A Day in the Life of Jen Gifford

By Jen Gifford on

I’m Jen Gifford, a Software Engineer I in Uplight’s Business Customer Solutions department within the Team Discovery Channel pod in the Engineering pillar. I started working at Uplight in August 2019 as an Accountant and after spending some time exploring coding, I decided I wanted to become a Software Engineer! I went through a part-time full-stack Software Engineering boot camp program through Flatiron School for about 1.5 years while working full-time at Uplight, graduating in June 2023.

It was a tough journey, and I’m very proud of myself! Everyone at Uplight was very supportive during this process, demonstrating Uplight’s core value of Grow. In September 2023, I transferred to my current role as a Software Engineer. I’m beyond grateful to everyone at Uplight who has helped me achieve this.

Here is what a typical day looks like for me. If you are interested in knowing more about working at Uplight, check out our Careers page

6:00 AM: Alarm goes off! It’s a gentle awakening since it’s a light that gradually gets brighter, along with some water sounds in case the light doesn’t wake me. I pet my cats, make coffee, and get ready for the day. 

7:00 AM: Boot up my laptop and start working. Thankfully it’s a short commute to my desk as a remote employee-an example of how we navigate together focusing remotely and meeting up periodically in person. Depending on my flex schedule, I might start working at 8. 

The mornings are generally quiet. Since I’m new to my role, I’ve been focused on onboarding and learning. I work on tickets, pair with a coworker to help me code, and spend some time in Udemy to learn more about the coding language and tools we use.

8:30 AM: Time for breakfast! I grab a bowl of yogurt or oatmeal from the kitchen. I like something quick, easy, and light. 

9:30 AM: Take a short walk break. It’s important to get up and move around throughout the day! I adopted this habit from a previous job where our whole team would go for a 15-minute walk together mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

10:00 AM: If we are starting a new sprint, this is when we typically have a sprint planning meeting.

12:30 PM: Lunch! I like to go for a short run or walk around the neighborhood, and then have a fruit smoothie.

1:30 PM: This is when our team often has daily standup meetings, which helps us work as One Team. Depending on where we are in a sprint, we might also have a retrospective to talk about how the sprint went or have a refinement to review upcoming tickets.

2:30 PM: Take another short walk break. Depending on the weather or how I’m feeling, I might do a few pull-ups and kettlebell swings, or do some stretching and foam rolling instead. 

4:00 PM: Log off my laptop and call it a day! Sometimes I’ll go for a long walk around the neighborhood. 

4:30 PM: This is around the time my husband and I eat dinner. He’s up even earlier than me for work, so we’re both pretty hungry by the time I get done working. He’ll often cook something, or we’ll have leftovers. If I’m feeling crafty, I’ll bake chocolate chip cookies or try a new recipe!

6:30 PM: A few nights each week, I have roller derby practice and dance classes. On other days, I either rest, do a workout, or dance at home. When the weather is good and it stays lighter outside in the evening, I like to roller skate outdoors!

8:00 PM: Watch a movie or TV show with my husband. We’re usually watching horror or comedy, or a blend of both. I like to cross-stitch while watching movies. It’s very relaxing!

9:30 PM: Get ready for bed. We’ll put on a familiar TV show until we fall asleep. Sometimes the TV keeps me awake, so I’ll read my Kindle instead. I aim to fall asleep around 10. 

Tips and tricks for success

Taking many short breaks and moving throughout the day is key, especially since I’m working at a computer all day. It helps keep me healthy, break up the day, and refresh my mind.

I rely heavily on my calendar for scheduling tasks, reminders, and focus time. It helps keep me organized and is a great visual of what to expect for the day.

Talk to coworkers! This can be a challenge for me as an introvert working from home, but I wouldn’t be in my current role if I hadn’t talked to people throughout the organization about my aspirations. Joining an Employee Resource Group is a great way to get more social time with coworkers! Participating in Uplight’s Women in Tech ERG has helped me to get to know more people, and pick their brains about Engineering.

Why Uplight?

I truly enjoy working at Uplight. It’s the most flexible and inclusive working environment I have ever experienced. The people are friendly, welcoming, and supportive. I’m also proud to work for a certified B corporation that has a positive impact on the world.

People at Uplight