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WGT: Balancing life and work in 2021 with Radina Nedyalkova [transcript]

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Radina Nedyalkova, Vox Advisory.

Transcript of this episode was produced using transcription software with an approximate 95% accuracy so there might be some typos.

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Lech: Morning. Afternoon. Evening. Depending what time of day you're listening to it. Welcome back yet again. So every now and again, I like to invite friends who only genuinely enjoy chatting to we've got no set topic. We literally just press record forgets that the recording is leaving, running. And then we chat away hopefully.

With the things we say, making a semblance of sense, and that's exactly what I did with Radina Nedyalkova or Radi as most people know her. She is a psychologist, HR expert, certified career consultant and virtual lecturer with number of years of international HR experience.

What we talked about is something quite close to our hearts. It's, it's very representative of what we're both going through at the time of the recording. And that was about striking the balance between life and work.

We talk about the importance of having that balance of how to achieve that and what that means. We talked about how organizations are. We believe organizations should support their people in helping them strike that balance. We also talked about the future of remote work and where we see this going, whether it's going to be coming back to the office all the time, or a fully remote or a hybrid.

And also we had a bit of a laugh at ourselves that we sometimes think we are a little bit unhinged with our believe that organizations should do more to look after their people. And that we think, or we believe that this should be the norm rather than the exception that it is at the moment. I truly hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we did enjoy recording it. Here's my chat with at

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:02:14] So what do you have on your mind? What should we talk about?

Lech: [00:02:17] When's the last time we spoke November

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:02:19] Yes, it was just before Christmas. Yeah. I'd say probably in November,

Lech: [00:02:23] I'm curious. What's been going on here, how things?

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:02:26] Things are good. Things are good. I can't complain. I mean, ultimately I, I set up a new goal for myself this year and it's all about balance. And one needs to know their limits. And I guess when you're a solopreneur, because there is a difference between entrepreneur and solo preneur, right? If you have your own business, you get such a buzz out of it.

You push yourself really hard, you know, it yourself, you work long hours, you're you tend to say yes. And recently a lady asked me, okay, what's your biggest learning, being a sort of preneur. And I said, you know what? Fighting that demon myself, because it was such a struggle to figure out. What am I good at?

How should I position that on my website? What kind of partners should I work with? What these, even my pricing strategy, should I say no. Should I say yes. And I ended up really overworking myself or for nearly two years, I had an amazing 2020, despite all odds. And I decided for myself 2021, you know what.

I'm going to hit the pause button more often. I'm just going to prioritize, being healthy, sleeping. Well, going back to the basics and still enjoying what I'm doing, which I guess creating and maintaining this balance of, Oh yeah. I get stuff to do, you know, I'm paid for that. And then, Oh, I need time for relaxing.

That's probably the golden balance that is so difficult to find. I I'm on the way I'm on the way for sure. But yes, for me, that's a priority this year.

Lech: [00:03:59] That's sounds that's not so good. So healthily a of really like that. It's it's been. It's been difficult for me as well, but I'm guessing for a lot of people, maybe the way you said that yourself, 2020s, but an interesting year for a lot of people has been tragic for a lot of people.

We've been kind of, you know, you just kind of go with roll with the punches. Other people has been opportunity for growth. It seems that it's been like that for you. It's definitely been like that for me. But the boundaries between work and home. Non-existent. Because with one, and we're doing one in the same, in the same place and they find it so difficult sometimes to, to separate the things.

And I'm in this lucky position, like even now I'm in this lucky position that I love what I do. And like launching this podcast and working on all of this, I could genuinely be working for free. 15 - 16 hours a day, just do it because there's so much to do. And I've got the energy to do it. It's not a, not on, I'm kind of pushing the, have to new really motivate yourself.

No, it's just flowing, but I have to stop myself a genuine bloody do, because if I don't, I know this is I've, I've overdone it yesterday. Flat out I've done over, done the work go up early in the morning. Did better work here. Took a bit of break in the afternoon. Did, did a jolt for three hours yesterday as well.

Yeah. And then for another two or three hours, I thought, Oh, I'm watching a football game. You know what something on don't only do I'm watching the game. I'd sometimes browse the internet on the sides. And on the last yesterday, I thought, you know what? I'll, I'll just finish off a couple of tasks that I can do with kind of half the attention span.

And I did.

So the game was an hour and a half. Yeah. Two hours. Let's say I was working for three hours until 11:00 PM. Why did I do that?

But it's just one of the.

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:05:34] But that's, that's it. See, you are a perfect example of positive burnout because you actually have the energy, you have the desire, it pumps you up and you're thinking, gosh, I can do more.

I can do more. I can do more, but. At certain point, this is not sustainable. Yes. If you have one day in a week like that, totally fine. Do to create the amazing stuff which you do. But if this becomes a trend, because a lot of, a lot of what we do is, is new projects, new clients, new stove, activities here and there, and they all give you the buzz.

