About New Year Resolutions

Speaking about my New Year resolutions, I am very determined to put them into action and have already made multiple changes to my daily activities. For one week, I did what I hadn’t done for a while – recorded all my activities through the day and what I spent time on, including things I do in parallel, like exercising and listening to an audiobook.

Another thing I am trying to be consistent with is going to bed before 11 PM, preferably at 10:30 PM. I am up around 4-30 AM regardless of the day of the week, and I know that although for a while, five and a half hours was enough sleep for me, now it is six hours. I didn’t sleep enough in December, and it negatively affected everything in my life. There are still only a few days when I go to bed at 10:30, but at least it’s always before 11.

And yet another thing I am trying to be more aware of is the time I spend on social media. Funny story – most people think they should do less of it, while I know I need to do more :). There was not enough of my professional presence at the end of 2021. I am allocating enough time to do meaningful things on LinkedIn and my professional blog. Also, I started using Twitter because it is professionally required. I am still struggling to do it in a meaningful way :).

Also, I am working really hard on not abanding relationships I have with many people, in real life and virtually. It’s easy to say, “I have no time for this,” but it goes both ways: people need me, and I need them. I am trying to reach out to those from whom I didn’t hear for a while because I understand that sometimes they also feel uneasy to contact me because they think it was “too long” and “I am busy.” So far, it proved working 🙂

2021/2022

I know that I am at least two weeks late with this post, but it’s only in the past two days that I found some time to write it all, although it was in my head for quite a while. Here it goes.

***

As I’ve said multiple times, what a year!!! Although all changes were for good at the end of the year, and I am ending on the positive side of things, it was too much! Because of so many things happening, I inevitably “lost” some things; that is, I had no time to do everything I wanted. 

The most important thing in 2021 was my move. I could not imagine the extent to which it would change my life before it happened, neither could I foresee many of the individual changes. It’s too early to be sure – I have lived in Rogers Park for less than a year – but I think that the impact of this event on my life may be the closest to my move to the US; so many things have changed! 

Besides the move, it was:

  • our book was published
  • I sold my car, and after 24 years of driving, became a non-driver
  • I changed job
  • Sold my old house
  • Refinanced my new house, which dramatically improved my financial situation
  • changed job one more time, and became a part of the EDB family

Both job changes were accompanied by a lot of rethinking what I want from a job, what is important to me, what I think about myself, and my impact on the Universe. 

I want to be very clear – I do not regret making the first career move this year. I learned a lot during this shortest tenure I ever had, and I will never look the same way at many aspects of database development. I have a different level of expectations: for myself and the Postgres community. On the other hand, I’ve experienced the biggest personal and professional disappointment in my life. Chad was such an important figure for me for over twenty years that I still feel the void. The irony of the situation is that many years ago, his influence helped me to become this very person who can’t tolerate the behavior he demonstrated. He is definitely my “person of the year” – in the Times magazine meaning. 

As for my second career move, the impact was also unexpected. I didn’t expect it to be such a big deal as it turned to be. I didn’t know how different that consulting was going to be. And in any case, I am just starting!

And one more big change of the year. I think that has been going on for a couple of years now, but I heard it in these terms only this summer. My then-new coworker exclaimed during our group lunch: oh, you are famous! How does it feel to be famous? I replied that I felt it was an extra responsibility, it’s that I needed to think twice before saying or typing something. That I know what I say makes an impact. I know that people listen and judge. 

And here are my hopes and my resolutions for 2022.

Work-life integration

  • I want 2022 to be less eventful than 2021! It was too much!
  • I do not want to change jobs in 2022. I want to stay where I am now, at least for 1.5 years. 
  • I want to use my position as an EDB employee to make many things, and especially NORM, happen in Postgres.
  • I want to resume my activities on building and maintaining Chicago PUG. I didn’t do it well in the past 3 or 4 months, and I need to change it. 
  • I need to learn to work from home. I remember that there were times when I liked it. I do not like it anymore, and there are too many things which fit nicely in my life when I work in the office. I need to learn to organize my life working from home, not just a couple of times a week but all the time. 
  • On that subject, I need to re-evaluate what I spend time on. Now that I am more financially stable than ever, I should learn to spend money rather than time in many situations, from taking Uber more often to purchasing more food online. 
  • I want to finally get on a more normal sleep schedule and not try to sleep less than I need.

Finances

  • I want to continue saving more than I did in previous years to invest more in my retirement and rainy day fund.
  • I need to stick to the schedule I developed to pay off my mortgage ahead of time; by the time I retire.
  • I need to look at how much and which causes I donate and restructure my donations. Overall, to give more. 

