A day in the life of… Sarah P (Application Services Manager— e Commerce)

AsosTechBlog
Sep 24 · 5 min read

This ‘day in the life of’ series gives you an insight into what a typical day looks like for our women in Tech at ASOS (hint: there isn’t one) and how they started their careers. Hopefully, you take something inspirational away from it.

This one’s about Sarah P who’s an Application Services Manager —e Commerce.

My alarm clock goes off…

At 5.45am — I don’t tend to do the whole breakfast at home thing, normally I’m not even awake at that time! I jump in the shower and set off at 6.45am.

My commute to work…

Is long! With a five hour round commute (three hours of which spent on a train), I’m lucky enough to read one book a day. Right now I’m focusing on historical crime fiction — particularly stories that are set in another period, for example crimes set in ancient Rome and the Medieval times.

I’ve always been a massively voracious reader — this is actually part of the reason I decided to move further out of London, as my previous houses just didn’t have enough space to fit all my books, as I now own over 12,500.

One morning it took nearly six hours to get into work, and I ended up running out of books to read on the train, it was a nightmare. Thankfully my team got me a voucher for Waterstones to go and buy a book for my journey home. I love paper books — Kindle is a dirty word for me! I don’t always get a seat on the train, but so long as I have my book then I’m happy.

Merely a section of my home library!

I’m responsible for…

My official title is Application Services Manager — e-commerce. I manage the Application Support team for the website — we look after the e-commerce journey, both front end and back end services. We are what’s known as a ‘level two support team’, this means that if there are issues with the website, requests will come in through the service desk and then get passed over to my team to do some triaging and fix the issues.

I got the job…

I got the job at ASOS having been headhunted by the People Team following 25 years’ experience as a tech manager, half of which spent in the retail industry. People often ask how I got into this profession given my obsession with literature! When I came out of university, I got a six month contract as an amanuensis, someone who looks after and scribes for an author. Not long into the role, the author I supported asked me to catalogue her library of 5,000 books, so I went out and bought a BBC Acorn Computer and set up my first ever database, cataloguing all her books for her.

After that I got a six month contract working for a corporate hospitality group and noticed that they had no way to organise venues for events. Each time a request came in they would need to do the same research on venues over and over again, which seemed highly inefficient to me. So, like in the previous role, I set the company up with an events database, this time in AppleWorks, which stored all the venue details to support their hospitality offerings.

When the company moved offices I ended up setting everything up for them in terms of networking and infrastructure — mostly I learnt how to do this on the job, and the rest as they say is history.

My typical day looks like…

There isn’t really a typical day for me. It’s fair to say I spend a lot of time in meetings about upcoming projects or those that have recently gone to production. Besides that, alot of the work I do is around problem management, incident management and people management. When I’m not in meetings, I’ll catch up with emails and spend time writing strategic papers.

Tell us what you get up to in the evenings…

I don’t usually get home until quite late so tend to go straight to bed having read and (hopefully) finished my book on the train home. Otherwise I love watching films — favourites of mine are the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films. I’ve got 1,183 DVDs but they’re the ones I watch over and over again, I just can’t help thinking that a Norewegian Ridgeback, Thestral or Zouwu would be a much quicker way to get to work.

My most memorable moment at ASOS…

I’ve only been at ASOS just over a year, so it’s got to be my first day. I’d been told to arrive at 9.30am, but because of my (at times) unpredictable commute, I was here an hour early so made myself comfortable in reception. It was fascinating watching everyone arrive, listening to interactions with the security staff, conversations with the reception team —so much noise and activity. It was also the first week of our ‘summer hours’ meaning an earlier finish on Friday’s, so there was a real buzz and sense of excitement.

In one of the new starter games, I had to tell the group what my favourite song was. I don’t really listen to music so had no idea what to say — I ended up going with ‘California Girls’ by the The Beach Boys — thankfully it went down a treat and everyone agreed it was a great song choice. It was even added to the summer party play list!

This was before we had opened our new meeting space, so everyone was heading to the canteen going past me, chatting about all sorts of things. Just listening to ASOS at play was amazing. This morning I came in and took a look at the new starters, and had a feeling of reminiscence.

The best part of my job…

My team ❤ I’m not just saying that, they’re truly awesome. I’ve had jobs over the past 20+ years where I’ve not had the privilege of having a team, so I feel very lucky to have inherited such a brilliant bunch of people. I know I can go away on holiday for two weeks and come back and they’ve still rocked it. I can trust them because I know my team have got it.

My one piece of advice for aspiring women in Tech…

I don’t think women should feel like they’re a ‘woman’ in Tech, they are a ‘person’ in Tech. I have personally never felt compromised in the workspace because of my gender, but we should be addressing this issue globally, and not just from a woman’s point of view.

Sarah P is an Application Services Manager — eCommerce at ASOS. She loves travelling to work, travelling back from work and reading :)

The ASOS Tech Blog

A collective effort from ASOS's Tech Team, driven and directed by our writers. Learn about our engineering, our culture, and anything else that's on our mind.

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