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A Day in the Life of an Aspiring ‘Stage Mom’ Juggling Full-Time Work: Meet Kim from Shield GEO

We regularly profile our Shield teammates to help you get to know the wonderful people working tirelessly behind the scenes. As a global company made up of incredibly diverse individuals, we love showcasing both the unique qualities that make up our team and the similarities that bring us together. 

This month, we’re profiling Kim Luy, our Global Mobility Termination Consultant who lives in Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines. 

Meet Kim

Kim’s last travel before lockdown

When Kim left her corporate job ten years ago, she had no plans to go back. The arbitrary rules around things like start and finish times, coupled with the fact she wanted to be more present in her daughter’s life meant working from home was a much more appealing option. 

From there began a long and fulfilling freelancing career. 

“My life revolves around my daughter,” she says. 

Her daughter is a competitive swimmer and gifted harp player, which often meant they needed to travel throughout the Philippines and overseas.

“We would be in Manila for the whole summer because she would be training and then we would fly back home for school,” Kim says. “Then, during weekends, she would have invites to play in an orchestra in another city, or if she wasn’t playing, she would be off somewhere competing almost every week.” 

She’s also a regular swimmer herself and trains twice a week with her sister, Jessica (one of our Accountants!).

Kim’s full schedule meant autonomy and flexibility were extremely important to her and made her wary of joining a company full-time — remote or otherwise. 

“I think my biggest concern was the autonomy,” Kim says. “I was concerned about how that remote full-time work was going to eat into my stage mother role! That’s a full-time career!”

For her, freelancing meant she could work around her other responsibilities, and from anywhere she found herself that week for her daughter’s swim meets and music performances. 

“I was happy freelancing,” she says. “I had like four or five clients, and I had this network of other virtual workers who were friends, and we would bounce jobs around.” 

Her daughter playing the harp

But after ten years, always having to be “on” was beginning to wear her down. 

“You know how it is when you freelance — you don’t work, you don’t get paid,” Kim says. “I would often work until two am.” 

Then Jessica, who had been working for Shield on and off for years, mentioned that we were hiring and that she should apply. 

“I was hesitant to go full time in the remote role because I thought I would have to be behind my desk from this time to this time,” Kim says. “But she told me, ‘Oh, global mobility, they deal with clients. They’re basically doing what you’re doing right now. Why don’t you give it a try?'”

Kim had watched as Jessica gradually became more involved with Shield over time, beginning the relationship as a contractor, taking on more hours until she eventually made the leap to full-time. 

“I already saw the benefits that she was getting,” Kim says. “She would be like ‘Oh, they gave us $100 for family Christmas dinner.'”

Kim notes one particular moment that made a significant impact on her view of the company, and the culture we foster. 

“There was this swim team that was training alongside us. They were much, much younger. One day, I was using my swim equipment, I placed them on the side of the pool, and this girl commented, ‘Oh, lucky her, she has equipment.’ It broke my heart,” Kim says. 

She shared the story with Jessica, who then used her Shield Health and Wellbeing allowance to purchase new equipment for the swim team.

“Tim matched Jessica’s donation, so she ended up buying almost $500 worth of equipment for the swim team,” Kim says “And there was excess, so that team ended up having a Christmas party. They bought McDonald’s for everyone. The blessings just trickled over.”

Kim’s swim training

So, despite her skepticism of a full-time role, Kim was very interested in Shield. 

“When Jessica said that Shield had an opening and I saw the things that she was able to do not only for our family but for others. I said ‘I want a piece of that!'”

Initially, Kim applied for a Global Mobility role but, after her interview, our Co-founder Tim thought she would be a better fit for our newly formed (at the time) Offboarding Team. 

“I don’t know if Tim has a third eye or something for things like this,” Kim says. “But if you’re going to ask me if I want to go back if Global Mobility had an opportunity I wouldn’t take it.”

A Day in the life of Kim

6 am Unless I have swim training, I will still be in zzzz land till 7ish. Personal swim training happens on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
7 or 7:30 am Coffee while trying to warm up my brain for the day and checking emails on the phone. Tues and Thurs mornings, I will be in the pool doing drills with the coach.
10 or 10:30 am Start of the working day. I am now behind my desk thumping on the keyboard and going through my list of offboarding employees.
12:30 pm Quick lunch break with my daughter and catch a replay of Masterchef AU (or any cooking show for that matter).
1:30 pm Back behind the desk with the day’s second cup of coffee.
5:30 pm Time for a mini-break. I either rest my eyes or do a grocery run and maybe a quick side trip for take away coffee (no such thing as too much coffee).
8 pm Dinner is done and back thumping. The other side of the world will be up and awake so I’d spend this time catching up with clients via calls or another round of emails.
10 pm I hop into the offboarding and finance bi-weekly meetings (Tuesdays and Thursdays nights). If no meetings are scheduled, then more case stuff happens.
11 ish If I have swim training the next day, I will try to wrap things up around this time. Otherwise, if a case was brought up or flagged during the offboarding finance call, I’d check in the case one more time (and hopefully close the day). But I usually end up going down the rabbit hole.
12:30 to 1 am The witching hour. Off to bed and hopefully, to zzzz land.

 

Transitioning from freelance to a full-time remote role

The transition from freelance to a full-time remote role was an interesting one. For most people, the change is from something very structured, so flexibility is often very new. For Kim, the experience was a little different. 

Beach days!

“During my first few months at Shield, I was like, I have to be at my desk by nine o’clock,” Kim says, “Every time I needed to go out on an errand, I would email or Skype Svetlana, and say ‘I have to run out and be back in 30 minutes.’ And then Svetlana just said, ‘Go! You don’t have to tell me!'”

She would also have trouble signing off and would keep working as long as there was work to do. 

“There was one time when Tim was on my back because I forgot that it was 11 pm and I shot an email off to him,” she says. “And the next day, I got an email from him. His reply was not even about my concern. The first thing he wrote to me was why are you working at 11 pm? But I was used to working until two!” 

It took some time, but Kim eventually settled into a schedule that worked best for her workload and other responsibilities. 

“I try to start work at 10 am if there are urgent things and if there are things that I can do, emails, case updates, cleaning SalesForce,” she says. “But I would say most of my interactions would be in the afternoons or early evenings.” 

The offboarding team meeting currently occurs around 10 pm for Kim, but she says the time doesn’t bother her right now. 

“I just sleep later the next day,” she says. “And I often disappear in the afternoons to get things done and come back around six or seven.” 

But the most significant difference for Kim wasn’t the freedom to choose her hours, something she was already well acquainted with in her freelance life, but instead the perks of having others look out for her. 

“When I came on board, it was the first time in my remote working life that somebody asked me, ‘Do you need a laptop? Do you need a desk? Do you need a keyboard?’ she says. “I had this big question mark and said, ‘No, I have everything!’ But it was really, really nice to have somebody ask me what I needed.”


— Bree Caggiati, February 2021

Want to know more about Kim? Visit her profile on Our Team page!

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