But at some point you start realizing, Oh my gosh, I'm starting to feel really, you know, the fatigue is real. I can't sleep properly. I might have gaining weight, losing weight, whatever. And you don't really feel that well. And I do realize that exactly. After a series of great activities, I was on the way, if I was riding the way, if I was like this surfer thinking, Oh my gosh, I'm the coolest person here.

And all of a sudden I dropped down and I was like, Whoa, how did that hit me? Positive burnout.

Lech: [00:06:37] It's like a high, it's like a drug, basically you're high on slide, the excitement or whatever the hormones own your buddy do it doing that. And I'm so aware of that. I'm so aware of that. I that's what I've been doing for the past few, few weeks, literally limiting myself to, you know, six, eight hours of solid work and breaking it up and work.

And, you know, having, having a balance that. Yes, it's an more intense period. I did have the same thing in, in December when I wanted to finish a few things off that didn't, that didn't end well because I was genuinely knackered. But then that took two, nearly two weeks off a day before Christmas Eve email out of office on did not touch my laptop for two weeks.

And you know what very good, very healthy, but that's, that's, that's the D w I could do that because that's why been doing it for many, many years. That I'd take that Christmas new year's break off every single time. So I just replicated that, but that's not sustainable either. You can't be working your ass off for three weeks, two months as stretch or whatever, then taken two weeks off.

It's about that balance. Isn't it? Within the space of a week, rather than the space of. Okay, that makes more

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:07:44] Exactly. And I pushed myself to say, okay, you know what, Wednesdays.

I'm going to be a bit more pleasure day. So I have my singing lesson. I usually have a, an hour meeting with a friend or someone that I can just chit chat. It doesn't have to be on zoom. I'm actually doing a lot more walk and talk conversations where we're on the phone, I'm in the nature doing something.

And I'm actually much more focused in what you're saying. And you and I have done one like this in, in November, but I I'm pushing myself. And I'm saying no to activities on Wednesday. Wednesday's my day where I can actually recharge my batteries. I don't have to wait for the sacrad weekend. Oh my gosh.

What's your plan for the weekend? Well, My plan for the week. I have no idea. Like, I'm going up to you. I might work. I might end up working, but I'm pushing myself to have additional day and that's Wednesday. It works for me. It's a nonlinear working hour. You said it yourself that you end up working until 11.

My peak of productivity is morning until 12. Then I need two hours of like rest or just staring in, you know, somewhere blank. Or just listening to nice meditation. Then I get another two hours where I feel productive and after six o'clock just don't bother me. But a lot of the times you said it yourself now, especially in this kind of situation, we are on lock down number three or four in Ireland.

I, I stopped counting at this stage, but the boundaries are so washed up. You, you just don't know you work from home, you leave from home, you cook your, your food at home. Your partner is at home. Everything is at home. It's just so mixed up. It's incredibly difficult to establish healthy boundaries.

And I'm sure it's not only us. It's a lot of people that are listening and that have the same struggles.

Lech: [00:09:25] Yeah. It's it's, it's been tough. It's been tough. It's been speaking to a lot of people. They say, they say they often say they often think, Oh, I'll just do another 20 minutes.

It's fine if it's 20 minutes every now and again, but if first of all, it's never, it's never 20 minutes. It's usually an hour. That's where it turns out too. And it's not every now and again, it's every day, every other day or things like that. The, the 11 of the 11:00 PM that I did yesterday was the first time in the day, a year, probably that I've done that.

And the only reason I would probably be in bed, be in bed. Way earlier, if it wasn't for the football game, because they'd been finished at half 10, so that's kind of makes you, so I would have watched that game anyway. I don't normally go to bed about 10, do a bit of reading and that's that's that. So yesterday I pushed there and yeah, I did something that I normally do don't normally do.

And I don't think I'll do it again anytime soon. But it's, it's sometimes difficult when, especially with, cause there's that pressure. Sometimes we have to do stuff because we have to do it because we we've got our boss breathing down our neck and we have to get it done. On the, on the other side, I'm on those and say that's positive bird potential for positive burner.

I'm really loving one day. And I just want to get it, get it done because I know that this is a push of a few weeks when then I can scale back a little, but that's the issue. We don't scale back what the needs, I'm afraid of you using the word, the term new normal, because it's been abused for so much time, but this actually is that it, the stress levels rise.

Anxiety revels levels rise when something's happening. And he goes, okay, that's, that's fine. It's temporary. It will pass. But what, what often happens? And we don't realize they do drop down, but they don't drop down to the original level. They drop down somewhere above. And when you multiply that, the compound that over a year's time.

Even when they drop after 12 months, they are already twice as high as they used to be. And that's, that's a

real problem.

