Seth Gilchrist, Senior Research Engineer, Breaks Down His Day
My name is Seth Gilchrist, and I am a Senior Research Engineer at Seeq. I live in White Salmon, Washington in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge and I am married with two daughters.
I have a background in mechanical and biomedical engineering, in which I earned my Ph. D. While my degrees are in engineering, software has always been a passion and I’ve actively made it a component of the work I do. In the fall of 2018, that passion led to my position at Seeq, where I currently manage a team focused on opportunity and product discovery. Here’s what a typical day looks like for me:
6:10 AM – The alarm goes off and it’s go-time! My wife and I have an hour and twenty minutes to get ourselves and the kids ready to go. “Go-time” is a bit facetious. Built into that is time to make a four-egg veggie omelet, drink a cup of coffee (or two), and take the dog on a 20-minute walk. The kids take some effort to get started, but my four-year-old daughter is more capable every day and does a little bit more of her routine without guidance every week. My one-year-old daughter is more hands-on, but she typically wakes up in a good mood and makes it easy. For me, the coffee and the walk are the most critical aspects of my pre-work routine.
7:30 AM – Walk from the house to the garage and head into my office, which is above the garage. If time allows, I drop into show-and-tell, a daily Seeq ritual where people share something fun, or a game is played if no one is sharing that day.
9:15 AM – Our team meets for our daily stand-up meeting, which is efficient but fun. Quick status updates often lead to short discussions that are topped off with something playful. Sometimes it’s a joke or a fun fact, but recently one of my colleagues has been giving a weekly math riddle. This week I’m trying to use a balance scale to determine which weight among 12 weights is different using the fewest measurements.
9:30 AM – I take a break and walk back to the house to make a coffee and grab the chicken bucket. The chicken bucket is not a bucket for chickens, but rather a bucket of our kitchen scraps that I feed to our chickens. I take the dog out to say hello to our three hens. I normally get two eggs at this time of the morning. The third one will show up sometime later in the day.
10:00 AM – Working in the Pacific time zone means that mornings are my collaboration time. Most of my colleagues live east of me, so my morning is their midday. We talk about experiments, software design, team building, and explore new workflows and integrations.
11:00 AM – It’s time for book club–one of my favorite times of the week. Or, should I say, one of my many favorite times. I’m in two book clubs right now, with options to join a third. I love learning and being at Seeq allows me to sponge up an incredible amount of knowledge from skilled colleagues with years of experience in a variety of fields. Monday is the Software Development Book Club and Wednesday is the Design and Research Book Club.
12:00 PM – Sometime between 12 and 2 p.m., I take lunch – it’s flexible for me. With colleagues in so many time zones, you have to be willing to accommodate the odd lunchtime meeting. For example, that 10 a.m. collaboration time was over my Central time zone-based colleague’s lunchtime. It’s a bit of a give and take, but I can plan around it and snack as needed. If it’s nice out, I’ll sit on the deck or take the dog for a walk during my lunch break.
2:00 PM – Afternoons are focus time. I consult my rolling to-do list, check the Jira board, and spend some time on my emails. Most of my colleagues have left for the day, so I take the multi-hour block to get some deep work done. I really can’t do software any other way.
4:30 PM – Head up to the house and prepare for the family to come home. Get dinner started and make sure the morning dishes are done before the dinner one’s dishes pile on. The rest of the evening is mine.
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