A Day in the Solstie Life: Ken Boucher, Technical Consultant

March 19, 2018 — the day my life changed when I flew from London to Chicago to become a Solstie.

My story with Solstice began long before I ever stepped foot inside these four walls. In 2014, I was working in London at our sister firm, TAB, part of the Kin + Carta Connective. That summer a group of Solsties headed across the pond to the United States to work on a joint client engagement between our two organizations. It was then that I was exposed to Solstice’s working culture and drive to empower people. The leadership values exhibited by my Solstie counterparts were ultimately what drove me to make the biggest change of my life.

I felt nervous and excited — this was, after all, a huge move. How would I get past the language barrier? I would have to get used to spelling “color” with no “u” — and what about “aluminum”? And suddenly I would have to take an “elevator” instead of a “lift”? The transfer was made so much easier with the support of my family and my peers across The Connective. I’m very thankful for the help provided by both.

It’s been one year since I started my new journey at Solstice, and I’ve loved every minute of it. What stands out to me most about our organization are our core principles. Specifically, the principle of “Empower Disruption” has been a defining highlight of my time at Solstice so far. This principle means that all levels of employees should feel emboldened to play bigger. This can range from presenting at one of our many Lunch & Learns, to owning tasks outside of our typical responsibilities, to making changes on the product without fear of overstepping a prescribed role.       

I’m a Technical Consultant and tech lead on my client team, but my role involves so much more than just mashing the keyboard to code. Let’s have a look at a day in my Solstie life.

5:30 AM: Wake Up 

My alarm goes off. I immediately second-guess the decision to set my alarm at such a ridiculous time. I then debate whether exercise is ever really worth it. In the end, I convince myself it is.

5:45 AM: Get Ready for the Day

I like starting my day at the gym for a couple of reasons. First, it’s less busy than after work. Second, it lets me begin my day feeling energized. This time also allows me the opportunity to mentally prepare for the day ahead.

Thankfully, my apartment building has a fitness center, so I can start my day off with weights or the treadmill. But with spring around the corner, I’m very excited to cycle by the lake again.

8:45 AM: Arrive at Solstice 

My commute is narrated by podcasts; a few of my current favorites include “Stuff You Should Know” and “Four-Finger Discount.” They make me cry and they make me laugh, but they teach me something about life.

My favorite part about my commute into the Loop — where Solstice is headquartered — is the view along the lake in the morning. I find watching the waves along the beaches very soothing. I arrive at the office, grab my morning coffee and breakfast from our café, and head to my desk to begin the day.

 

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9:10 AM: Project Stand Up 

I am a tech lead on a program that is split into teams to better manage the multiple features we develop simultaneously. In the mornings, we hold a stand-up with both in-office and remote teammates who are working out of other US locations or India. We update each other on what we did the previous day, what our plans are for the current day, any potential blockers we have, and other project-wide announcements we need to share. This ensures we’re all on the same page and can deliver effectively.

9:30 AMProject Work

Back at my desk, I begin working on my current story, setting up a Spring Boot config server for our APIs. At Solstice we get the opportunity to work with different technologies to get a broader skill set. I’m an iOS specialist, so working on Spring Boot is out of my comfort zone. Although I already had some insight into how backend systems work, this has been a great opportunity for me to get some hands-on experience and explore the inner workings of this system.

 

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11 AM: Solstice U Stand Up

We have internal classes throughout each quarter, which we call Solstice University. I have a short catch-up with my colleague and fellow instructor, Erica, to review our Executive Presence deck. We want to ensure our teaching is as effective as possible. After the meeting, we set some action items before our next course.

12:30 PMLunch 

The French Market across the street is normally my go-to lunch spot. Today, however, Jorge (Technical Consultant), Susan (Sr. Technical Consultant), and I head to Mezza to pick up some chicken shawarma and then eat together in The Café with other Solsties.

1:30 PM: Code Reviews

I break from the config server work to take care of some code reviews. Code should never be merged into our main developer branch without being reviewed and approved by other engineers on our team. We do this to ensure that the code submitted is of the highest quality and to catch bugs before they even make it to quality assurance.

4 PMMentor Meeting

As part of our personal development here at Solstice, employees are paired with a mentor, who acts as a go-to for any questions related to Solstice, work, or personal life. Mentor meetings are useful for getting career direction and ideas for how to continue to better ourselves. I like to keep my meetings informal.

Today, I am meeting with my mentee. First, we head to the French Market to get some bubble tea. Then we catch up on how things are going at work and in life in general before discussing long-term goals. We’ve outlined smaller goals that build toward the long-term goal, so we also check in with the progress there.

7 PM: After Work

Chicago has a huge improv comedy scene, so once a week I attend an improv class at Second City. It has had an incredible impact on my mental health by allowing me to relax, have fun, and be present in the moment. Also, if I can drop a pun in a scene, I’m happy.

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11 PMWinding Down

I don’t usually like to start winding down this late, but with class running from 7 to 10, it throws my schedule off a bit. Depending on my energy level, I might stay for a drink with my improv friends.

Once I get back home, I’ll relax with a book. I know it’s time to sleep when I doze off and my book falls on my lap.

Want to work alongside Ken? Check out our careers page for more information and to apply.