Joël recaps his time at RubyConf! He shares insights from his talk about different aspects of time in software development, emphasizing the interaction with the audience and the importance of post-talk discussions. Stephanie talks about wrapping up a long-term client project, the benefits of change and variety in consulting, and maintaining a balance between project engagement and avoiding burnout.
They also discuss strategies for maintaining work-life balance, such as physical separation and device management, particularly in a remote work environment.
STEPHANIE: Hello and welcome to another episode of The Bike Shed, a weekly podcast from your friends at thoughtbot about developing great software. I'm Stephanie Minn.
JOËL: And I'm Joël Quenneville. And together, we're here to share a bit of what we've learned along the way.
STEPHANIE: So, Joël, what's new in your world?
JOËL: Well, as of this recording, I have just gotten back from spending the week in San Diego for RubyConf.
STEPHANIE: Yay, so fun.
JOËL: It's always so much fun to connect with the community over there, talk to other people from different companies who work in Ruby, to be inspired by the talks. This year, I was speaking, so I gave a talk on time and how it's not a single thing but multiple different quantities. In particular, I distinguish between a moment in time like a point, a duration and amount of time, and then a time of day, which is time unconnected to a particular day, and how those all connect together in the software that we write.
STEPHANIE: Awesome. How did it go? How was it received?
JOËL: It was very well received. I got a lot of people come up to me afterwards and make a variety of time puns, which those are so easy to make. I had to hold myself back not to put too many in the talk itself. I think I kept it pretty clean. There were definitely a couple of time puns in the description of the talk, though.
STEPHANIE: Yeah, absolutely. You have to keep some in there. But I hear you that you don't want it to become too punny [laughs]. What I really love about conferences, and we've talked a little bit about this before, is the, you know, like, engagement and being able to connect with people. And you give a talk, but then that ends up leading to a lot of, like, discussions about it and related topics afterwards in the hallway or sitting together over a meal.
JOËL: I like to, in my talks, give little kind of hooks for people who want to have those conversations in the hallway. You know, sometimes it's intimidating to just go up to a speaker and be like, oh, I want to, like, dig into their talk a little bit. But I don't have anything to say other than just, like, "I liked your talk." So, if there's any sort of side trails I had to cut for the talk, I might give a shout-out to it and say, "Hey, if you want to learn more about this aspect, come talk to me afterwards."
So, one thing that I put in this particular talk was like, "Hey, we're looking at these different graphical ways to think about time. These are similar to but not the same as thinking of time as a one-dimensional vector and applying vector math to it, which is a whole other side topic. If you want to nerd out about that, come find me in the hallway afterwards, and I'd love to go deeper on it." And yeah, some people did.
STEPHANIE: That's really smart. I like that a lot. You're inviting more conversation about it, which I know, like, you also really enjoy just, like, taking it further or, like, caring about other people's experiences or their thoughts about vector math [laughs].
JOËL: I think it serves two purposes, right? It allows people to connect with me as a speaker. And it also allows me to feel better about pruning certain parts of my talk and saying, look, this didn't make sense to keep in the talk, but it's cool material. I'd love to have a continuing conversation about this. So, here's a path we could have taken. I'm choosing not to, as a speaker, but if you want to take that branch with me, let's have that afterwards in the hallway.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. Or even as, like, new content for yourself or for someone else to take with them if they want to explore that further because, you know, there's always something more to explore [chuckles].
JOËL: I've absolutely done that with past talks. I've taken a thing I had to prune and turned it into a blog post. A recent example of that was when I gave a talk at RailsConf Portland, which I guess is not so recent. I was talking about ways to deal with a test suite that's making too many database requests. And talking about how sometimes misusing let in your RSpec tests can lead to more database requests than you expect.