People and relationships

  • I want to make more time to people in my life, both “live” and virtually, not to abandon relationships because of “lack of time.”
  • I need to learn to be more patient with mom because my time with her does not benefit me if I am impatient. If I want to do something good for her, I need to be patient and supportive.
  • Allocate time for social media, both Russian and English; different media for different reasons, but if I keep certain social media accounts, there is a reason for each of them.
  • And I need to use this time more productively.

I guess, to summarize, I need to rethink what I spend my time on.

I am not writing anything about my personal life here. Not because there are no goals, but because we have goals regardless of the beginning of the year, and I hope that we will continue to work on our relationships the same way as we did in the second half of 2021. 

That being said, hello 2022!

New Job And Holiday Season

Today is one week since I started with EDB. People are still reacting to my LinkedIn posts and a job update, and the number of views of the job post is already over 4,000. I am shadowing another consultant working with a client. I see that my skills are needed, and at the same time, I am learning new tools and techniques.

And at the same time, I am still downloading and installing missing software, attending training, and learning how things are done.

The help desk is indeed helpful, but in many cases, it isn’t easy to find out what I should install, who can give me access, whether there is any documentation, etc. Most customer engagements are very short, and we need to work really intensely to deliver results in five business days.

Boris is teaching at night again:). I am putting the final touches on the house Christmas decorations – some decorations have found their places, and some will be donated or discarded. And I told Boris I wouldn’t have time to cook as I did last time, but I actually do :).
And also, it is bitterly cold outside but cozy at home.

Continue reading “New Job And Holiday Season”

Too Many Things :)

Just a couple of paragraphs about the craziness of my life in the past several days.
I was hoping to pack all the international parcels and write all the international cards by the end of Sunday. And I was not ready. I had all the cookie boxes packed, but I didn’t write all the cards to go along with the boxes, and I was not done with other international cards.
Monday was my first real working day in EDB, and also Boris was coming in the evening, and I had to finish all the parcel packing and custom forms creating. There was no way it could fit!
The thing that made me really nervous was that I could not print the labels for the parcels that went to Russia. I have no idea what’s the problem, but the USPS site allowed me to print all labels except for the Russian ones.

After some digging, I realized that I could print the customs forms, and the only thing I could not do was pay for the shipment. The slight problem was that I had exactly zero extra time and that the Rogers Park post office is about 2 miles away from my home with no direct public transportation. The trip would take about a half-hour one way regardless of whether you walk or take CTA. Biking would be the fastest, but the weather turned sharply cold overnight. Besides, being on the bike with three boxes is very challenging.

So I had to excuse myself from work in the middle of the day and do CTA +walking. There was no line in the post office, which was quite unexpected :), and I had all my boxes shipped. Still no idea why I was not allowed to leave them with the rest of the pickup.

At the same time, I had to do work meetings, install some software, participate in discussions, and talk to Boris and finish the remaining international cards. And then mom called and said that after her WIndows upgrade, she can’t do anything on her computer because everything “looks different.”

It looks like I am done with all crises, but… oh, well.

Funny Thing Happened Today

When I opened my apartment door and stepped into the kitchen, I could tell right away that it is warm. The past several days were incredibly hot, and each time I stepped inside my apartment, I felt the coolness. Toda, however, I could tell that the temperature in the apartment is the same as outside.

I had a thousand thoughts right away. I thought: I just told a number of people that the severe weather didn’t damage anything in my apartment! And that I didn’t have a power outage. And that I thought I wouldn’t need to replace an air conditioner before spring. And which repair service should I call? 

I was already counting my losses of time and money when I felt that it is starting to cool down. I checked the thermostat – the temperature was indeed coming down!

It was only then that I realized that today was the first day in two weeks that I came home before the time the air conditioner thinks I should be home and starts to cool the apartment!

I immediately remembered what my neighbor said the other day. I asked him where he was – I haven’t seen him for the whole week. He replied with the question: where have you being for the whole week?

  • I was working!
  • See – that’s what I mean: you should be at home more!

I guess, he is right!

The Soft Start

Friday was my “soft start” in the new company. I needed to start before July 1 to be eligible for medical coverage starting from August 1. It will still be three weeks on no coverage, but at least I will be insured for the next stage of my dental work.

First, Chad wanted me to “start” on June 30 and not bill eight hours of my work. But I told him that since we have “summer Fridays,” and I still have some unused PTO, I can just take half-Friday off and come to his office and make a full workday. It ended up being a great idea since it turned out their HR will be off the week before the holidays. So on Friday, I submitted all my paperwork and was onboarded. I had a badge to enter the building even earlier, so now it’s funny that I work at two places simultaneously. I joked with Boris that now there is no way back, “the marriage certificate is issued,” and Boris told me there was no way back a long time ago.

