Camelia Roman knows that perfect is overrated—and she’s keeping that in mind as she works on several DIY home-improvement projects.
“I have big plans for microcement. We’ll see how it goes!” says Camelia, smiling.
The Android developer at global media streaming company Plex believes in the power of experimentation in more than just her home improvement projects. It’s something she’s kept front of mind throughout her career.
“Don't demand perfection from others, or yourself. That’s very common nowadays. We’ve all looked for perfection for so long. And we’ve finally learned that it’s not the way to go,” says Camelia, referencing lessons learned during the pandemic.
We sat down with the Romania-born and -based developer to hear more about what she’s learned over the years, including what advice she has for other developers building their careers remotely.
Finding Her Space
Camelia liked math in high school, and when she entered college, she set out on a dual path: psychology and computer science.
Two years in, her program required her to get some on-the-job experience, so she found a role as an Android developer. The job helped her make a decision on her future path, and while she’s still interested in psychology, she satiates that interest via books and Ted Talks.
Camelia came to her current role by way of a startup that Plex acquired in 2017.
It meant going from being a team of one to one of many, but Camelia enjoyed that. “It was a bit intimidating, because at the previous startup, I was the only Android developer, and I was working alone. Here, I have very experienced colleagues, and I was wondering if I would be able to keep up,” she says.
She did, though, and has been thriving at Plex for over five years now.
“I was happy for the change,” she says. “When I met with one of the founders and the CEO, it sounded like an awesome place. And after all these years, I still think it’s true.”
5 Tips on Thriving While Remote
Plex has a headquarters in California, but it’s always been a fully remote company. Here are the guiding principles that help Camelia find success at work, even while working with colleagues in different countries:
- Practically, always have a video backup. “Most people have had those problems: internet stops working, your dog starts barking, computer crashes, et cetera. I’ve learned the hard way to have a video prepared that I can share in case my presentation doesn’t work as I would have wanted it to,” says Camelia, sharing that she once had this problem and accidentally autoplayed a video of her cat to her entire company. “Even though everyone was very understanding, it’s still better to have a video or PowerPoint of what you want to share instead of dealing with whatever the remote demo gods will throw your way!”
- Have the right attitude. “It’s common sense, but accept that we are all humans. We make mistakes, we should own our mistakes, we should fix them and learn something from them if we can, and then move on,” she says.
- If you’re having trouble focusing, let your workflow change as needed. It’s normal for personal to-dos to creep into the workday, says Camelia. But the nice thing about working remotely is being able to control your own schedule, and it’s good to take advantage of that. She gives an example: “Maybe my mom’s coming over and I haven’t done the dishes. Instead of looking at my watch and saying, ‘Okay, in one hour, my mom will come; in 50 minutes, my mom will come,’ it’s better to just wash the dishes and be done with it.”
- Approach imposter syndrome with gratitude. “My colleagues are very experienced and very smart, and instead of being overwhelmed by that, which sometimes happens, it’s better to be grateful that you have something to learn from them, and to take advantage of that,” says Camelia.
- Ask for the help you need—and give it, too. Even now, years into her career, Camelia regularly finds herself confronted with things she doesn’t know. When that happens, she first goes online and looks for help. Her second port of call is her colleagues. “I still have a lot to learn, and that’s what makes me happy, in a way. I’m not stagnating,” she says. “And it’s good to remind ourselves that there’s always something you can learn, or something that you can teach. Teaching is very rewarding, too.”