And I had a whole section about how to better understand what database requests will actually be made by a series of let expressions and dealing with the eager versus lazy and all of that. I had to cut it. But I was then able to make a blog post about it and then talk about this really cool technique involving dependency graphs. And that was really fun. So, that was a thing where I was able to say, look, here's some content that didn't make it into the talk because I needed to focus on other things. But as its own little, like, side piece of content, it absolutely works, and here's a blog post.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. And then I think it turned into a Bike Shed episode, too [laughs].
JOËL: I think it did, yes. I think, in many ways, creativity begets creativity. It's hard to get started writing or producing content or whatever, but once you do, every idea you have kind of spawns new ideas. And then, pretty soon, you have a backlog that you can't go through.
STEPHANIE: That's awesome. Any other highlights from the conference you want to shout out?
JOËL: I'd love to give a shout-out to a couple of talks that I went to, Aji Slater's talk on the Enigma machine as a German code machine from World War II and how we can sort of implement our own in Ruby and an exploration of object-oriented programming was fantastic. Aji is just a masterful storyteller. So, that was really great.
And then Alan Ridlehoover's talk on dealing with flaky tests that one, I think, was particularly useful because I think it's one of the talks that is going to be immediately relevant on Monday morning for, like, every developer that was in that room and is going back to their regular day job. And they can immediately use all of those principles that Alan talked about to deal with the flaky tests in their test suite.
And there's, in particular, at the end of his presentation, Alan has this summary slide. He kind of broke down flakiness across three different categories and then talked about different strategies for identifying and then fixing tests that were flaky because of those reasons.
And he has this table where he sort of summarizes basically the entire talk. And I feel like that's the kind of thing that I'm going to save as a cheat sheet. And that can be, like, I'm going to link to this and share it all over because it's really useful. Alan has already put his slides up online. It's all linked to that particular slide in the show notes because I think that all of you would benefit from seeing that.
The talks themselves are recorded, but they're not going to be out for a couple of weeks. I'm sure when they do, we're going to go through and watch some and probably comment on some of the talks as well.
So, Stephanie, what is new in your world?
STEPHANIE: Yeah. So, I'm celebrating wrapping up a client project after a nine-month engagement.
JOËL: Whoa, that's a pretty long project.
STEPHANIE: Yeah, that's definitely on the longer side for thoughtbot. And I'm, I don't know, just, like, feeling really excited for a change, feeling really, you know, proud of kind of, like, all of the work that we had done. You know, we had been working with this client for a long time and had been, you know, continuing to deliver value to them to want to keep working with us for that long. But I'm, yeah, just looking forward to a refresh.
And I think that's one of my favorite things about consulting is that, you know, you can inject something new into your work life at a kind of regular cadence. And, at least for me, that's really important in reducing or, like, preventing the burnout. So, this time around, I kind of started to notice, and other people, too, like my manager, that I was maybe losing a bit of steam on this client project because I had been working on it for so long.
And part of, you know, what success at thoughtbot means is that, like, we as employees are also feeling fulfilled, right? And, you know, what are the different ways that we can try to make sure that that remains the case? And kind of rotating folks on different projects and kind of making sure that things do feel fresh and exciting is really important.
And so, I feel very grateful that other people were able to point that out for me, too, when I wasn't even fully realizing it. You know, I had people checking in on me and being like, "Hey, like, you've been on this for a while now. Kind of what I've been hearing is that, like, maybe you do need something new." I'm just excited to get that change.
JOËL: How do you find the balance between sort of feeling fulfilled and maybe, you know, finding that point where maybe you're feeling you're running out of steam–versus, you know, some projects are really complex, take a while to ramp up; you want to feel productive; you want to feel like you have contributed in a significant way to a project? How do you navigate that balance?
STEPHANIE: Yeah. So, the flip side is, like, I also don't think I would enjoy having to be changing projects all the time like every couple of months. That maybe is a little too much for me because I do like to...on our team, Boost, we embed on our team. We get to know our teammates. We are, like, building relationships with them, and supporting them, and teaching them. And all of that is really also fulfilling for me, but you can't really do that as much if you're on more shorter-term engagements.