I am not saying it’s pure joy. I need to do a lot of convincing work with my new coworkers and my new boss, but I am ready for that. I know that I need to understand how exactly my work impacts the company’s financial prosperity. And I love that feeling when the SQL you deployed in production yesterday affects today’s bottom line 🙂

A Hectic Weekend

I am very unhappy about this weekend because I feel like I accomplished nothing (in contrast to the previous weekend). Yes, I had a lot to do, and I forgot how long the planting takes, but still – I needed to do all the things I didn’t do :).

I had several things to complete for both my current work and for my side job, and I completed less than a half for each of them. So now I have this feeling of “there are not enough hours in the week,” and it does not help.

Yesterday, I spent over an hour figuring out why my function did not work and finally went to bed without any solution. Before going to bed, I emailed Boris that things don’t work, and I panic. He replied that I should get out of panic because panic is not the right place for problem-solving. 

He was right, of course, and when I woke up, I figured out the stupid mistake I made the day before. I do not know how IT people who are married to non-IT people can survive!

Saturday was Boris’s birthday. Last year we still could not travel at that time, and I baked a rhubarb tart, and he bought a rhubarb tart, and we ate them on facetime 🙂

This year, Boris said he does not have time to buy a rhubarb tart and that my apple cake is better anyway. So, yes, I baked the Georgis Apple cake yesterday. I told Boris that I would not tell anybody that it was with him in mind, and it was cool with him.

I brought the Apple cake down to the courtyard and messaged all the neighbors. Not everybody was there, of course, but those who were there loved it! Some people were still thanking me today 🙂

I was really happy that I had a way to say Thank you to my amazing neighbors! And I will definitely bake it again 🙂

Trying To Make Work Work

For over a week now, I am working on a slightly modified schedule when I start working between 7 and 7 -30 AM and sign off at 4 PM. Such a schedule gives me about 1.5 hours of uninterrupted problem-solving in the morning. It can be some complicated coding or thinking about some global questions, like how to modify the access groups or what should be done to enhance the system scalability.

I am not saying that I am not working in the evenings. Unfortunately, it happens most of the nights, but I have time in between, and also, late in the evening, it is somewhat quiet as well.

Unfortunately, this week was very frustrating. There were unplanned emergencies; also, I was trying to do one thing the right way, and it didn’t work, and I had to back up after spending almost twelve hours unproductively.

Finally, we are hiring one person for my team. Unfortunately, it means that I will need to spend time on candidates screening and interviewing, and most likely not finding anybody:(. The job posting was published today, and I had a storm of recruiters calls and no organic traffic… If it weren’t for happy things happening in my life, I would be miserable…

Work- Life Balance, And What’s Not

Last week, our CTO asked the tech leadership team to estimate the percentage of all work time we spend on the following categories: the actual management, routine work and processes, and project work. 

I was in Helsinki at that moment, and since I had some extra time< and Boris was there, I decided to approach this task creatively. 

We had different views on what should be considered the project work and whatnot, but in the end, I decided to count as project work only the code writing and coming up with ideas on how to do certain things. I classified all the project planning, discussions with businesses, etc. as management. 

To calculate the percentage of each activity, I needed to calculate the number of hours I spent on each of them. Since I had time, I didn’t just estimate, but I looked at the three previous weeks and calculated the average numbers. 

It turned out that I work 55 hours a week, and I could not believe that number when I saw it. I always thought that if I worked during the after-hours, that’s because I spent some time during the workday for some non-work things. No wonder I felt so tired in the past weeks, and no wonder I felt that I need some vacation, And no wonder I did pretty much nothing in Helsinki. 

All of the above might explain my reaction to the “Laziness Does Not Exist” book. These past three weeks were the weeks when we finished working on the book, and immediately all the extra time I had was taken by work, and that was not right. A side note: when I calculated the total number of hours I work, I included the “natural time waste,” which totals to about an hour a day: sort intervals between meeting, coffee, and bathroom breaks, stretches, and other small distractions. They are essential for your normal functioning, and thereby should not be subtracted from the work time. 

It’s not that I never knew all that. I knew, and I was encouraging other people to not overwork. But for some reason, I always thought that “this does not apply to me.” Because I am passionate about my work, because this is not hard for me, because I am a superhuman, and for whatever other reasons. 

I am trying to change it now, and I realized that I need to advocate for myself the same way I advocate for others.