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Work-life Balance Through the Prism of a Lead Data Engineer

Sofia, Bulgaria | June 11, 2021

by Aleksiya Kokolios

He is a book lover, who happens to go to bed almost every night under the sounds of his favorite music playlist or after a movie classic. He is a hiking enthusiast who regularly practices sports and enjoys nights out with friends. He is a passionate swimmer who is looking forward to the next time he will jump into the pool. He is also a Software Engineer with over 15 years of experience in front of the computer screen. Most importantly, he is willing to share how he manages to combine all of his hobbies with his work. Today, we will meet you with Ivan Miliovsky - Lead Data Engineer - to discuss the work-life balance Senior Developers and Software Leads need to maintain in order to stay productive and satisfied with their personal lives. 

Miliovsky shares that it is normal for a developer’s career to come at the expense of their personal life… but only until a certain point. Developers’ lack of understanding of this fact, along with their inability to set the line between work duties and pastime activities, is the main issue that often causes burnout and mental drain.

“During their first years as software developers, most people choose to invest their time in reading additional materials and doing projects in their free time to catch up with the rest of the industry. This is natural for every person who would like to develop professionally. However, not changing your routine and continuing to neglect your life outside of work for too long can have dire consequences for your mental well-being.”


Every day for Miliovsky starts with a cup of coffee and a review of his daily working agenda in the world of data structures. Then, every evening the specialist ends up doing something that helps him relax and enjoy his time. It is a matter of habit, he explains.

“Freedom is a state of mind. Do things that require you to step out of your comfort zone. These are the kind of activities which will show you life outside is more beautiful than how it looks from behind the computer screen.”


No matter whether a developer is a Junior or a Senior, the way he/she maintains work-life balance depends on their mindset and approach towards work. “How many hours do you intend to spend working today? Is this time in line with your contract, and if not, does it affect your work or your personal life? The answers to these questions are vitally important for understanding where you do it wrong.”


From Miliovsky’s standpoint, COVID-19 has polarized the software industry, pushing workaholics to their mental boundaries and opening opportunities for laggards to disregard their professional duties. Both groups of employees demonstrate an inability to handle the balance between work and leisure, but the cure is different for both groups. When it comes to the people who overwork themselves, when their home becomes an office, Miliovsky advises them to strive to find something that is interesting for them to do, no matter how constrained they feel by the environment. Overworking might be a self-protecting mechanism, yet it does more harm than good, the Data Engineer shares. On the other end of the rope, people who choose to do something other than completing their tasks also do not go unnoticed. “This is ultimately reflected in a developer’s performance review,” the engineer hints.


“After a point, sacrificing your personal life will not be only because of overworking but due to many other side factors that got the chance to creep in and become part of your routine. If you feel you have lost control, start by doing something you would not regularly do. Maintain the right perspective and be balanced in your choices and decisions,” Miliovsky concludes (and we couldn’t agree more). 


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