And then all of that, like, becomes worthwhile once you're kind of in that, like, maybe four or five six month period where you're like, you've finally gotten your groove. And you're like, I'm contributing. I know how this team works. I can start to see patterns or, like, maybe opportunities or gaps. And that is all really cool, and I think also another part of what I really like about being on Boost.
But yeah, I think what I...that losing steam feeling, I started to identify, like, I didn't have as much energy or excitement to push forward change. When you kind of get a little bit too comfortable or start to get that feeling of, well, these things are the way they are [laughs], --
JOËL: Right. Right.
STEPHANIE: I've now identified that that is kind of, like, a signal, right?
JOËL: Maybe time for a new project.
STEPHANIE: Right. Like starting to feel a little bit less motivated or, like, less excited to push myself and push the team a little bit in areas that it needs to be pushed. And so, that might be a good time for someone else at thoughtbot to, like, rotate in or maybe kind of close the chapter on what we've been able to do for a client.
JOËL: It's hard to be at 100% all the time and sort of always have that motivation to push things to the max, and yeah, variety definitely helps with that. How do you feel about finding signals that maybe you need a break, maybe not from the project but just in general? The idea of taking PTO or having kind of a rest day.
STEPHANIE: Oh yeah. I, this year, have tried out taking time off but not going anywhere just, like, being at home but being on vacation. And that was really great because then it was kind of, like, less about, like, oh, I want to take this trip in this time of year to this place and more like, oh, I need some rest or, like, I just need a little break. And that can be at home, right? Maybe during the day, I'm able to do stuff that I keep putting off or trying out new things that I just can't seem to find the time to do [chuckles] during my normal work schedule. So, that has been fun.
JOËL: I think, yeah, sometimes, for me, I will sort of hit that moment where I feel like I don't have the ability to give 100%. And sometimes that can be a signal to be like, hey, have you taken any time off recently? Maybe you should schedule something. Because being able to refresh, even short-term, can sort of give an extra boost of energy in a way where...maybe it's not time for a rotation yet, but just taking a little bit of a break in there can sort of, I guess, extend the time where I feel like I'm contributing at the level that I want to be.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. And I actually want to point out that a lot of that can also be, like, investing in your life outside of work, too, so that you can come to work with a different approach. I've mentioned the month that I spent in the Hudson Valley in New York and, like, when I was there, I felt, like, so different. I was, you know, just, like, so much more excited about all the, like, novel things that I was experiencing that I could show up to work and be like, oh yeah, like, I'm feeling good today. So, I have all this, you know, energy to bring to the tasks that I have at work.
And yeah, so even though it wasn't necessarily time off, it was investing in other things in my life that then brought that refresh at work, even though nothing at work really changed [laughs].
JOËL: I think there's something to be said for the sort of energy boost you get from novelty and change, and some of that you get it from maybe rotating to a different project. But like you were saying, you can change your environment, and that can happen as well. And, you know, sometimes it's going halfway across the country to live in a place for a month.
I sometimes do that in a smaller way by saying, oh, I'm going to work this morning from a coffee shop or something like that. And just say, look, by changing the environment, I can maybe get some focus or some energy that I wouldn't have if I were just doing same old, same old.
STEPHANIE: Yeah, that's a good point.
So, one particularly surprising refresh that I experienced in offboarding from my client work is coming back to my thoughtbot, like, internal company laptop, which had been sitting gathering dust [laughs] a little bit because I had a client-issued laptop that I was working in most of the time. And yeah, I didn't realize how different it would feel.
I had, you know, gotten everything set up on my, you know, my thoughtbot computer just the way that I liked it, stuff that I'd never kind of bothered to set up on my other client-issued laptop. And then I came back to it, and then it ended up being a little bit surprising. I was like, oh, the icons are smaller on this [laughs] computer than the other computer.
But it definitely did feel like returning to home, I think, instead of, like, being a guest in someone else's house that you haven't quite, like, put all your clothes in the closet or in the drawers. You're still maybe, like, living out of a suitcase a little bit [laughs]. So yeah, I was kind of very excited to be in my own space on my computer again.