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:11:10] Abso-freaking-lutely and you know what, there is a joke. I don't even think it's a joke, but that at the moment, internet companies, they're starting to reach those people, right.

Because everyone needs internet and like solid internet connection, electricity, whatever. And then also we're paying to sustain our mental health. And I did start working with a new counselor last year exactly because of what you just mentioned, the stress levels. They. Keep on rising because there is such a level of uncertainty, ambiguity around you.

Even if you are in your bubble at home, you don't socialize. Right? You don't see other people, you don't watch the news, which is my own choice. I specifically have decided not to do that because I think it's very overwhelming. Despite all odds I still feel inundated by everything, all the vibes that are around me, because we all vibrate in a much more negative way.

We are tired. We are scared. So it's it's, as you said, it's that anxiety that is pretty overwhelming. So what do you do then, to be honest with you? Like, I, obviously I started baking sourdough. I started going back to the guidance, so I have my own veggies that I'm growing, I'm cooking, I'm doing lots of other stuff, but at some point you're like, Well, what's the essence, where am I going?

And that kind of positive jumps, something nice happens. And you stick to it as if it's the last thing you're going to do. You basically throw your anxiety in a different direction and it hits you like a boomerang, but not everyone can realize that. I didn't realize it until it hit me hard. And you said the same thing and like before Christmas because you were waiting for these two weeks of holiday, but that's not how the body operates.

You're not saying, Hey, now you're switching off for two weeks. Don't worry. Everything will be fine. After that, we'll start January fresh and new. That doesn't happen.

Lech: [00:12:57] No, you're right. You're right. It's it's scary. I know what you mean about not falling news and trying to kind of rebalance yourself and get to that point is we have to have those situations.

You actually, that you said that we're investing more in mental health. Are we? Because I, I think, yes, you're right. We are a little bit, but so a hundred percent certain we're not doing it enough and the people in individually are not doing it enough. I, again, I've been working with, with a therapist counselor for, for many years.

Just to help me deal with the day to day, we work out some stuff that was there in the past and all that, which is always helpful. But even this customer day-to-day stuff, dealing with anxieties, what's going on at work and relationships and friendships and you name it so helpful because you've got somebody to talk to in a more structured way.

Yes, your friends are great. That you can talk to her, you can kind of lean on them and tell them and be vulnerable with them. That's fantastic. We can't underestimate that, but working with a professional, I think it's a different level. And especially if you do it regularly, once a week, same time and you just kind of work through stuff that's going on.

And it's, it's invaluable in my opinion. And I think more and more people should be doing that more and more. I think organizations should be paying more attention to that. So that's the, that's the thing, because I've worked. In a number of organizations. And I'm trying to think now there was definitely one that did offer mental health support.

There was a helpline, you know, there was access for a counselor counselor, which is brilliant. I'm trying to think of other organizations, but I can't, because I've never kind of was looking that way maybe because I already had my support and I never inquired about it, whether they had it. But I don't know.

What's your take? Do you see many organizations going down that route?

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:14:34] Yes, thank God. And I, the, the mental health topics, same like other topics from last year, such as diversity inclusion and belonging is back on the table. Finally, because I did have this struggle and I'm going to go back to your question, but coming from a country like Bulgaria, right?

People are very critical. They perceived psychologist, as you know, you only go there if you're absolutely crazy. Right. And I do have quite a. A lot of friends of mine that are business psychologist, similar to me, they want to work with businesses to help them create the health environment. And before in 2018, 2019, this colleagues of mine were saying, companies completely say no to us.

They don't even pick up the phone. They refuse meetings 2020 hit, you know what happened? And not only in Bulgaria, I'm seeing that here in Ireland as well. I'm seeing it in the UK as well. Those people are actually now inundated by requests for offers because people are screaming that they need, that it used to be in Ireland.

And that's to your question because I'm also coming from large American corporations, they always had this EAP employee assistance program. Right. And we knew that we have six free or. Six or eight counseling sessions. Right. But you know that it's part of your package. You never really explore it.

Right. And let's something really, really major, unfortunately happens in your life. But what I'm seeing is that so many more companies are now opening up and they're saying, Oh, Yes, we're going to pay for your Calm or Headspace application for the next two years. By the way get mental health Friday every second Friday in the month is a day off for the whole organization.

They're bringing counselors to have different talks around financial health, around savings, pension health everything related to. The different aspects that can bring your anxiety high, all of a sudden 2020 boosted that very core human need of, Oh my gosh. I need to look after my brain and my soul the same way I'm looking after my ability.

So no one can go to James now, right? No one can do that, but everyone is opting in for virtual zoom yoga sessions or whatever. Plus. Meditation. All of a sudden everything is about mindfulness. Wellbeing mental health. These are the three phrases that I see everywhere with all my clients, corporate and individual clients.

