Interview with Anna, Program Manager
It’s been quite a journey – both professional and personal – to Anna who started out 16 years ago in Devexperts’ QA department as a trainee and who is now a Program Manager.
Anna is driven by the desire to learn as much as possible about herself and the world, which is reflected in her love of mountaineering and endeavors in coaching in management.
In this issue of dxSpotlight, Anna will be sharing her perspective on the importance of personal development and how it can help find one’s own path.
How would you describe your job as Program Manager?
My job is about delivering the whole array of projects and services to a single client. The projects I coordinate include mobile applications, web apps, main desktop trading platforms, enterprise-level services and we also provide maintenance and support services to our clients.
All of these require a vast number of people working together and it’s my responsibility to communicate effectively all the necessary information to the team and to make sure everyone is on the same page and working well together. Another important aspect of my job is that it’s very close to account management, which means that I’m in constant contact with the clients.
What are the most valuable lessons you have learned in your career thus far?
I don’t think lessons are a correct term in this context. I’d rather call these conclusions. And per conclusions, I would say that it’s important to be happy with what you are doing. Once you experience how happy you are with a job, when you see the results of your labor and how it impacts others around you, it’s very hard not to chase that feeling.
It’s important to try and, if necessary, change something in your career to keep you interested and motivated. It’s more than okay to keep seeking a way to the next level. In our lives, we learn so much about ourselves and about what we are capable of that it is natural to change our path and look for what works best for us. We are asked to make some big choices at an early age and with the world changing so rapidly right now, we have to be open to changes in our goals later in life.
What has kept you so passionate about what you do?
At Devexperts, I have had opportunities to change career paths and to search for a better fit for my skills. This is what kept me going. The company supports its employees in changing projects, switching roles that could be better suited for them. In the process, you develop your skills and further your options. Here I was able to pave my path with the support of incredible people along the way.
With such a highly demanding job as yours, how do you manage to keep stress at bay?
I don’t believe in zero stress, especially nowadays. Most of us reach a point in life when it gets extremely hard to get hold of everything, which forces us to reevaluate our choices, face our situation and learn from our mistakes.
After the first Covid-19 lockdown, I attended a training session on how to keep oneself energized and not fall into the burnout trap. I think that was one of the most helpful and timely courses I had. I am always looking to educate myself on these matters and I strive to make decisions that help me keep this delicate balance.
We know you have been actively seeking to further your knowledge in coaching. What drove you to this area of expertise?
Coaching in management uses coaching tools in everyday management practices and work routines. When I took that course, it brought a lot of insights, and I realized that the subject was very close to my vision and my outlook in life. It’s geared towards the future, setting up goals, and getting the positive out of past experiences so you can be inspired to create a better tomorrow for yourself.
And you are about to take on a new coaching course, is that correct?
Yes, I am about to embark on a very demanding educational course. I am counting on learning more about myself along this journey, learning about tools I can use to work with people and help them reach their goals and develop their careers. I am also looking forward to meeting people who share my values.
What advice would you wish to share with those who want to change their careers but don’t know how to take that step?
The first thing you need to do is to acknowledge that you are not satisfied with the way things are. Sometimes, it is when you hit the rock bottom that gives you the courage to actually do something and change your path.
I think it’s important to understand where you want to go next or, at least, understand what makes you happy. What makes you feel driven? When you have that understanding, be vocal about your interests and wants. When people around you know what you are seeking, they may help you find the opportunities that match what you want to do. And remember, you won’t see any opportunities unless you know what you are looking for.
It is no secret how much you love to travel and that you have a true passion for backpacking trips in the mountains. What do you love about these adventures?
These trips allow me to get to places that are hard to get to by other means. Because I go on organized group trips, I meet a lot of new people, and through talking to them and getting to know them I adjust my own view of the world and life. A lot of the people I’ve met are truly amazing and we keep in touch.
I’ve learned to be very tolerant and patient. You often go through a lot of hardships when on a difficult route, especially when mountaineering. Sometimes bad weather would add to the hard experience. And people tend to reveal their real selves in such circumstances. Learning to be okay with how different we all are and accepting other peoples’ flaws with understanding – that’s an unbelievably valuable experience that I get from spending a week or two with a group of complete strangers.
To me, being on difficult routes and summiting mountains is the best way of getting back to my own self. Extra noises stay out of my head, and I can hear myself for once. Sometimes it can be so hard that all you can do is count the steps and align them with your breathing. And it’s the best therapy. It gets me fully reformatted and recharged. Also, I learn more about my potential, what I am capable of.
What was the most important experience you had in the great outdoors?
I remember when I wasn’t able to summit Mera Peak (6476m) in Nepal and had to turn back at the height of 6200m or so. I made a post about it on Instagram and the amount of cheering and supportive comments I got from people made me feel like it was the best day of that year for me. It was also the experience that showed me the importance of listening better to myself, of doing what I feel is the best for ME and measuring my success by the level of my own happiness and satisfaction, not other people’s view of success.
Where do you want to travel next and why that place?
I really want to go to Antarctica; I think it must be a wonderful experience. It is, however, expensive, so I need to save up for that. I also have a couple of things I want to achieve in terms of high altitude and mountaineering. I hope I’m able to summit Mount Aconcagua someday, the highest mountain of the Americas and the highest peak in the western hemisphere.
Recently, my mother told me that seeing the whole world was my dream when I was a child. And it still is.
I want to see as much of this planet as I can while I am able to do it.