JOËL: I love the metaphor of coming home, and yeah, being in your own space, sleeping in your own bed. There's definitely some of that that I feel, I think, when I come back to my thoughtbot laptop as well.
Do you feel like you get a different sense of connection with the rest of our thoughtbot colleagues when you're working on the thoughtbot-issued laptop versus a client-issued one?
STEPHANIE: Yeah. Even though on my client-issued computer I had the thoughtbot Slack, like, open on there so I could be checking in, I wasn't necessarily in, like, other thoughtbot digital spaces as much, right? So, our, like, project management tools and our, like, internal company web app, those were things that I was on less of naturally because, like, the majority of my work was client work, and I was all in their digital spaces.
But coming back and checking in on, like, all the GitHub discussions that have been happening while I haven't had enough time to catch up on them, just realizing that things were happening [laughs] even when I was doing something else, that is both cool and also like, oh wow, like, kind of sad that I [chuckles] missed out on some of this as it was going on.
JOËL: That's pretty similar to my experience. For me, it almost feels a little bit like the difference between back when we used to be in person because thoughtbot is now fully remote. I would go, usually, depending on the client, maybe a couple of days a week working from their offices if they had an office. Versus some clients, they would come to our office, and we would work all week out of the thoughtbot offices, particularly if it was like a startup founder or something, and they might not already have office space.
And that difference and feeling the connection that I would have from the rest of the thoughtbot team if I were, let's say, four days a week out of a client office versus two or four days a week out of the thoughtbot office feels kind of similar to what it's like working on a client-issued laptop versus on a thoughtbot-issued one.
STEPHANIE: Another thing that I guess I forgot about or, like, wasn't expecting to do was all the cleanup, just the updating of things on my laptop as I kind of had it been sitting. And it reminded me to, I guess, extend that, like, coming home metaphor a little bit more. In the game Animal Crossing, if you haven't played the game in a while because it tracks, like, real-time, so it knows if you haven't, you know, played the game in a few months, when you wake up in your home, there's a bunch of cockroaches running around [laughs], and you have to go and chase and, like, squash them to clean it up.
JOËL: Oh no.
STEPHANIE: And it kind of felt like that opening my computer. I was like, oh, like, my, like, you know, OS is out of date. My browsers are out of date. I decided to get an internal company project running in my local development again, and I had to update so many things, you know, like, install the new Ruby version that the app had, you know, been upgraded to and upgrade, like, OpenSSL and all of that stuff on my machine to, yeah, get the app running again.
And like I mentioned earlier, just the idea of like, oh yeah, this has evolved and changed, like, without me [laughs] was just, you know, interesting to see. And catching myself up to speed on that was not trivial work. So yeah, like, all that maintenance stuff still got to do it. It's, like, the digital cleanup, right?
JOËL: Exactly. So, you mentioned that on the client machine, you still had the thoughtbot Slack. So, you were able to keep up at least some messages there on one device. I'm curious about the experience, maybe going the other way. How much does thoughtbot stuff bleed into your personal devices, if at all?
STEPHANIE: Barely. I am very strict about that, I think. I used to have Slack on my phone, I don't know, just, like, in an earlier time in my career. But now I have it a rule to keep it off. I think the only thing that I have is my calendar, so no email either. Like, that is something that I, like, don't like to check on my personal time. Yeah, so it really just is calendar just in case I'm, like, out in the morning and need to be, like, oh, when is my first meeting?
But [laughs] I will say that the one kind of silly thing is that I also refuse to sign into my Google account for work. So, I just have the calendar, like, added to my personal calendar but all the events are private. So, I can't actually see what the events are [laughs]. I just know that I have something going on at, like, 10:00 a.m. So, I got to make sure I'm back home by then [laughs], which is not so ideal. But at the risk of being signed in and having other things bleed into my personal devices, I'm just living with that for now [laughs].