Everyone is talking about that. So for me, I'm incredibly grateful and happy that at least the narrative is back on the table and countries like Bulgaria that are traditionally against these kinds of support, because we don't want to be perceived as weak. Right. They are now saying, yes, I need that. And I would benefit from it, me as leader, I, as leader, as a manager and also my teams for me being stable and healthy.

Lech: [00:17:28] Exactly magic, right? You'd invest a bit of time, but it's a bit of effort in that and, and amazing things happen. The, the thing that you, that you said about kind of people meditating, the it's something that often people say I don't have the time and you just made me, made me think about 2020 in general.

That's one of the first realizations I had very early on back in March, 2020. Was that. This is the ultimate opportunity because the world is literally slowing down. It's still spinning thankfully in the right direction, but it is massively slowing down. So yeah. All the things that we didn't have time to do, because we were running to see friends to go out, to go to cinemas, go to gyms and all sorts of things, all that important stuff that is part of our social lives often was actually creating a space for anxiety because we have to do this thing.

We have to run from one to two to the next one, to the next one, to the next one. And you constantly rushing and doing stuff. And that all stopped. And then all of a sudden you have to focus on your nearest surroundings, the people you live with, your, your, your other half, your, your family, whoever it might be, or yourself.

Because there's no. What I like to call the, all the things that I've described that are part of our social life. I also consider them massive distractions, distractions from looking at ourselves at kind of giving ourselves that time, finding that balance that you've mentioned. Distractions from all, all that stuff that we don't have distractions from from all that.

And this, this is what, something that I think 2020, if that doesn't, if you didn't take the opportunity that you, you missed out, I think massively, massively, because now the, the world, as it's still locked downs, number 14, 22, whatever it is, depending on the country, you're in. But it's still kind of, you know, Mo more things are kind of, semi-open like delivery or shops open, you know, for a couple of weeks, then they closed and things like that.

So this there's more right. And 2020 is full on lock downs, nothing. And we, I think that was an opportunity in a crisis.

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:19:33] Absolutely silver lining.

Right. And you're so right in saying that I think the biggest challenge, the most difficult battle is really what you just. Staying with yourself. And that's an issue that not only people with anxiety have not only a single people or people with two, three, five kids, one kid, and not only younger generation generation Z or older generation, everyone went through very similar set of emotions of our perceptions of learning curves.

As you said, reflective mode, if you've had a. You know, a blast in your face to realize well, yeah, I mean, The world doesn't spin in the same way. So there you go. You need to embrace some kind of changes. Not everyone was ready for that. And those who were able to convert this into an opportunity, obviously this will be the more agile, flexible people that will be able to bring themselves to the next norm I, I'm not even saying the new normal what's the next thing there. I'm I'm yeah, I'm to be honest, I'm really hopeful for holograms soon because with this kind of isolation and loneliness, it seems like these companies should really push harder on that one.

Lech: [00:20:45] My thing is teleportation. That would be really, really cool because then, because let me think about it. That actually solves the problem of potentially contaminating, you know, catching anything, any virus, anything from people as you travel, because if you want to go from the UK to Australia, that's a 25 hour flight.

That's a few hundred people that you're going to be locked in a metal tube for a long time and then people are gonna mix with it. If we had to teleport a, it would be much quicker probably, but most of all, it would be just one or the other you're there. And then you can go straight into your friend's place or hotel and whatever.

So it would be really cool. I wonder how far away with that

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:21:22] that time space continuum?

That's it?

Lech: [00:21:24] Yeah, the Albert Einstein was onto something, but I think just, no one really picked it up afterwards, but you know I'm sure there's people working on this. So to, to all of you who are all the best. The please hurry up. Fingers crossed one thing I wanted to ask you relating to what you said earlier about what the or everything that the organizations are doing playing devil's advocate.

I don't think it's enough or not enough companies do it yet. When do you think what is being done become goes from being sort of an exception to being a norm.

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:21:56] Hmm. And, and that's a great question. Why, because what I observed actually is and you and I have been working remotely.

This is not new for us. Right. But Google basically, we're the first ones to say. Ah, people are not going to go back to their offices anymore and all of a sudden, right? Because Google is such an influence or influential player on the global scene, regardless of whether it's tech space or any other companies, all of a sudden number of companies and nouns, remote first strategy, we're moving entirely remote.

We're going to have flexible arrangements, even traditional companies. Like the likes of Siemens, retail organizations have said, yes, we are embracing now the flexible hours. We're going to allow people to come only three days to the office study that. Right. So it takes one key player to share or to open up the door and then the followers will combined. So I honestly feel it's the same way in regards to mental health, probably diversity inclusion and belonging are, is a bit more complex kind of issue. So I don't know what exactly that would look like, but when it comes to the mental health, There is a lot of progress. There is a lot of pro progress when it comes to mindset and technology.

