for two days, either," says Stacey.
And it looks like respecting people's time off and not bothering them during it.
"I have a lot of regrets about the time that I spent with my mom and didn't get to spend with my mom, and I never want anybody to go through that. There's no single thing at work, big picture, small picture, that will ever be more important than that," says Stacey.
The second thing is all about giving her team the credit for their own wins.
"I try to make sure that they have ownership of the work that they're doing, that they own the success of it, that they get acknowledgement, because a lot of times in engineering, people don't get the credit for it," she says.
The combination—a healthy approach to time off, and healthy appreciation of the effort put in during working hours—is allowing Stacey to create the kind of place she wishes she'd worked in before.
"I want every single person on my team to know that I know who they are, I know the work that they're doing, and I appreciate their work, because I want them to be proud of their work and love what they do."
Learn more about the amazing speakers and sponsors from our October 2021 virtual summit Diversity Reboot: Lifting Latin Voices All Over The World; 4 days of fireside chats, panel discussions, networking sessions, and our 2-day virtual job fair featuring 16 companies.
From discussions on what it means to be a member of the Latinx community to the correct terminology to refer to this diverse community - we covered it all! If you tuned in, thank you! If you didn't, you can relive the entire experience on our PowerToFly website.
We want to extend a HUGE thanks to our Gold sponsors Pluralsight, UnitedHealth Group, Autodesk, Smartsheet, PwC, NGA, and American Express plus our Silver sponsor dv01. (All of those companies are hiring, by the way) This summit would not have been possible without the contributions of our Influencer sponsors Techqueria, Latinas in Tech, and APCO Worldwide.
Also, don't forget to visit our Merch Store and grab yourself some PowerToFly apparel, we donate 100% of the proceeds from our sales to TransTech Social, supporting transgender people in tech.
Registration for our last Diversity Reboot 2021 summit: Supporting Military and Veteran Spouses is now open! If you're a veteran or a military official looking for a civilian role that will leverage your prior skills and experience, or a spouse looking for a job that can accommodate your mobile lifestyle, we hope you'll join us to hear directly from companies committed to supporting military members and their families!
Special Moments from the Summit
Rep. Ritchie Torres: "If We Don't Care Enough to Fight, No One Else Will"
"If We Don't Care Enough To Fight, No One Else Will" www.youtube.com
Fostering a DEI Community as a Latin Leader
Fostering a DEI Community As A Latin Leader www.youtube.com
Claudia Romo Edelman: Creating Support Networks in the Latin Community
Creating Support Networks In The Latin Community www.youtube.com
When You're Aligned with Your Passion, "Magic" is Not Enough To Describe It!
When You're Aligned With You Passion, "Magic" Is Not Enough To Describe It! www.youtube.com
Dr. Anthony Ocampo's Take on Queer+Immigrant Identity
Dr. Anthony Ocampo's Take On Queer+Inmigrant Identity www.youtube.com
Our Gold Sponsors
Founded in 2004 and trusted by Fortune 500 companies, Pluralsight is the technology skills platform organizations and individuals in 150+ countries count on to innovate faster and create progress for the world.With assessments, learning paths and courses authored by industry experts, our platform helps businesses and individuals close skills gaps in critical areas, innovate faster and deliver on key objectives.Our technology skills platform helps companies create life-changing products that better the lives of their customers. It empowers technologists to dream big and do big. And this is what motivates us every day.
UnitedHealth Group is on a mission to help people live healthier lives and to help make the health system work better for everyone. A Fortune 6 company, they're focused on helping people live healthier lives while making the health system work better for everyone. Here, they seek to empower people with the information, guidance and tools to make personal health choices.They work harder and they aim higher. They expect more from themselves and each other.
And, at the end of the day, they're doing a lot of good for more than 142 million people worldwide.
Their biggest point of differentiation is their people - and the collective talent, energy, intelligence and drive their force of 305,000 individuals around the world bring to our mission every single day.
UnitedHealth Group logo
They make software for people who make things. From the greenest buildings to the cleanest cars, from the smartest factories to the biggest stories, amazing things are created every day with Autodesk. Over four decades they've worked together with their customers to transform how things are made, and in doing so, they've also transformed what can be made. A car's performance now inspires the method of its manufacture, a city's infrastructure helps predict the unpredictable, and the creation of ever-bigger universes shapes ever-bigger stories.
