Voice of an EA – Ayyappa Sastry
Q.How did you come to Chegg?
It is a long story. Way back in 2010 May, I was doing home tuitions for about 20 years and wanted to have a full-time job. I visited Chegg to apply, on one of my friend’s advice.
My interview got postponed due to a manager’s absence. I came back home, went on choosing other options. At that moment, I was thinking that Chegg would always have openings, so, I kept Chegg as plan B.
Eventually, I joined as a faculty in an engineering college and neglected to join Chegg with a self-excuse that youth and freshers may enjoy the job more than me.
In 2012, my daughter got an admission into one of the top Indian institutes in Calicut, far away from my home, and she left for her higher studies. That broke my heart. I am very attached to my daughter, I went into depression, loneliness, and couldn’t come out of it. It so happened that the same person who introduced Chegg to me came to see me and suggested that the job as an EA at Chegg would keep me occupied. He convinced me by asking me to do the same tutoring which I was experienced in, but online, on the internet, to American students. I tried. It worked very well, just a couple of hours a day fetched me a reasonable amount of money in the first month.
Q.Where else do you work?
I am a faculty in an Engineering college.
Q.How is being an EA different from working as an employee elsewhere?
The difference is simple- schedules. At Chegg, I enjoy my own schedules, while earning almost equal to a full-time employee, at times, more than that.
For 20 years, I have been conducting home tuitions besides my day-job for high school students. After joining Chegg, as my career was progressing with flexible schedules, the home tuitions career disappeared gradually.
Part-time-jobs like my home tuitions have so many practical issues with time-management. Students don’t attend if I schedule a tutoring session at 3 or 4’O clock in the morning and they pay less too – lot of stress and less pay! Here at Chegg, I do the same but at my own comfort at home and of course, with a much better pay. So, I continued with Chegg. I can’t be more comfortable anywhere else.
Q.How much time do you spend a day on authoring?
I spend a minimum of 6 hours a day. I wake up at 3’O clock in the morning as that is the time when I can solve as many problems as possible due to the rush hour in the US. I shut down my laptop at 8 O’ clock as I have to attend college at 8:30. I come back from college at 6 O’ clock in the evening and switch on the laptop, immediately. I keep my laptop on my lap, sit before TV, and enjoy answering while spending a quality time with my family.
Q.How do you balance your personal and professional life as an EA?
My wife and my family members support me very well. I pull the plug during Sundays. Absolutely zero work during the weekends. We go to movies followed by dinner at a star hotel and I spend my full time with family. This way, I am spared during weekdays to produce as much as possible. Besides that, my wife takes care of all the household chores like buying groceries. If some emergency strikes, I prioritize it leaving everything behind. But my wife takes care of most of the things at home, in fact she makes sure I am comfortably sitting with my laptop solving problems on Chegg! [Laughs]
Q.Did you get any poor quality rating or send backs for your solutions anytime in your past? What did you do and what is your experience?
I never received thumbs down or poor quality rating. At times I receive comments from students like ‘incorrect’ then I re-check the answer. Mostly, it would be a student comprehension problem. I reply in comments with a proper explanation.
Q.Could you tell us a memorable and challenging moment in your tenure?
I actually joined Chegg to earn few more bucks to support my daughter’s education. After a couple of months, I increased my goal to 5 times of what I expected. To my surprise, I could hit the target! Then I tried to earn 10 times the figure, I got it too! Though it doesn’t happen every month, it was a moment of triumph and joy. I was the happiest being on earth! I made as much as I could. I had the earnings I could never imagine.
Q.How does Chegg help in your progress?
Chegg made me financially well-off. Despite my academic experience of 20 years, my skip rate of questions on Chegg is above average. That reminds me of the need to be an ever-learner. Eventually, I became a new learner in that one could often see me buying new books, exploring knowledge, and trying to upgrade myself. That’s what Chegg did to me.
The Education system of India and America are different. Questions that are posted on Chegg show how students are taught in America. I enjoy that. I also use some questions that I receive on Chegg for brain-storming with my students at the college where I am working now. I enjoy their enthusiasm to participate, as the questions make us think in a practical way of applying a formula which is taught just as a formula in the Indian education scenario.
Q.Are you happy being an EA? How has the role made your life easy?
I always want to be with my daughter but it was a major heartbreak when she left for her higher studies. I wanted to go and meet her whenever I wanted, but trains take ages to reach and all my casual leaves get wasted for the journey itself. After I joined Chegg and started earning well, I boarded a flight for the first time. Ever since I enjoy meeting my daughter whenever I want. Chegg made all these possible in my life Chegg also made me get addicted to the earnings and the way I work. Though I am a PhD, I never continued with research as it didn’t fetch me much. So, I became an addict of Chegg.
Q.Do you recommend others to join as EA? If yes, why?
Yes, I already made 10 of our faculty members join Chegg as EAs. Almost everyone is active now.
I say only one thing. Work well and earn well. Solve more problems and earn more. Or if one wants to earn just enough, one can work less. But the opportunity at Chegg never fades.
Q.What about procrastinating your work?
No. I don’t have time to waste. If I do not solve the problems right then and there or if I procrastinate, I will be destroying my entire day’s schedule. So, I don’t procrastinate.
Q.Would you opt for an opportunity to take up a day job of a full-time expert in Chegg?
I am now into my retirement, enjoying, and am financially stable. Chegg supports me for my daughters’ weddings along with my current job. I don’t find any need more than this. What else would someone want more than such a lifestyle?