So there are AI tools that are there. They're also VR tools that support with different kinds of scenarios. So this is already present when it's going to become mainstream. I wonder, and I am hopeful that again, the likes of Google and other top players, not necessarily in the tech space. We'll be the ones to say, Hey, that is a must the same way you have salary and benefits, then you need to have that despite of your packages.

Otherwise people would say no to you. I'm really, really hopeful that that will be the case. And I kind of, maybe I'm just, I'm very positive on that front, but I'm hopeful that this will happen sooner rather than later. Why not? Maybe this year.

Lech: [00:23:59] Think fingers crossed January fingers guys, because I think that's one thing that I would really like to see out of all of that, all the benefits, all the perks that companies give to the individuals in that, to their people in that space. I'd really like to see. And this is coming back to what we said earlier.

I'd really like to see unlimited access to counseling and therapy sessions. Generally. That's, that's the one part, if that was the one park that they could give organization organizations could give to their people in an unlimited format, not six or eight, but unlimited, for example. A session a week for an unlimited period of time, as much as you want it, because that's the ideal time.

Yes, you could. You could do a sessions every two weeks. They still work, but it's much better if you do it every, every, every week. I know that a lot of organizations are really good in giving people coaching. Like leadership coaching. That's really cool. But then it begs the question. Why do we give people that?

But we don't give him the support with the mental health. And a lot of times the, the, the, the amount of coaching sessions, leader, leadership, coaching sessions, which are also important. Absolutely. That's one of the things I do with, with my clients. But it's so, so important because we often take for granted that leadership is something that you just, you just do nothing more wrong.

When it comes to that bow, we give more access to coaching sessions, more unlimited stuff compared to mental health. And that just, I just really liked to see that change.

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:25:25] And that sounds amazing. You know, why, because what you just said about the leaders and the managers I think it should start with them particularly mid-level management, because these are the under looked people in any organization.

These are the ones that have to. Look after themselves, look after a team, look after processes, operational strategy, everything, and they are not really nurtured actually, when it comes to coaching what I have seen and, and thank you for bringing that up, coaching and mentoring. I'm seeing that at high level, right at the most senior level.

So let's say the C suite and then I'm seeing it on some kind of individual level for people who want to be very ambitious, proactive, and get to their next career. But I'm not seeing that as a massive practice. And I've, I've did a body of work with several large companies in the telecommunications in fast moving consumer goods and retail, and the mid level doesn't even have exposure to any of those, let alone mental health support, which if, if you set up the example and that's always the thing, right?

It's same with parenting. It's always exactly the same. If you are a thoughtful. Employer, you'd start with the people who set the example and that's not. Yeah, of course it's the C level, but let's be honest. They can absolutely afford that. Why not you? Why don't you start with the people that needed the most, which are distressed managers, brand new managers that are super enthusiastic.

They're stealing that are, Oh my gosh. I'm really amazed by the opportunities in front of me. But I don't have the time and space. Maybe they already have a family and they don't have the, the space and the time to dedicate to to find a counselor. But if you use that during your working hours, Then maybe that would work magic.

It's not so difficult to implement is just a matter of changing the mindset and really finding the right providers, honestly. And as you said, unlimited access to that same way, like Netflix, where the first one to say unlimited holidays. For some companies that work magic. Right. So why not? Why don't we try all that and see where it's going to lead us?

How can people abuse counseling?

I genuinely don't know.

Lech: [00:27:41] That's a good point. I didn't think of that because we do have the tendency to abuse things that we given in, in some cases. But yeah, I don't think he can abuse it without having a benefit out of it.

And as a result of the organization, having a better benefiting from that as well, because the better mental health of the individuals within the organization, the health of the organization, I think and it just reminded me of this, this It's not a quote, it's kind of a description of a conversation or between a CFO and a COO CEO.

And it goes something like this, that the CEO, the CFO says, what happens if we invest all this money in bettering other people creating better lives for them, you improving them and investing in them and they leave. And the CEO says. What happens if they, if we don't and they stay and I'm going, wow. You know what?

That is so true. And that's so sad. It's such a simplistic way of looking at the situation that I, but yet so powerful.

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:28:43] Yep. Absolutely. And I, and I absolutely agree with that. I mean, ultimately you can't stop people from leaving, but if you create an environment where they feel happy, they're looked after they belong, regardless of what their background is.

And I've said that multiple times, I've seen it. In a very conservative, traditional country, like Bulgaria. I've seen it in Asia, in Singapore, where I worked as well. I've seen it in the us and in Ireland people, every single human wants to feel important, impactful. They want to know that they're supported, accepted as who they are.

That is global. It's absolutely international. And if you show that you care. About their overall health, right? It's a holistic picture. And that's why people were pushing initially for remote work. It was related to their mental health, but people like a lot of the traditional managers were saying, no, I can't control you.