Today their solutions span countless industries empowering innovators everywhere. But they're restless to do more. They don't believe in waiting for progress, they believe in making it. By combining and recombining technologies. By blurring boundaries, reinventing rules, and merging fields. By unleashing talent and unlocking insights across industries. By helping their customers converge on solutions to the challenges they all face today. At Autodesk, they believe that when they have the right tools to work and think flexibly you have the power to transform what actually needs making. The power to design and make a better world for all.
In 2005, Smartsheet was founded on the idea that teams and millions of people worldwide deserve a better way to deliver their very best work. Today, the company delivers a leading cloud-based platform for work execution, empowering organizations to plan, capture, track, automate, and report on work at scale, resulting in more efficient processes and better business outcomes.Smartsheet went public on the New York Stock Exchange in April 2018 and currently enables collaboration, better decision making, and accelerated innovation for over 76,000 domain-based customers in 190 countries, including 96 of the Fortune 100.Smartsheet is a passionate team of 1500+ employees spanning offices in Seattle, Boston, London, Edinburgh and Sydney.
Join their community of solvers. They're inspiring and empowering their people to change the world. Here, you'll learn with purpose, lead with heart and put your skills to work to make a meaningful difference in the world. As part of a diverse team, you'll build trust and create innovative client solutions in unexpected ways. Their purpose, vision and values are what connects the more than 284,000+ people across the PwC global network of firms and helps distinguish us in the marketplace and with our clients. Discover more about the firm including our impact on society, our commitment to creating a culture of belonging, and how we are investing in technology and our people.Discover their new ways of working at PwC. Their hybrid work model includes three ways of working: virtual, flex and in-person. They're expanding the availability of the virtual option to eligible client service staff and new hires. Now, you can live anywhere in the continental US and work for PwC.NGA
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) delivers world-class geospatial intelligence that provides a decisive advantage to policymakers, warfighters, intelligence professionals and first responders.Anyone who sails a U.S. ship, flies a U.S. aircraft, makes national policy decisions, fights wars, locates targets, responds to natural disasters, or even navigates with a cellphone relies on NGA.NGA delivers world-class geospatial intelligence, or GEOINT, that provides a decisive advantage to warfighters, policymakers, intelligence professionals and first responders. Both an intelligence agency and a combat support agency, NGA fulfills the president's national security priorities in partnership with the intelligence community and Department of Defense. For information about the NGA's mission, vision, and goals, click here.NGA is headquartered in Springfield, Virginia and has two major locations in St. Louis and Arnold, Missouri. Hundreds of NGA employees serve on support teams at U.S. military, diplomatic and allied locations around the world.
As a global company, it is vital to our success that our employees are as diverse as the customers and communities we serve. American Express has built a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace— a culture we are committed to continuing.Through our Global Diversity & Inclusion strategy, we're able to channel our efforts in specific ways. We aspire to continue to develop a talent pool that brings together unique perspectives, backgrounds and experiences. We foster a workplace culture where differences are valued and expressed freely and all employees have the support they need to take risks, learn, and collaborate.
American Express logo
Our Silver Sponsor
They are dv01, the leading capital markets fintech driving technological innovation and transparency in structured finance. They built the world's first data management, reporting, and analytics platform tailor-made for lending markets to help prevent a repeat of the 2008 global financial crisis.
On their engineering team, they'll collaborate closely to create and develop products that promote accountability, data reliability, and transparency. They're looking for dreamers, thinkers, and doers to help us modernize Wall Street's tech stack.
For your next bookclub:
Hispanics are 100% Hispanic and 100% American. They believe in the American dream and are incredible contributors to this country. US Hispanics represent 60 million people, 18% of the population, 12% of the country's GDP, $1.7 trillion of purchasing power, the youth population - and the list goes on! Yet, they are often invisible, negatively portrayed, seen as takers. Hispanics contribute so much to America, and now it is time for others to see just how beautiful and resilient they can be. Hispanic Stars Rising: The New Face of Power shares the stories about the experiences, challenges, and successes of Hispanic Stars nationwide. It showcases the diverse backgrounds, obstacles and contributions made by this strong and resilient population nationwide and shines a light on the beauty of this fundamental American community.
This compilation of stories includes some of the most important names in aviation and space exploration. From the Wright brothers, who invented the airplane, to Sally Ride, the first American woman in space and the first to flyin the space shuttle, these stories will offer the readers the chance to understand how curiosity and hard work (and a little bit of fearlessness), allowed ordinary individuals to become extraordinary. Learn about how their actions contributed to the progress of humankind and how they became an inspiration for every person that has had an impossible dream.
