Each month we profile one of our Shield team members to help you get to know the faces behind our service. We love showcasing all the differences in their daily lives, priorities and interestingly how working remotely fits into their lifestyle.
More recently we’ve learned how quarantine and lock down efforts across the world have affected our team and their regular routines. We’ve seen how they’ve handled these massive changes with new hobbies, schedules and life outlooks.
This month, we’re profiling Jessica Bayawa, one of our Accountants who lives in Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines.
Jessica is our longest standing Shield team member.
“I started working for Tim and Duncan way back around 2011,” she says.
This was long before Shield was formed, but our two co-founders were already working together on another business — Contractor Taxation.
“When I started, I was doing virtual assistant work for them around nine years ago. So lots of different tasks.”
“Eventually when Shield started, I think maybe three years ago, Tim also started giving me some work for Shield.”
At the time Jessica had just moved on from her corporate marketing role in Manila, and moved back home to Cagayan de Oro on the Southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines.
“One of the reasons I decided to come home is that my parents are already old and there was no one with them. It’s really difficult to help when physically you’re not around.” she says.
Around the end of 2010 the company started to have some problems and it was sort of perfect timing [for me to leave].”
However, moving from the country’s capital to a smaller town meant losing out on some of the opportunities for work that she was used to.
“My sister Kim told me,’Why don’t you try to look for marketing work on an online outsourcing marketplace?’” Jessica remembers.
“When I was working in Manilla I was already utilizing the tools of working online because while I was working for a corporate setup, they had various clients that I was doing the marketing work for.”
This experience helped her get her foot in the door and she built up a network of clients online, where she could do work she was interested in while also being close to her family.
One of her connections introduced her to Tim and they’ve been working together ever since.
“[When I started with Shield] there was still no structure for the teams, so I was doing implementation tasks and a little bit of finance work where I sent some invoices,” Jessica says.
“Eventually Tim just said, ‘Do you want to work full time?’ and I said, ‘Yes!’”
Transitioning to full time work with Shield meant more stability for Jessica while still working from home like she wanted. However, she did find giving up on her other clients and projects difficult.
“From time to time I still keep some clients on the side, so over the weekends I still work on some projects,” she admits.
Over the years, Jessica has dabbled in a number of Shield’s teams including marketing, implementation, finance and tech. But these days you can find her doing incredible work with the finance team.
“When I started working full time, part of it was helping the implementation team and the other part of it was for finance until eventually a lot of work started piling on the finance side,” she says. “So I think more than a year ago I had to let go of those implementation tasks.”
She says she would never have expected to land in a role like this as most of her working background was in marketing. Although, she did study Applied Mathematics!
New Quarantine Routines
Like much of the world, Jessica experienced a lock down period in the Philippines. Malls and businesses were closed for a few months and they had nightly curfews to keep them socially distanced and safe.
“Personally for me, my life was not that affected because I’d been working from home already and I tend to stick to my routine and don’t go out that much. So, the transition was okay. But of course for the city it’s a lot of adjustment,” Jessica says.
“Slowly businesses have reopened so people are adjusting to having this new normal. But for me, I still try to keep away as much as possible from crowded spaces because our parents are older so I’m more afraid of passing it onto them.”
She still goes to her parents for Sunday lunch every week but otherwise she’s tried not to socialize too much.
“I am not going to put my whole life on hold for the virus but we do really need to think about other people — it’s for them, it’s really not for us,” Jessica says.
When Cagayan de Oro went into lockdown, Jessica bought a bicycle and has been going on long bike rides every morning since.
“I’ve been waking up very early at 4:30am in the morning. I’ve been doing that for almost six months now,” she says. “I would prefer to ride early in the morning when there aren’t many cars on the road and I can go for a bike ride for 45 minutes to an hour.”
When she’s not cycling, she’s swimming at her local pool where she trains for her open water swim meets.
“One of my bucket lists is to join a 4km open water swim,” she says.
She’s already competed in a 2km open water swim, so the goal is probably not too far off!
“I leave the house around 5:30am to go for a swim for an hour or an hour and half,” she says.
“When I come home it’s around 8am, I clean the house for a little, prepare my food for the day and start working at 10am.”
A Day in the Life of Jessica
Wake up, have coffee (I’d spend about 15 minutes just enjoying my coffee and doing nothing). Then prepare for work-out or whatever I’m going to do for the day.
Depends on the day, lately every Tuesday and Thursday I go swimming. Other days it’s a 45 minutes bike ride or work-out at home. Friday, I do TRX with my brother.
Back at home, do a little cleaning. Tend to my plants, play with the dog, prep my food for the day, take a bath (in no particular order).
Most of the time I start at 10 but during invoicing or when I know it’s going to be a busy day I start earlier (around 9-ish).
Check email, Salesforce notifications, Skype, etc. and look for anything urgent so that I can plan my day ahead.
Quick meal in front of my computer (or when I start work early, I go to my mom’s place and have a quick meal there).
Continue with work – first invoices, cases, payment issues, etc.
I let the dog out, have coffee and play a little with the dog.
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Depending upon the period (normally 14th to 21st of the month), I spend the majority of the afternoon making payments to our local partners, and other stakeholders.
Check notifications from Salesforce, see if there’s anything urgent that I need to squeeze in before I’m going to end my day.
Final check on my email for anything that I must prioritize for the following day. If it’s the invoicing period, I take a break at 6:30, have dinner at my mom’s place then come back to work.
Ideally I’d love to shutdown my computer at this time. Clean up after the dog, have a little screen time or do some personal projects.
7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
I’d still be working during the invoicing cycle (1st week of the month). 10pm is my limit since I started waking up very early :).
Get ready for bed, read a little.
Jessica was the first of her four siblings to return home from Manila, but over time they’ve all followed suit.
“A few years after me, Kim decided to come home,” Jessica says.
“She’s currently living with my parents and they are around ten minutes walk from my place.”
Interestingly, Kim also works for Shield as a Global Mobility Termination Consultant.
When I asked if they ever work together, Jessica laughed with a resounding, “No!”
“I prefer not to, I’m comfortable at my desk,” she says. “When I’m working at my desk it’s like I’m in my zone!”
Her two brothers returned soon after, with one of them even living next door to Jessica.
“He loves to cook and sometimes when he’s cooking I can smell it and I say, ‘What are you cooking? Can I have some?’” she says laughing.
“So, we’re all here now, it’s good everything just sort of fell into place.”