I don't see you. So how am I supposed to know that you are performing well? Well, let's be honest. They can be on their computer in the office pretending to be very serious and then playing a virtual game. I mean, People will always manipulate. And that's why I said you can't abuse the health provider or you can't abuse, you know, counseling sessions.

That's like getting free delivery of fruits and veggies. What's the worst that could happen over eating fruits and veggies, or maybe sharing with your family and friends. Wow. If that's bad, then I don't know as perception of good and bad, right.

Lech: [00:30:16] I'm thinking about it's still about and what they can do you, but the only argument against this is that they will, the bill would be large.

Yeah. Okay. It would be for the sessions, but then also have a pay as you go that you, you find a provider, the charges you per session used rather than a, an allocation that if it's unused and there are so many things that you could figure out you can do and that you can, as you said, trial, see what, see what works and the thing, the thing about remote work in that you said you're absolutely right.

And they actually used to piss me off for many, many years. When I used to work for four different organizations, I loved my job, loved the people I worked with. No doubt about that, but it annoyed me that I had to clock in and clock out. No matter what, what I was doing, what was there to do that because there's always work to do.

Right. And in reality, true. But there's also peaks of work and trust when there's less work to do. And just, and that's, that's what we deserve because we need to kind of mobilize ourselves to, to be able to deliver 120% every now and again, when that's required. But when there's low season off season, however you want to call it.

I shouldn't feel like I have to find things to do to justify my time, but still have to go into the office and I'm talking, don't get me wrong. I'm talking about healthy situations, healthy attitudes with good work ethics. That's the type of people I'm just describing. I'd like to think I'm in that category.

That if I wake up one morning and say, you know what, actually, I just genuine. Don't fancy going into the office. I just don't feel like there's no need for me to be in the office. I'd rather stay at home and just do bits and bobs here. And I'll be in a better mood. I'll do probably a little bit less than I would in the office, arguably, but I'll still do stuff.

I'm not going to be skiving for eight hours. Why, why can't we do that? Why organisations do that? If, as I say, if the work ethic and the attitudes and the autonomy to control yourself and self manage yourself is that I think individually and that's we used to that's what you said, knowing me that I wasn't granted that.

Maybe there's something that my employers knew about me or suspected about me that I didn't know, God knows maybe, but I have always delivered things on time and didn't miss deadlines and things didn't fall through the cracks miraculously on the days when I was working from not the office, but from home.

So in a way I'm glad for 2020, again, for that happening, because it was the classic examples of as like, can we work remotely? No, no, we can't. It's not possible. We've got too many processes. You can't do it from home. You need to have access to this and that in the office. Dah, dah, dah, dah Knock knock COVID-19 22, March, 2020.

Everybody works from home.

Oh, it can be done. Surprise,

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:32:47] Realization there. There you go. And that reveals only something that was inevitable.

Absolutely remote was coming anyway. It was, it was a massive, massive wave and it was going to come for sure. But. In the end of the day, COVID just sped up things. And ultimately, even, even those managers who are afraid to let go, who are you know, the control freak kind of scenario they realized, Oh, okay, well that probably requires me to take on some additional skills instead of expecting that trust will be built over time.

Well, now I have to trust people. So. There you go, a new learning curve. Again, going back to the middle management people, weren't equipped with the ways to measure effectively on the individual level on a group level. You said it yourself. You always deliver it on time. So why do you have to beg for remote work?

Why do we have to go on a guilt trip when we're working from home? People are like, Oh yeah, she'll be just watching Netflix all the time. I actually ended up working longer hours because I was so close and traded. There weren't each chat phones constantly around me with, because I was in sales environment, thinks are absolutely possible.

If you established the right processes. If you have the right behaviors, you said it yourself. Hey, I am a grownup person. I don't have to be controlled from that perspective. Micromanagement is that lonely


Lech: [00:34:17] Yeah. Amen. Amen. I've forgot. Genuinely. Couldn't agree more with you. I'm trying to agree more with you, but I just cannot. It's. It's it's, it's amazing. And are we, we've just been clinging on to that.

And the, the thing is like, when you've got situations, like, like we did last year in LA, we continue to have to set an extent Yeah, you adapt if you don't. Yeah. You're one of those companies that that doesn't does it doesn't survive in the long-term. And actually, as we were talking about just completely going away from the topic of people, the two organizations that came to my mind powerful organizations, amazing, innovative innovate organizations companies in that time that one of them doesn't exist anymore.

And the second is just marginal basically. And the one that doesn't exist is Kodak. The film and cameras organize a company that used to be everybody used to know him for like in 60 seventies and eighties and nineties. He was a number one that that's so many patterns when it comes to photography.

Amazing. Gone bust. And Apple, Google, Facebook, and then them just gobbling up the, the, the patents because Kodak failed to innovate and kind of keep up with the times, Nokia the same completely missed the trick with smartphones. Completely missed out. I'm sorry, but the stuff that they've been releasing in the past five or 10 years trying to catch up is just, and I, I did have a work milk, your phone, a smart phone, sorry, for, for a few years.