Is race only about the color of your skin? In The Latinos of Asia, Anthony Christian Ocampo shows that what "color" you are depends largely on your social context. Filipino Americans, for example, helped establish the Asian American movement and are classified by the U.S. Census as Asian. But the legacy of Spanish colonialism in the Philippines means that they share many cultural characteristics with Latinos, such as last names, religion, and language. Thus, Filipinos' "color"―their sense of connection with other racial groups―changes depending on their social context.
The Filipino story demonstrates how immigration is changing the way people negotiate race, particularly in cities like Los Angeles where Latinos and Asians now constitute a collective majority. Amplifying their voices, Ocampo illustrates how second-generation Filipino Americans' racial identities change depending on the communities they grow up in, the schools they attend, and the people they befriend. Ultimately, The Latinos of Asia offers a window into both the racial consciousness of everyday people and the changing racial landscape of American society.
Disney Encanto tells the tale of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia, in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto. The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift from super strength to the power to heal—every child except one, Mirabel. But when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger, Mirabel decides that she, the only ordinary Madrigal, might just be her exceptional family's last hope. Girls and boys ages 4 to 6 will love this Step 2 Step into Reading leveled reader based on the animated feature film. Step 2 readers use basic vocabulary and short sentences to tell simple stories. For children who recognize familiar words and can sound out new words with help.
B.R.A.N.D. Before Your Resumé: Your Marketing Guide for Veterans & Military Service Members Entering Civilian Life by Graciela Tiscareño-Sato
Student veterans, military spouses, veterans in their first, second, or third career transitions will all learn valuable self-marketing skills, guided by a veteran who knows the transition chaos (and success!) firsthand. This book is essential if you're joining the ranks of veterans choosing the entrepreneurship track, if seeking your first career after leaving the active-duty force, or pursuing your first internship or full-time job after completing your degree as a student veteran.
Readers will complete the "extracting product attributes" exercise, see ample examples of great branding created by veterans Graciela has personally coached, and be able to write their own authentic personal branding to influence their intended target audience. Graciela teaches the reader a repeatable marketing messaging process that will be useful for years to come.
Those who wish to collaborate live with Graciela who will coach them to perfecting their branding and/or discussing their business startup idea will be offered the option to do so.In this marketing guidebook, Graciela guides you in becoming an epic storyteller of your unique value, long before you write your resumé which she reminds us all is a marketing deliverable. Taking this approach as she did during her career transitions means that your audience for your new forward-looking branding will be so intrigued by your value that they'll ASK for your resumé!
You'll be empowered to confidently communicate your value to make things happen, as Graciela did during her transformation from military aviator to technology marketing manager. Graciela freely shares the communication process she followed during her highly successful military-to-civilian transition, in which she was mentored by women veterans every step of the way.
Stop going at it alone.
And most importantly, stop listening to those pushing you into writing your resumé (or worse yet your LinkedIn profile) before you've done the essential work to understand your personal values and interests, your value to civilian organizations and the target audience you need to attract.
Learn to B.R.A.N.D. Before Your Resumé with a marketing-savvy fellow veteran at your side.
Learn about other companies that joined us:
Natasha's dad used to ask her why she was opening up their VCR—and whether she was planning on putting it back together.
"I loved breaking and fixing things around the house," Natasha explains. "I couldn't wait to see what was inside!"
Her dad, who was one of the first people in his family to pursue higher education, always encouraged her, says Natasha. So did her mom, who wanted to see Natasha and her two siblings pursue STEM careers and get the best education possible.
"I really owe [my success] to her," says Natasha. "My parents were so supportive of all the experiments I did, and all the things I broke."
Her parents may have encouraged her love of hands-on problem-solving, but Natasha was the one who turned it into a successful engineering career, and now to a role as the Head of Data at video game company Riot Games. We sat down with her to hear more about that journey, as well as what advice she has for people like her who don't consider themselves big gamers, but who are interested in solving complicated problems with and for a passionate, talented community.
Natasha did her undergraduate degree in India, near where she's from, and she knew she wanted to go somewhere else for her master's.
"I wanted to go somewhere far but with a great program, and that was the U.S.," she says. "The independence you have here in terms of choosing your own curriculum, you don't have that in India."
She moved to L.A. not knowing anyone but an aunt's family, and has since built a full life of her own in California. And her siblings followed her example, too—her younger brother, who had sat with her for hours working on programming problems when they were young, ended up moving to Singapore, and her older sister now resides in Switzerland.