JOËL: What I'm hearing is that I could put some mystery events on your calendar, and you would have a fun surprise in the morning because you wouldn't know what it is.
STEPHANIE: Yeah, that is true [laughs]. If you put, like, a meeting at, like, 8:00 a.m., [laughs] then I'm like, oh no, what's this? And then I arrive, and it's just, like [laughs], a fun prank meeting.
So, you know, you were talking about how you were at the conference this week. And I'm wondering, how connected were you to work life?
JOËL: Uh, not very. I tried to be very present in the moment at the conference. So, I'm, you know, connected to all the other thoughtboters who were there and connecting with the attendees. I do have Slack on my phone, so if I do need to check it for something. There was a little bit of communication that was going on for different things regarding the conference, so I did check in for that. But otherwise, I tried to really stay focused on the in-person things that are happening.
I'm not doing any client work during those days that I'm at RubyConf, and so I don't need to deal with anything there. I had my thoughtbot laptop with me because that's what I used to give my presentation. But once the presentation was done, I closed that laptop and didn't open it again, and, honestly, that felt kind of good.
STEPHANIE: Yeah, that is really nice. I'm the same way, where I try to be pretty connected at conferences, and, like, I will actually redownload Slack sometimes just for, like, coordinating purposes with other folks who are there. But I think I make it pretty clear that I'm, like, away. You know, like, I'm not actually...like, even though I'm on work time, I'm not doing any other work besides just being present there.
JOËL: So, you mentioned the idea of work time. Do you have, like, a pretty strict boundary between personal time and work time and, like, try not to allow either to bleed into each other?
STEPHANIE: Yeah. I can't remember if I've mentioned this on the show. I think I have, but I'm going to again because one of my favorite things that I picked up from The Bike Shed back when Chris Toomey and Steph Viccari were hosting the show is Chris had, like, a little ritual that he would do every day to signal that he was done with work. He would close his laptop and say, "Schedule shutdown complete," I think.
And I've started adopting it because then it helps me be like, I'm not going to reopen my laptop after this because I have said the words. And even if I think of something that I maybe need to add to my to-do list, I will, instead of opening my computer and adding to my, like, whatever digital to-do list, I will, like, write it down on a piece of paper instead for the sake of, you know, not risking getting sucked back into, you know, whatever might be going on after the time that I've, like, decided that I need to be done.
JOËL: So, you have a very strict divisioning between work time and personal time.
STEPHANIE: Yeah, I would say so. I think it's important for me because even when I take time off, you know, sometimes folks might work a half day or something, right? I really struggle with having even a half day feel like, once I'm done with work, having that feel like okay, like, now I'm back in my personal time. I'd much prefer not working the entire day at all because that is kind of the only way that I can feel like I've totally reclaimed that time.
Otherwise, it's like, once I start thinking about work stuff, it's like I need a mental boundary, right? Because if I'm thinking about a work problem, or, like, an interaction or, like, just anything, it's frustrating because it doesn't feel like time in my own brain [laughs] is my own.
What do work and personal time boundaries look like for you?
JOËL: I think it's evolved over time. Device usage is definitely a little bit more blurry for me. One thing that I have started doing since we've gone fully remote as the pandemic has been winding down and, you know, you can do things, but we're still working from home, is that more days than not, I work from home during the day, and then I leave my home during the evening. I do a variety of social activities. And because I like to be sort of present in the moment, that means that by being physically gone, I have totally disconnected because I'm not checking emails or anything like that.
Even though I do have thoughtbot email on my phone, Gmail allows me to like log into my personal account and my thoughtbot account. I have to, like, switch between the two accounts, and so, that's, like, more work than I would want. I don't have any notifications come in for the thoughtbot account. So, unless I'm, like, really wanting to see if a particular email I'm waiting for has come in, I don't even look at it, ever. It's mostly just there in case I need to see something.