Hardly ever took it out genuinely of snuff. It didn't have an amazing camera though. It didn't have a 42 megapixel camera. It was instead the pictures on that were insane, but the camera bump, you know how people are complaining about the camera bumps and then your only phones yet. Get that Nokia. I don't remember what it was, which is Google Nokia smartphone, 42 megapixel camera.

And you'll find out it was huge!

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:35:57] Wow. So, well, there you go. There you go. I mean, it ultimately innovation and we know that from history. If we look back in, in all of these challenging times of uncertainty of black plague like that, or, or, you know, the plague or, or any other kind of sicknesses or challenges, Wars, after that, all of a sudden the smart companies, countries, people experienced blooming.

In terms of technology, in terms of new opportunities, processes, et cetera. So I do feel that this is a silver lining. I do feel that we, we need to figure out the best ways to incorporate. This new knowledge into how we work, how we live, how we operate make it better, make it more friendly for us as humans and also for the people around us, because it is shown now with homeschooling and with all of this stuff.

Obviously Deliveroo and the likes of Amazon are absolutely on top of their games, but we realize. We are so dependent on so many things happening in the world. So many countries working well when China shut down immediately, that impacted so much, it was crazy. We realize how dependent we are from one another.

Lech: [00:37:14] There's no denying that. Absolutely. There's not. And that's why I think that's why a lot of people struggle because yeah, we've begun up remote work and, and this is so amazing. Yes, it is. But also it's got massive drawbacks and that are really scary. The, the positive burnouts and the boundaries being blurred between work and home to name two examples, but the other one is the social interaction.

That's that's a D that's a tricky one. I've got so many friends who are extroverts and they're struggling big time. I'm a, I'm a mixture of kind of introvert extrovert, depending on the situation working from home, hasn't been that much of a big deal for me as a, as an, as a, as a difficulty. But I know that a lot of people are struggling.

It's we need it to go back to the offices at some point. And I think I'm more than certain. I don't think we'll go fully remote and I don't think we'll go back to offices, I think it's going to be a hybrid approach. That's kind of my take on it. What'd you

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:38:03] Yeah, absolutely.

And I think this is the most realistic one and the most adequate element and the element of choice as well. And already a lot of companies are talking about that. Salesforce recently announced that Google already has that in place that people will be able to choose. And you have to make this kind of judgment call what suits you best, what would be the best case scenario for you on an individual level?

Which should have been the case anyway, but okay. Better, late than ever. Hybrid hybrid would be I think a healthy balance between the two worlds.

Lech: [00:38:34] Yeah definitely. I think so. I think so too. It will be interesting to see how things develop and I'm just hoping, I'm just honestly hoping that some organizations don't just go back to the way things were. Because undoing all the progress because there's been a lot of progress made and a lot of fans, other elements of how we run our organizations, how we treat people in them.

And I just, I just, it would be a travesty if we did go back just like, yep, it's done. Let's go back. But that's, that's the interesting thing. I've actually seen people Perdon, so many stories of employees going quitting their jobs, quitting their jobs. Because the, the organization set up, you were going back to the office.

We just know that sets hours and next XYZ, Adam, this older and people are going, no, it doesn't fit with me anymore. Sorry. That's not what I'm looking for. I'd love to work for you. But if, if that's the case, if we can work out an agreement of some sorts here, then I'm, I'm just gonna, I don't have a job to go to, but I'm just gonna go and I'm going.

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:39:33] Well done.

Yes. And that's, that's not one or two people, right? This is an absolute tendency everywhere. I literally had this conversation this morning with, with our next director of mine that I used to work with.

And she was asking. Okay. It seems like there are specific countries, particularly in Eastern Europe that is incredibly difficult to, you know, hire them because the market is small. It's a lot of competition, et cetera. So do you think if we introduce a fully remote policy that would help? And I said yes, because Bulgarian employers don't want that.

They don't like it. They don't feel comfortable with it. The minute you say, Hey, We don't care where you're based within the country. You can be in, in a village in the mountain, or you can be on the beach sipping Cape Urania. We don't care. As long as you are committed to this job this, this company, or if you go, this is absolutely pleasure to, to hear for a lot of engineers, sales people, marketeers, et cetera.

So this should be the way and because people are starting to demand that. Finally we see transition to, Oh, maybe I should be more flexible. Right. So going back to my, my last quote long live, the flexibility that this will be the companies that will survive, thrive, and they'll get to the best people. That's it

Lech: [00:40:56] Definitely, definitely will. You know I love these types of conversations when, where we kind of talk about these things, that only thing.

They are no longer being the Jew no longer idealistic thinking because things like that are happening. So that's the, can't be idealistic if it's happening in reality. We're just talking about a different future where we want more of this. We say that we're grateful for what's going on. We're grateful for what's happening and all the improvement is happening, but basically we politely are asking for more, but when I have these conversations, I often catch myself thinking.