"Now my dad is like, 'Oh, you should totally not come back.' He's so proud and so excited that I'm here, that all his kids [have pursued opportunities abroad]. I used to call him and be like, 'What the hell? You're not missing me?! What is going on?'" says Natasha, laughing.
She made the most of her independence, though, and found fulfilling work as an engineer. "I loved that I got to experiment a whole lot, that I got to build things," she says.
Then a roadblock popped up: her manager asked her to take on a management role.
Solving People Puzzles
Natasha initially said no to the offer. But eventually her manager convinced her to give it a shot, even if just for a year. She signed up and immediately had one of the hardest years of her career.
"It was horrible," she remembers. "I was comfortable with being an engineer, so [as a manager] I was always one step back, still in that world [of being an engineer]."
But when her manager left, and then his manager left suddenly, too, Natasha found herself reporting directly to the CTO—and leaning into the challenge.
"If that hadn't happened, maybe I would've never really left engineering to give management a true investment from my side," she reflects. "But because it did, I knew I couldn't keep messing up. I had to grow up. I realized that I actually enjoyed aspects of management, especially how you can make an impact."
Eventually, some mid-level managers were hired, and Natasha got more coaching and mentoring versus just trial-by-fire experience. She realized that understanding the product, finance, and operations parts of an engineering business was just as vital as knowing how to code, and seeing the longer-term strategy of the business unfold allowed her to better manage her team and their own career goals.
"You start to position people so they can advance their careers. It's like putting a puzzle together, that same excitement. You feel really good when someone starts their career with you and then you help them grow, and when they leave, they're ready to own an entire org," she says. "That's when I feel successful."
Natasha was content with her scope of impact at her then-employer… but then she got an email from a Riot Games recruiter that she couldn't ignore.
Prioritizing Player Impact
"This might sound cheesy," starts Natasha, "but the email [the recruiter] wrote me was just so personal, so thoughtful, that it made me want to talk to him."
They talked, and though Natasha wasn't (and isn't) a big gamer, she loved what she learned about the problems Riot Games was trying to solve. As her interviews continued, she discussed issues like how to build a safe community and how to leverage data to create unique experiences, and she felt like she was being treated like a respected collaborator versus a candidate.
"I never felt like an outsider. All the amazing work, the people, how they kept me engaged throughout the entire process...at the end, I was like, 'Okay, I need to join this company,'" says Natasha.
She was particularly excited about her role as Head of Data because it came with a mandate to not just make a positive impact for her direct team, but to make a positive impact for the broader gaming community, including the millions of people who play Riot's games.
"I was really pleasantly surprised when I joined Riot to see how they think through the holistic experience. It's not just that you go into the game, you play, and you come out," she says. "It's how do you go in? Who do you get matched with? How do we make sure people are not being toxic on the chat with you? That you're having a good experience? That we're providing good recommendations for you for things to buy or champions to consider?"
Natasha herself has played League, and is fascinated by gaming and the community around it, but she's quick to point out that it's not her strong suit. "I just don't have the hand-eye coordination to play all of those crazy games where you really need to be precise!" she explains. "I'm a casual gamer."
4 Tips for Adjusting to a New Industry
Natasha was happy to learn about the world of gaming—and she wasn't afraid to ask the questions necessary to do it.
"I needed to understand every part of the gaming industry, from how we publish to how we do our esports, to provide ideas or even think through the strategy of what we're going to do next," she says. "When I started, it felt overwhelming, but I leaned heavily on my team."
She has advice for other people who are interested in working in an industry like gaming, but might not know where to start:
- Recognize what you bring to the table. Gaming, just like any other industry, is made better when it's led by a diverse set of people. "If everyone's thinking the same way, you're never going to see your game differently. We want diverse opinions and different ways of seeing," she says.
- Know you're not alone in being new. "If you're open to learning, people are there to help you," says Natasha. "You're not going to feel alone. There are a lot of people going through that same journey."
- Engage with the broader community. Natasha says that at Riot, she has direct access to the player community, and that's really helped her build a sense of who they are doing their work for. "Usually when you talk to customers, you get all formal; there's a protocol," she says. "But here, directly interacting with the players is huge."
- Don't be afraid to propose new ideas. Riot Games has a strong culture of open-mindedness and transparency, says Natasha—so strong that she was shocked by the direct and tough questions people asked the company's leadership at her first all-hands meeting. But what she's learned from that example is that pushing the envelope is required to make real progress on long-term problems, and that starts with having the space to propose new ideas. "Take risks!" implores Natasha. "Our players are dreaming of a new thing every day. So listen to them and take risks because that makes [your ideas] better."