And then, by being focused in the moment doing social things with other people, I don't find too much of a temptation to, like, let work life bleed into personal life. So, there's a bit of a physical disconnect that ends up happening by moving out of the space I work in into leaving my home.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. And I'm sure it's different for everyone. As you were saying that, I was reminded of a funny meme that I saw a long time ago. I don't think I could find it if I tried to search for it. But basically, it's this guy who is, you know, sitting on one side of the couch, clearly working. And he's kind of hunched over and, like, typing and looking very serious.
And then he, like, closes his laptop, moves over, like, just slides to the other side of the couch, opens his laptop. And then you see him, like, lay back, like, legs up on the coffee table. And it's, like, work computer, personal computer, but it's the same computer [laughs]. It's just the, like, how you've decided like, oh, it's time for, you know, legs up, Netflix watching [laughs].
JOËL: Yeah. Yeah. I'm curious: do you use your thoughtbot computer for any personal things? Or is it just you shut that down; you do the closing ritual, and then you do things on a separate device?
STEPHANIE: Yeah, I do things on a separate device. I think the only thing there might be some overlap for are, like, career-related extracurriculars or just, like, development stuff that I'm interested in doing, like, separate from what I am paid to do. But that, you know, kind of overlaps a little bit because of, like, the tools and the stuff I have installed on my computer. And, you know, with our investment time, too, that ends up having a bit of a crossover.
JOËL: I think I'm similar in that I'll tend to do development things on my thoughtbot machine, even though they're not necessarily thoughtbot-related, although they could be things that might slot into something like investment time.
STEPHANIE: Yeah, yeah. And it's because you have all your stuff set up for it. Like, you're not [laughs] trying to install the latest Ruby version on two different machines, probably [laughs].
JOËL: Yeah. Also, my personal device is a Windows machine. And I've not wanted to bother learning how to set that up or use the Windows Subsystem for Linux or any of those tools, which, you know, may be good professional learning activities. But that's not where I've decided to invest my time.
STEPHANIE: That makes sense. I had an interesting conversation with someone else today, actually, about devices because I had mentioned that, you know, sometimes I still need to incorporate my personal devices into work stuff, especially, like, two-factor authentication. And specifically on my last client project...I have a very old iPhone [laughs]. I need to start out by saying it's an iPhone 8 that I've had for, like, six or seven years. And so, it's old.
Like, one time I went to the Apple store, and I was like, "Oh, I'm looking for a screen protector for this." And they're like, "Oh, it's an iPhone 8. Yikes." [laughs] This was, you know, like, not too long ago [laughs]. And the multi-factor authentication policy for my client was that, you know, we had to use this specific app. And it also had, like, security checks. Like, there's a security policy that it needed to be updated to the latest iOS. So, even if I personally didn't want to update my iOS [laughs], I felt compelled to because, otherwise, I would be locked out of the things that I needed to do at work [laughs].
JOËL: Yeah, that can be a challenge sometimes when you're adding work things to personal devices, maybe not because it's convenient and you want to, but because you don't have a choice for things like two-factor auth.
STEPHANIE: Yeah, yeah. And then the person I was talking to actually suggested something I hadn't even thought about, which is like, "Oh, you know, if you really can't make it work, then, like, consider having that company issue another device for you to do the things that they're, like, requiring of you." And I hadn't even thought of that, so... And I'm not quite at the point where I'm like, everything has to be, like, completely separate [laughs], including two-factor auth. But, I don't know, something to consider, like, maybe that might be a place I get to if I'm feeling like I really want to keep those boundaries strict.
JOËL: And I think it's interesting because, you know, when you think of the kind of work that we do, it's like, oh, we work with computers, but there are so many subfields within it. And device management and, just maybe, corporate IT, in general, is a whole subfield that is separate and almost a little bit alien.
Two, I feel like me, as a software developer, I'm just aware of a little bit...like, I've read a couple of articles around...and this was, you know, years ago when the trend was starting called Bring Your Own Device. So, people who want to say, "Hey, I want to use my phone. I want to have my work email on my phone." But then does that mean that potentially you're leaking company memos and things? So, how do you secure that kind of thing? And everything that IT had to think through in order to allow that, the pros and cons.