Am I crazy. Am I unhinged thinking this, having this attitude of wanting things to be this way, because I know that we can do better. And I genuinely doubt myself a lot at a time just going, you know what? No Lech nuts. You're nuts. It's just, you're, you're just hitting your head against the brick wall. And sometimes it's tough and my head hurts, but you know what?

I'm going to keep banging on that, on that wall, I'm going to keep banging on that wall as long as you can. I don't know. How did you feel about that? Do you have that impression every now and again?

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:41:57] Always. And I think this is, this is so important. I am exactly the same. And obviously people stick to people who are similar to them in terms of mindset and ideology. But I am always on the opinion. You should never be okay with, okay.

If, if, if you create a comfort zone, great, perfect. Well done. But. What are you learning? How are you pushing yourself to explore new stuff? I've always believed in taking chances and risking it, and you can see that looking at my profile, the countries I lived in, the type of companies, very different one from another.

I honestly believe that if we all continue to push for a better, better, better, We, we will be better. Right. But if, if we're happy with what we have and that's it, we don't want anything more than that. At some point, I think there will be a sense of unfulfillment. A sense of I'm missing out and I'm not going to quote YOLO.

Okay. I don't believe that you need to leave as if it's your last day, because let's be honest. I mean, that doesn't sound like a thing that I will proclaim everywhere, but I think you should live in a, in a way where, okay. What's next? What more can I do? How can I improve myself? How can I help someone else to improve themselves?

So it's, it's, it's a big, is the bigger picture. Honestly, it's not just for me or just for you. It's how we can together go towards better things. So that's why, when I talk to people, nothing is radical. Everything is gray, nothing is black and white only. We need to figure out what is A good common ground.

And I'm not about democracy. I'm not about creating an environment where everyone has their saying I'm about environment where everyone wants to be a better version.

Lech: [00:43:47] The only thing I would add to that is yes, push yourself to, to be better, continue to grow, because if you, if you're not growing, you're going backwards.

We, we all know that there are times in life and in, in work or private life is where, where you are is okay. Providing you kind of just look around like, you know, I'm happy here, everything's working out. I can pause I'm content. I need a bit of a break that balance that we talked about. So I think it's important to push yourself and continue striving for more kind of pushing that yardstick, but also recognizing when, when those times to have a, have a bit of a breather and not to just because then what we, what I often see people do is they, they, they achieve what they've been working for for the past six months.

And you know, it it's done, they passes and they go onto the next thing. They actually haven't stopped to enjoy what they've achieved and that's, that's missing a trick. It's like climbing a mountain for days at a stretch, going up Mount Everest for, you know, weeks and months to be, do reach the top.

Literally go into the top, top in it and going down, not even stopping to breathe and going. Shit, I'm on top of the world, literally. And I think that's, that's something that's missing that just, just appreciating what you've got, what you've achieved and what you've been working on because we all work on so many exciting projects.

We all work on so many projects that we just need to do. That's just part of life, you know, it's not, it's nice to have, it would be aligned to think that we can only work on the things that we enjoy. That's that's that's, that's part of it working on the shitty ones, things that needs to be done, the groundwork has to be done.

Nothing does nothing about when you, when you're truly working on something that you're excited about and you're devoting so much time to it. We worked the week after week after week. Just stop at the end and just Marvel at what you've achieved, or if you failed. Just stop and tell yourself that it's fine to screw up every now and again, that thing doesn't work out and just think of what, what you can learn from that.

And then stop and think, okay, I'm going to take a breath. I need a bit of a break and I'll come back to it. I'll pick it up where I left off

Radina Nedyalkova: [00:45:52] that said you can't constantly rum. There is no creature in the world that can constantly run. You have to slow down, stop recover. Look at the environment around you.

See if there are any threats. If there is opportunity to just relax and chill, as you said, take a breather. And then you move on, right? So that's, that's the marathon journey. Life is never about running constantly. Gosh, unless you're a criminal, I don't know. But in general there is no sustainability of your energy of your self.

If you continuously run without stopping it's, your, your, your organs will fail to say the least. And then we know that the brain is, is that magnificent organ that hasn't been explored properly, but if we talk about becoming better, as you said, and, and really developing this neuroplasticity you really can go to a level where you don't understand why you need the breaks, how to have successful breaks, how not to dwell so much in the past, or constantly projecting the future, how to be here and now as well, which doesn't happen all the time.

It doesn't happen everywhere to everyone, but I mean, At least you have to give it a go and you all that to yourself and every human being should, should do that. I do a lot of generalizations, but I firmly believe that we do have the capacity to figure things out, whether on our own or as you and I are doing very successfully with the help of, of professional.

But at least you need to figure out how to do it.

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