Appen is proud to offer remote and online opportunities for workers in countries all around the world. We spoke to one of our freelancers in China about her best advice for potential Appen contributors and why she chose remote work.
“Every day is like a little adventure…”
— Xing Yi, Appen Evaluator from Suzhou, China
Tell us about yourself! Where are you from?
I’ve lived in Suzhou for one-and-a-half years. My hometown is Liaocheng, Shandong, a northern city with strong traditional customs. I studied biology engineering during university, and then I went to Peking Uni for three years to follow my long-lost dream of being a landscape architect. Then I met a journalist from Malaysia and traveled with her a lot, selling her books.
Suzhou, China. Photo: Peter K Burian via Wikimedia Commons
What is your favorite place to travel?
I love Tivoli in Denmark, and I’d love to raise a child in the Nordic countries. I love the poetic and gentle atmosphere in the city I live now, Suzhou, enjoying tea while watching fish swimming freely in the ponds. In Hong Kong, I loved staying at Mt. Davis Youth Hostel, where I could feel the ocean breeze every time I walked out of the room. I also love to camp in Lantau Island, hiking three hours in total to get fresh baked custard pancakes from Yat Tung Market.
What prompted you to look for remote work?
I traveled a lot at the time helping my friend sell her books, sometimes for two or three months. I didn’t have much time to work a stable job. I started working at a hotel as a server, meeting a lot of interesting people from abroad. Some of them showed me how to use Google and Facebook, which was a whole new world to me. One day, when I saw Appen’s ad, I thought, “This is it. I’m going to try to connect to the world beyond the wall.”
What was your first impression of Appen?
I wanted to learn more about the other side of the world, and this seemed like a good chance for me to do it. It’s interesting just thinking about how I can be a housewife and a small business owner at the same time, searching for an IKEA sofa or business management software. It’s also a good opportunity to learn another language.
How do you find your work / life balance?
I often plan ahead, thinking about my monthly goals first, and then my weekly goals. For example, when it’s a family week, I’ll plan to work less so I can enjoy time at home with my family. If I’m traveling during the week, I’ll buy my ticket first, then adjust my work schedule around it.
What has surprised you most about working for Appen?
Since Appen Global became Appen Connect, we finally got the chance to meet our remote coworkers, and it’s amazing. Every day, from morning to evening, people come to the chat room to say good morning (in their time zone). That’s why we say, “The sun never sets on Appen Chat.” All in all, it feels amazing to work with so many different people around the world, to share our thoughts and life 24/7.
What do you find the most rewarding about the job?
Every day is like a little adventure since you never know what kind of tasks you’ll see. I like to imagine myself in different roles, doing online research in a different life. And you never know who you’re going to share your thoughts with — one minute you’re talking TV shows with Turkish colleagues, the next you’re discussing guidelines with an Italian fellow. At the end of the day, we become friends with each other. We even have a proverb here: “Without even stepping outside his gate, the scholar knows all the wide world’s affairs.”
What advice do you have for prospective Appen candidates?
Interest is your best teacher. Think of it as an adventure. Online surfing is a big part of life now, as is going to restaurants, watching movies, and traveling. Working as an internet search analyst is like playing a part in other people’s lives. Don’t worry too much. There are always people willing to help, as long as you ask. Remote jobs often mean doing the work by yourself, so you might wonder about the guidelines. The new chat feature is a perfect solution for things like this. When I find guidelines that aren’t clear, I often go to the chat, ask if others are having the same problem, and we can discuss things to make them more clear. —Want to join the adventure? Explore Appen’s available opportunities and remote jobs at appen.com/careers.
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