So, I think we're just kind of, as users of that system, touching the surface of it. But there's a lot of thought and discussion that, as an industry, the kind of corporate IT folks have gone through to struggle with how to balance a lot of those things.
STEPHANIE: Yeah, yeah. I bet there's a lot of complexity or nuance there. I mean, we're just talking about, like, ways that we do or don't mix work and personal life. And for that kind of work, you know, that's, like, the job is to think really thoroughly about how people use their devices and what should and shouldn't be permissible.
The last thing that I wanted to kind of ask about in terms of device management or, like, work and personal intermixing is the idea of being on call and your device being a way for work to reach you and that being a requirement, right? I feel very lucky to obviously not really be in that position. As consultants, like, we're not usually so embedded into a team that we're then brought into, like, an on-call rotation, and I think that's good for me. Like, I don't think that that is something I'd be interested in doing anytime soon. Do you have any experience with that?
JOËL: I have not been on a project where I've had to be on call, and I think that's generally true for most of us at thoughtbot who are doing software development. I know those who are doing more kind of platformy SRE-type things are on call. And, in fact, we have specifically hired people in different regions around the world so that we can provide 24-hour coverage for that kind of thing.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. And I imagine kind of like what we're talking about with work device management looks even different for that kind of role, where maybe you do need a lot more access to things, like, wherever you might be.
JOËL: And maybe the answer there is you get issued a work-specific device and a work phone or something like that, or an old-school work pager.
JOËL: PagerDuty is not just a metaphoric thing. Back in the day, they used actual pagers.
STEPHANIE: Yeah, that would be very funny.
JOËL: So yeah, I can't speak to it from personal experience, but I could imagine that maybe some of the dynamics there might be a little bit different. And, you know, for some people, maybe it's fine to just have an app on your phone that pings you when something happens, and you have to be on call. And you're able to be present while waiting, like, in case you get pinged, but also let it go while you're on call. I can imagine that's, like, a really weird kind of, like, shadow, like, working, not working experience that I can't really speak to because I have not been in that position.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. As you were saying that, I also had the thought that, like, our ability to step away from work and our devices is also very much dependent on, like, a company culture and those types of factors, right? Where, you know, it is okay for me to not be able to look at that stuff and just come back to it Monday morning, and I am very grateful [laughs] for that. Because I recognize that, like, not everyone is in that position where there might be a lot more pressure or urgency to be on top of that. But right now, for this time in my life, like, that's kind of how I like to work.
JOËL: I think it kind of sits at the intersection of a few different things, right? There's sort of where you are personally. It might be a combination, like, personality and maybe, like, mental health, things like that, how you respond to how sharp or blurry those lines between work and personal life can be.
Like you said, it's also an element of company culture. If there's a company culture that's really pushing to get into your personal life, maybe you need firmer boundaries. And then, finally, what we spent most of this episode talking about: technical solutions, whether that's, like, physically separating everything such that there are two devices. And you close down your laptop, and you're done for the day. And whether or not you allow any apps on your personal phone to carry with you after you leave for the day.
So, I think at the intersection of those three is sort of how you're going to experience that, and every person is going to be a little bit different. Because those three...I guess I'm thinking of a Venn diagram. Those three circles are going to be different for everyone.
STEPHANIE: Yeah, that makes complete sense.
JOËL: On that note, shall we wrap up?
STEPHANIE: Let's wrap up. Show notes for this episode can be found at bikeshed.fm.
JOËL: This show has been produced and edited by Mandy Moore.
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JOËL: If you have any feedback for this or any of our other episodes, you can reach us @_bikeshed, or you can reach me @joelquen on Twitter.
STEPHANIE: Or reach both of us at firstname.lastname@example.org via email.
JOËL: Thanks so much for listening to The Bike Shed, and we'll see you next week.
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