March 8, 2019

Balance is Better in Blockchain

Madeline Murray is a technical writer at PegaSys and has three young kids. Madeline writes in this post about PegaSys’ remote first culture and what it’s like to work at PegaSys as a professional woman in blockchain.

I read the following quote in an article from Forbes the other day and it reflects a lot of what I love about working at PegaSys:

Let’s be blunt: In the ordinary organization nearly everyone is doing a second job no one is paying them for — namely, hiding their weaknesses, looking good, covering their rear ends, managing other people’s favorable impression of them. This is the single biggest waste of a company’s resources. Now imagine working in a place that is sending the message, every day, “We hired you because we thought you were good, not because we thought you were perfect. We are all here to get better, and the only way we will get better is to make mistakes, reveal our limitations, and support each other to overcome them.

In too many jobs, women feel like they need to hide the fact they’re fitting their work in around their lives. Not draw attention to the fact they arrived late, or needed time off to watch a swimming carnival, or leave early to do school pickup irrelevant of how many hours they actually work or more importantly the work they actually get done.

I don’t feel this mental load on top of my actual job at PegaSys.  We’re remote first and everyone recognises that everybody has a life and responsibilities outside of work.  Nico, my workmate in France, is a Dad and has school dropoffs blocked out in his calendar so we all know he’s not available then. Seeing Dads be open about parenting responsibilities gives me a huge amount of reassurance I won’t be judged negatively for it.    

Because we’re remote first, you really are judged on the work you produce, not the hours you sit at the desk, what you’re wearing, or how good your makeup looks.  It can’t actually be the other way around because as a remote first company, we literally can’t see how many hours people are sitting at their desk. I think this is something a lot of companies say they do but I know from previous jobs I seemed to be a lot more noticed when I stayed late than when I came in early, got heaps done, and left early. Then you’re just known as the mother that leaves at 2.30 to do school pickup. At PegaSys, people notice the work I do, not when I sat at my desk doing it.

This isn’t the first job I’ve had that’s given me the flexibility to work around my family.  But at PegaSys the flexibility is combined with the opportunity to work on exciting new technology with a bunch of smart, passionate colleagues. My work at PegaSys challenges me and gives me opportunities to grow. Too often, the choice is between flexible work and interesting work that provides opportunities to work to our potential and grow professionally.

PegaSys at the WomenHack event in Brisbane on Feb. 28, 2019.

Blockchain is a new technology – I’ve heard it compared to the internet in 1995 more than once. Quoting from an article by Andrew Keys at Consensys:

As the Internet transformed and commoditized how society communicates, blockchain will transform and commoditize how society agrees, trusts, and transacts.

So as well as letting me fit my work into my life in the best way for our family, I get the chance to work on technology that will have a huge impact on our lives.  I really thought I’d have to wait until my kids were teenagers before I’d have the chance to do interesting and impactful work. But PegaSys has given me that opportunity.

We’re also a flat-organisation (that is, no managers). This means we have the autonomy to define how we get things done.  We’re directly involved in hiring the people we work with and everyone gets the opportunity to talk to any potential teammate. Anyone can propose and makes changes when they see things that could be better.  

The freedom of working for a self-organising, remote company also brings responsibilities. We all have to participate in decision making and sometimes that’s hard. Sometimes working around timezones can mean meetings outside of traditional working hours. But for me, the opportunities PegaSys give me far outweigh these things.

Safe to say, I love working at PegaSys and look forward to seeing what we can achieve.