Interviews / Product Managers

Balancing the Grind with Lucie Kasna, Product Manager at Subly

Lucie Kasna is a Product Manager at Subly, a startup enabling automatic transcription and subtitling for videos. She is also the creator of holistic wellness website Homie.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

For over 10 years my background has been in project management in digital agencies, but after having 2 kids I knew that I didn’t want to work for more than 3-4 days a week. It was super important to have a job I love but also have the time for my kids.

I’m lucky that I even have this choice and a supporting husband. Although finding a company that is flexible and trusting to even consider part time role wasn’t a smooth process at all.

In the end, just to keep my skills current, I got involved in a startup Subly and offered to work for free as a product manager to help get their product into the market while I was looking for the right job.

Since then Subly has gone through pre-seed funding which means that what was initially a “let me help you for free” turned into the dream job I was looking for initially.

The lesson for me is that sometimes taking a step back, doesn’t mean a step backwards.

Having this part time role allows me to also focus on my passion projects Homie which is what gives me that job satisfaction and it added another perspective as there are 2 very different things.

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2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Let’s do pre-Covid days

Both my kids are either at school or part-time childcare so my normal day starts around 5.30 – 6 when they both try to get into our bed. Then the normal family morning getting everyone out of the door and starting my day at 9 with either some exercise or straight to work with a cup of coffee.

I’m a huge fan of “to-do lists” which I always make at the end of the day for the next day. As I have limited time before picking up my kids from school at 3pm I try to split my days into 70% Subly and 30% my passion project – it keeps it interesting and fun. It does’t always work out that way of course. Being able to adapt and be flexible is really important.

3pm get the kids and the usual afternoon starts with getting dinner ready, bath, bed.

7pm – back to work and team stand up – half of our team is in UK / Europe so this is the best time for everyone to connect.

Finish work around 8.30pm

It may not look like a balance for some, but for me 9-5 doesn’t work. I like that I can take the kids to the beach in the afternoon or do my life admin when needed.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes we are all working remotely. I can work whenever I want as long as the job is done and I’m not blocking any of my team. Sometimes it’s actually beneficial for me to work evenings as that’s when the UK team is online.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Balance for me means that nothing is forced, everything (or mostly everything) is fluid…sometimes I feel more creative or more of a planner so I focus on that. I’ve learned to trust the process.

Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.

Frida Kahlo

5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?

I truly believe that we need balance of work, fun, hobbies and rest. I’m an introvert. Even though I love socialising I recharge on my own.

By far the biggest impact of my job satisfaction and general life happiness is when I can switch from work to do something completely different – currently Homie provides just that balance.

In terms of habits – daily exercise, even if it’s just a walk. Good healthy food and healthy dose of friends

And of course to-do lists – I’m a sucker for lists, I have notes everywhere. It’s a way of not feeling overwhelmed.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Most of the time my favourite book is the one I’m reading at that moment, so right now it’s The Source by Dr Tara Swart about neuroscience and neuroplasticity.

7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Really just one? It would probably be meditation. It keeps me grounded. I’m definitely a better person if I had some time for myself.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Jacinda Ardern – her reaction to the pandemic was always led by her heart and empathy.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Adding a side project to my life didn’t add more work, it added more passion and different dimension.

I’d love to share a quote by Peta Kelly:

We must honour all of us and realise the power of our magic is nothing without our messy human-ness.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.