RemotelyPossible: The Blog
Hey hey, all you wonderful RemotelyPossible readers! I have a treat for you today!
We’re going to hear from Katelyn Lemay, a Support Engineer at the fully remote non-profit Hypothesis. It’s a pretty awesome organization committed to providing a conversation layer over the entire web that will allow anyone to work with others across the world to advance human understanding for the public good.
This is her very first remote job, and she’s going to share all of the wisdom and advice she’s picked up in her last nine months at Hypothesis and the application process that came before it! So without further ado: Katelyn!
Q: Describe a “day in the life” and feel free to include before/during/outside work as well:
A: I like to sleep as late as possible, so I generally wake up at 8:30. I do some yoga while listening to the news, then make breakfast. I settle down in front of my computer and start working by 9am.
I work from home pretty much every day; I have a comfortable setup so I rarely go to a cafe or library. I try to schedule meetings in blocks of 1-2 hours so I can get as much uninterrupted work time as possible. At lunch time I’ll fit in a few chores or errands to give my brain a break and get myself moving.
Theoretically I’d finish my day up around 5pm and make dinner, but sometimes I get so focused on work that I don’t remember to stop until my boyfriend gets home around 7pm. I’m trying to get better at wrapping up my day on time so I don’t burn myself out!
Q: What’s your favorite thing about working remotely in tech?
A: I love being truly uninterruptible when I need to be!
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced with working remotely? How have you worked to overcome it?
A: Since the organization I work for is entirely remote, we default to chatting on Slack a lot of the time. Sometimes, though, it’s more efficient to pick up the phone or hop on a video call. But if you default to calls, you spend all day in meetings! It can be really difficult to find the right balance.
Honestly, I’m still in the process of working to overcome that. One thing I’ve been trying is to be mindful of times when I’m explaining a single thought via Slack more than once. If communicating in writing didn’t work out the first time, maybe it’s time for a call.
Q. What advice would you offer to a woman who is just getting into the tech industry?
A. Find your niche! It can be difficult to “get into tech” but if you have a clear idea of what type of work you want to do or what kind of company/organization you want to work with, it’s a lot easier to set goals and land your first tech job.
Q. What advice would you offer to someone who is just starting to look for remote work? What do you wish you knew when you were applying to remote jobs for the first time?
A. I wish this weren’t true, but I think it sometimes reflects poorly on candidates when they put too much emphasis on the remote nature of a role while talking to interviewers. I think there’s a worry that some people want a remote role so they can slack off all day or work unreliable hours.
It’s probably telling that when I applied for my current role, I wasn’t specifically looking for a remote role. I like the organization and was excited about the work we do, and the remote nature of the role was an added bonus. So I think remote job seekers should ask themselves whether they’re applying to a particular role because it’s remote, or because they’re genuinely excited about it. I think it’ll show in the interview process either way.
Q. What’s one project you’ve worked on recently that you’re proud of? Where can we learn more about it?
A. We recently started an accessibility initiative, which is exciting and important to me as a disability activist. We have a lot of work ahead of us to make our product usable and accessible for everyone, but I’m proud of the work we’ve put in to our roadmap and messaging so far! More info here.
Now it’s your turn! Have questions for Katelyn? Wish there was something else I asked? Leave a comment or email me!
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