Work Diaries: How a designer of YouTube Shorts also supports Women@YouTube
We’re peeling back the curtains with our series, Work Diaries, where you can experience the inner workings of YouTube. How do decisions get made? What goes into a product, feature or policy? We’re asking YouTube employees to give us the low-down during a five-day period.
Featured today: Alexandria Won is a UX designer on the YouTube Shorts team, who also co-leads the Community & Inclusion pillar of the Women@YouTube employee resource group.
6:30 a.m. - ⏰ Alarm rings, and I wake up with little to no resistance knowing that it’s going to be a busy day and a busy week. It helps that I’m a morning person. I bring out my huge work monitor & desk chair that I tucked inside the closet over the weekend. Living in a studio apartment means trying your best to create space. The past two years of working from home have taught me how important it is to separate my work-mode from life-mode.
8:30 a.m - I make myself a coffee, and enter my first meeting of the day with partner teams in Zurich. Working across time zones can be a challenge. Still, I’m grateful I have co-workers who are accommodating and actively making time to collaborate. 🙏
12:45 p.m. - It’s finally lunchtime, and I want a delicious and healthy meal, so I make myung-ran (pollak-roe), avocado, and egg bowl with rice; with the help of YouTube, of course. It is SO GOOD. Link to a recipe
1:30 p.m. - I have a bi-weekly meeting with my partner-in-crime, Michelle. We co-lead Women@YouTube’s Community & Inclusion pillar and host events to bring our female community together. These days, we’re excited to develop the idea of running a book club series, so we plan a way to crowd-source book suggestions. Being part of an employee resource group is a small contribution of my time and passion, but a meaningful one that I’m incredibly proud to be a part of. :)
2:30 p.m. - A quick check-in with my manager. We use the time to give more detailed updates on ongoing projects, share the latest product direction and give heads up on summer vacation plans. I can’t believe it’s already March!
Today’s highlight: Making time between meetings to take a walk to Dolores park :)
8:00 a.m. - Breakfast and coffee is an essential part of starting my day, but sometimes I simply have no idea what to make or want it to be more exciting. So I check out this Parisian bakery I've meant to try near my place. By 8:30, I'm back home and taking a bite out of a chocolate almond croissant with a sip of iced-americano while checking emails. Mmmm – they are on point! 🥐
11:00 a.m. - One of the important tasks I have today is to meet with a hiring candidate. At Google, everyone is encouraged to take interview training at some point and participate in the hiring process. Even though I've prepared, I still feel a great responsibility for participating in the process. I want to make sure the candidate feels comfortable letting their work shine while not losing sight of my perspective. Hope it goes well for both of us!
1:00 p.m. - Sometimes, it's hard for me to find a focus time between meetings, so I block off my calendar and use it to document design proposals. 🎧✍️
3:30 p.m. - 🐞 It's time to bug bash. As a team, Shorts designers gather every week to audit 'ready to launch' features we designed. This is an important part of our work where we test the feature built as an experiment and fix all the bugs we see before it lands in our user's hands.
4:30 p.m. - I have my monthly meeting with my mentor! Every time I have a 1:1 with him, I'm incredibly grateful to have connected with someone so thoughtful, experienced and genuinely caring about my career. Having a strong mentor/mentee relationship can provide an invaluable perspective of one's career, a support system and growth.
5:45 p.m. - One of our teammates is moving to a different team (thankfully, not too far!), so a small number of us in the neighborhood are meeting up for a toast. It's been almost two years since we've had any sort of work gathering, so this is a special moment for us, and we have an absolute blast.
Today's highlight: Hands down, happy hour with the coworkers. I'm so humbled to be surrounded by the most talented, passionate and kind people. They truly spark joy in my life 💖
9:30 a.m. - I spend my morning wrapping up the feedback for the hiring candidate while it’s fresh on my mind and to finish the design proposals I’ve been working on.
1:30 p.m. - I’m attending a UX research share-out meeting. These are some of my favorite types of schedules because I learn about our users and get inspiration for improving the product.
2:00 p.m. - I take some time to prepare for the biggest presentation of my career. I will be co-hosting this week’s company-wide YouTube Fridays (YTF) meeting with our CEO, Susan Wojcicki, on behalf of Women@YouTube 🤯
3:00 p.m. - I have a couple more meetings with cross-functional team members in the afternoon; one with a product manager and two with our researchers. With the product manager, we discuss proposed improvements based on my latest design proposal. With researchers, we each share our latest work in progress projects (design or a research plan) and give/ask for feedback.
7:30 p.m. - Today is definitely a hump day. There is so much information to absorb, so many things to do in so little time. It’s also been an emotionally crushing week, checking the news on the Ukraine war. At this point, I focus on prioritizing some things and remembering to let go of a few that can wait. I don’t have the energy to cook, so I’m treating myself with delivered Indian curry for dinner.
Today’s highlight: Despite how crazy things feel sometimes, I’m really glad I completed the most important tasks I promised myself I’d finish. For me, part of life is about taking things day by day, giving yourself time while trying to make the most out of each one. As long as you’re headed in the right direction, I think each step will naturally take you to the next milestone. Kudos to all of us who tried our best today 💙💪
6:30 a.m. - I roll out of bed, get ready, and put on my black cap from Women@ as a facade 😎. I'm feeling a bit more motivated today to tackle a few critical morning meetings I've prepared for. I'm also looking forward to a bit more breathing room in the afternoon once morning schedules are over.
7:30 a.m - I boost my morning energy with an extra routine of lighting up incense and playing some music playlist from YouTube. I will keep my breakfast light and have a glass of misut-garu (traditional Korean roasted grain-powder shake).
8:00 a.m. - Today, the Shorts UX team has an extra early schedule with our bi-weekly design office hours. These are the times reserved to connect and collaborate with other teams interested in working with Shorts. We have two sessions; one that's in an EMEA-friendly timezone and in an AMER-friendly timezone.
3:00 p.m. - There's an hour-long team meeting to review our project line-up for the second quarter of the year. I mostly listen to these meetings, but there are so many exciting projects & discussions, it's hard to get distracted.
8:30 p.m. - After dinner, I call my mom to ask how she's doing and share how I'm surviving my adult life. I also call my partner in Sweden, and when I share my worries and concerns with life, he showers me with the most encouraging words and tells me that I've got this.
Today's highlight: Calling my loved ones!
6:30 a.m. - It’s d-day, and oh my gosh. I didn’t think I was that nervous, but I woke up from a dream of entering YTF totally unprepared. 😨
9:00 a.m. - I had one meeting with the social distribution team this morning to talk about our next project together. Afterwards, I’m free for the rest of the day because it’s Focus Friday, YouTube’s designated no-meeting day. I use the time to rehearse for the show that will happen in a couple hours. #wishmeluck 🍀
1:25 p.m. - 🎙It’s showtime! Several other speakers are on standby, and Susan enters the virtual backstage and starts the show. After introducing myself, Susan and I share different announcements, events for Women’s history month, highlights and learnings from the past week. My part is complete before I know it, and I once again think about how grateful I am to represent Women@YouTube and our team today.
3:30 p.m. - I get off work early and ride a bike to a neighborhood ramen place for a hot meal. I ordered an extra appetizer to treat myself. I can’t believe the week is over.
Today’s highlight: Co-hosting YTF was an experience of its own. I learned a lot in a very short period, and it was incredibly inspiring to meet Susan. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of the Women@ group, our team and represent UX.