Greetings from Garmen Hills, Bulgaria, and day one of the Summer ’22 Hackathon!
Getting to know our new home for the week, we discovered two bonus features: a chicken pen (with freshly laid eggs) and the village cats, who kindly showed us the best spots to sunbathe (when work allows, of course!).
Boyan asked me to take over the diary this week. Today, l took some time to catch up with the longest serving female member of the Product Team: Geri, our Scrum Mistress. Geri shared insights on how she establishes a work-life balance; why it’s important to be vocal about what you want; and how consistency pays off. Read on for the full interview!
Joined TIMIFY: October 2015
Starting Position: Front End Developer
Current Position: Scrum Mistress
Work Approach: Consistency pays off
Clare: Back in 2015, you left your job as an html developer, your family and friends, the hometown you grew up in (Asenovgrad, Bulgaria) and uprooted to Munich, to work for TIMIFY when it was still in its infancy as a newly established startup. It’s a move not many would make (we’re thrilled that you did, of course!). What was going through your mind at the time?
Geri: I was offered the position just 3 months after I got married; if I’m honest, l didn’t feel ready to move. Deep down l knew it was the right thing – for both Yanko and l (Yanko is Geri’s husband, Head of Front End at TIMIFY. They joined the company at the same time). l try to meet challenges, not hide from them. So yes, it was daunting but l knew it was right for me.
Clare: Describe what’s it like, working with your husband?
Geri: We’re a massive support to each other. Whenever something happens, good or bad, he’s the first person l want to share it with. Working together brings us even closer.
Clare:. For many, the idea of working together as a couple is a no-go. What makes it work for you?
Geri: Boundaries. At work, we focus on work. At home, we focus on each other, and our daughter. If you don’t know where your boundaries are, and if you don’t stick to them…well, that’s where problems creep in.
Clare: If you could change one thing that would improve your work/life balance, what would it be?
Geri: Honestly? Nothing. I feel really happy right now. I think that’s because l trust the team, and that trust makes me feel comfortable, satisfied, calm.
Clare: How does TIMIFY support you?
Geri: Lots of ways. Flexible hours so l can collect my daughter from nursery every day. I’m starting up German classes again, and taking time away from the office for that. We’re free to travel to the Plovdiv office and work there. I feel supported by Andy (CEO) and Boyan (CPO). They listen, they’re honest, and do whatever they can to find solutions.
Clare: We’re 20 hours into the Hackathon. First impressions?
Geri: It’s amazing. It’s unfolding in the best possible way. We’re this big team, and we organise ourselves in a really natural way, we all just sync. I love that we’re together after so much time apart. The location, the villas are incredible. But l know we could be anywhere and the spirit would be the same.
I enjoy the company of every single person here. It’s great working with them, and know l’m excited to spend personal time with them.
The company arranged it so that we could take our daughter with us, and for Yanko’s sister to be here, to look after her. That means we get to spend quality time with the team, and our daughter gets to see us at work. Everyone makes a fuss of her! She’s part of the experience too.
Clare: What’s your working style?
Geri: I have no problem being direct with the team. And it goes both ways: the team are direct with me. We don’t take things personally. I think that’s the reason we work so well together.
Clare: Work philosophy?
Geri: I don’t let things slip. Sometimes it takes years for things to come to fruition. But they don’t come at all if you’re not consistent.
Clare: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Geri: Just this: at my annual review back in January, I suggested to Andy and Boyan that we have a team offsite. I was thinking a couple of days with the whole team together under one roof, a change of scenery. Six months later – here we are. They listened… and likewise, l am working on the feedback they gave me, and my motivation levels are really high. There’s respect both ways.