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How being made redundant led this woman to her perfect job

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Stylist Team
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Work/Life is Stylist’s regular column about the professional routines of successful women. Here, Shelley Mannion talks us through her one-day diary, from morning latte to lights out. 

Shelley Mannion is the digital product manager at Photobox. She lives in north London with her husband and two daughters. 

My alarm goes off…

My children are my alarm. They’re five and two, and we usually all end up sleeping in the same bed by morning-time. At 7am, I get up and breastfeed my youngest before sorting myself out. I can get ready in 15 minutes. I like to call my wardrobe smart-casual, but it’s really more casual than smart these days: some trousers and a cardigan from Gap, usually. If I’m lucky, I eat cereal and a piece of toast before I leave at 8.30am.

I’m responsible for…

Leading the product team of eight developers and designers at online printing company Photobox. Most recently, I oversaw the launch of the Photobox app, where users can upload photos and order them on products like mugs and prints.

Photobox’s new app is full of Shelley’s creativity 

I got my job…

By changing paths after I was made redundant. I’d worked at the British Museum as a product manager for nine years when it dissolved its digital department. It was really tough, but I intentionally set myself a challenge to find a role as product manager in a totally different sector. Before I left the museum, I’d just launched their mobile app, so the opportunity to do the same for Photobox seemed like a perfect fit. 

My typical day…

Starts with switching between emails and the New York Times app while I’m on the bus. At the office, we begin with a daily meeting around a board that displays all of our work and each team member talks about where they’re up to. Are they stuck? Do people have questions about it? Then we update the board. Questions often arise at the meeting that need to be resolved directly afterwards. As a product manager, a big chunk of my job is guiding the team, so the questions come my way. For example, while I don’t do coding, I am involved in all the technical planning.

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I’m very rarely organised enough to bring my lunch from home, so at about 1pm I’ll go and get an egg sandwich and a cup of tomato soup from Pret. The rest of my meetings depend on where we are in the launch process of a project – at the beginning of creating the app it was all strategy and very technical, but now I’m spending time with marketing as we figure out how best to share it with the public. I leave at 7.30pm.

My most memorable work moment…

Was working on one of the first augmented reality apps for mobile. We created a mobile trail at the British Museum that allowed people to scan markers and discover a 3D object. 

The worst part of my job…

Is having to acknowledge that sometimes good products just don’t succeed.

The best part of my job…

Is working with such a diverse team, with diverse skills. I’m a firm believer in the mantra that our differences make us stronger.

Shelley works on everything, from strategy to marketing

After work…

If we’ve made any changes to the app that day, I’ll test it on the bus home. When I walk through the door, the first question from my children is always what I have for them in my bag; usually I’ve picked up some strawberries. From there, I jump from one busy environment to another, feeding them and doing the laundry. For dinner, I’ll usually make something really simple like chicken and rice. I collapse into bed at around 1am.

My Plan B: Curator

I’m a trained art historian and Himalayan Buddhist art is my great passion. And I love museums. So I’d like to be a curator that puts big shows together. To be fair, it’s not unlike my job, it’s just using different materials. You invest your creativity into something and offer it up to people. 

Photography: Holly McGlynn

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