She Waited 6 Months To Work For BuzzFeed And It’s The Best Job She’s Had In 11 Years
Liz Grillo, a Mobile Quality Assurance Engineer, just celebrated her first year at BuzzFeed. She may have waited 6 months for the position to open to apply, but says it’s the best job that she’s had in 11 years. The PowerToFly talent spoke with us about her experience working remotely from her home in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
How would you describe a typical work day?
I do my job at home, where I feel comfortable and calm. Some people prefer to go to bars with Wi-Fi or co-working places, but I prefer to be in a quiet place. I wake up and jump on Slack, the chat service that we use. At the same time, I check Jira, our issue tracking tool, to see if there’s something to start working on. Our sprints last two weeks. We have a week to check cards and fix bugs and a week to do the regression. I generally know what to expect throughout the day.
What advice would you give other women interested in working remotely?
If you really want the job, be patient. I had to wait 6 months until a QA position was available to apply, but this is the best job I’ve had in 11 years. It was worth the wait! When you have the job, the company needs to feel like you’re there, even though you’re not physically in the same place. Good communication matters. Be clear and also report what you’re doing, even when your manager doesn’t ask. Sometimes leaders are so busy that they don’t have the time to check in, but they will eventually find a moment to read your message and know what you’ve been working on.
Do you have any strategies for staying efficient outside of an office? What tools do you use?
Communication is really important to me. I try to be as proactive as I can. I communicate all the time with my manager. I try to keep him posted on everything. If I have a problem, I say it. I have no shame. If everything is OK, I say that too. Having communication with the rest of the team really helps to keep the concept of “team work” alive.
What are the biggest challenges about working remotely? How have you overcome them?
Sometimes (but not often) I miss having people around. But honestly, when I do the math, I realize that I love working quietly at home. When I feel that way, I try to go out and hang out with friends after my workday is complete.
Even though I know how to speak English, when I initially had to communicate with people in a language that is not my native one, I had to improve my writing skills. I had to become clearer and more concise. This was a positive thing for me. I like English, so it wasn’t a problem for me try to get better at it.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
I’m passionate about traveling, writing and drawing. I also enjoy being outside with nature and playing sports — especially swimming, running, walking and trekking. I love meeting new people and talking with everyone!
What’s one detail that most people don’t know about you?
Even though I work in tech, I studied anthropology and almost have a degree in the field. I have two final tests and I’m done! Anthropology actually helped me in tech, especially when it comes to relationships, communications skills and working in quality assurance (QA). It helps me walk in the user’s shoes. I’ve been studying tech on my own for 11 years. As the industry evolves, I continue to learn.
What do you like best about working with PowerToFly?
Many things! Working remotely allows me to avoid public transportation. This was big plus for me! Public transportation usually stresses me out, especially at rush hour. I’m able to sleep better and for longer, so during the day I’m less tired and more productive. In other jobs that I had before, I could work from home one day per week, but working remotely every day is another thing. This is fun! It’s really improved my people skills, and I’ve acquired more knowledge in the mobile field, which I can add to my resume.
My job also requires me to speak and write in English. You really learn a language when you use it, so this is an excellent opportunity to do that. I’m able to speak with talented people (who are mostly women) from many other countries, which is a dream for an ‘almost’ anthropologist! We all share what we know to help each other. My team is amazing!
I also have more time for me. Because I’m not traveling to an office every day and am sleeping well, I have more time to study and to do other things that I couldn’t do when working in an office.
Tips from PowerToFly's Strategic Global Enterprise D&I executive, Dionna Smith-Keels
If you are someone who works in Diversity and Inclusion or is passionate about seeing more diversity in your company, you may feel overwhelmed about where to start. When it comes to D&I, the best place to start is at the top. If you really want the work you do to have an impact, you need to get leadership at your company to buy-in to diversity efforts.
How She Overcame Self-Doubt & Became a Full-Time Software Engineer at Quip
Have you ever dreamed of pivoting into the world of software engineering? Claire Johnson, a self-proclaimed chemistry nerd who landed a chemical engineering job straight out of college, certainly hadn't… that is, until she took her first programming class online at Stanford. Now she's a full-time software engineer at Quip, Salesforce's productivity platform. "I never would've thought that I would do this when I graduated college," she explains, laughing.
The Women at Work Podcast Shares Actionable Advice on Money, Working in a Male-Dominated Industry, and Finding a Sponsor
Recently I've noticed a bit of a trend (anecdotal evidence alert!) 🚨— I hear more and more folks asking for actionable advice.
For the boss you loved, the coworker you hated, and everyone in between
Two things are inevitable when someone leaves your team at work: there will be an abundance of sweet treats (I'm partial to those giant cookie cakes from the mall) and there will be a card passed around for everyone to scrawl the professional version of sweet nothings in. Depending on the "importance" of the person, you may get the bonus activities of farewell gifts and/or an all-team champagne toast.
If you are a New York based tech professional and you'd like to attend this event, please email your name and LinkedIn URL to email@example.com.
Whether you are a software engineer, fitness enthusiast or both, you won't want to miss PowerToFly's evening of product demos and networking with the women tech leaders and allies at Peloton.
Founded in 2012, Peloton brought top talent together in its Silicon Alley headquarters to create a new concept in fitness. In their words, "We loved cycling but had a hard time finding a workout that consistently fit our schedules, and our at-home workouts never felt quite up to par. So, we set out to create a world-class indoor cycling studio experience on your time, and in the comfort of your own home."
This event is your chance to hear directly from the women tech leaders and allies who make their revolutionary products like the Peloton Bike, Peloton Tread and Peloton App possible. We'll be devoting a large portion of the event to taking your questions and I know the Peloton team wants to hear from you!
The unique evening will take place on Wednesday, February 12th from 6pm to 8:30pm at 125 W 25th Street.