Software Developers Journey Podcast

#237 Laila Bougria is learning, growing and having fun


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Laila Bougria 0:00
One of the experiences that many of us, at least, you know software developers can relate to is that we can sometimes be in an environment where we feel their ivory towers, it could be like a piece of the code, or it could be like framework code or like a section that is very important. Then there's this closed off team that's working on that. And the only thing we can do is put in a feature request. We're not even really allowed to look at the code or whatever rights are not allowed to be part of those decisions. I feel that I don't really appreciate those types of environments. I think it's perfectly okay to have separate teams handling separate things. But I think if the environment is open to contribution into learning, I would thrive in such an environment a lot more. And I think that's probably true for most of us, if not all of us.

Tim Bourguignon 0:44
Hello, and welcome to developer's journey, the podcast, bringing you the making of stories of successful software developers to help you on your upcoming journey. I'm your host team building you on this episode 237. I received Lila Turia Lila is a software engineer at particular software to make use of end service bus. She's a frequent public speaker, and recently became a Microsoft Azure MVP. She's passionate about software and always looking for patterns of ENCODE and in yarn. In a free time. Obviously, she loves to knit and crochet and spend time with the kids playing, whatever they brings. And that's always surprise. Lila, welcome to the veteran.

Laila Bougria 1:28
Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Tim Bourguignon 1:32
I like to spend the food that is cool. It's a thrill to have you on. But before we come to your story, I want to thank the terrific listeners who support the show every month, you are keeping the veterinary lights up. If you would like to join this fine crew, and help me spend more time on finding a nominal guests then editing all your tracks, please go to our website, Dev journey dot info, and click on the Support me on Patreon button. Even the smallest contributions are giant steps toward a sustainable dev journey. journey. Thank you. And now back to today's guest. As you know, the show exists to help the listeners understand what your story look like, and imagine how to shape their own future. So as usual on the show, let's go back to your beginnings. Where would you place the start of your dream?

Laila Bougria 2:25
Okay, so that's, that's an interesting one, I think I'd probably bring it back to maybe even a little bit before that. I guess just as a child in general, I'm a late comer, compared to my siblings. So the youngest of my simple siblings, is 14 years older than me. And there's six of us. So that was a pretty huge gap. And one of the things is that actually, the youngest of my siblings has always been like the biggest father figure apart from my dad, of course, in my own life, I guess it's because we spent the most overlapping time at home. So I guess it's because of that. And he was also just very, yeah, very, very much a part of my life and interested in to see me grow and how I evolve and being part of that. So I guess one of the things that was really part of his character is to always look for the best in me. And that also meant, like, pushing my boundaries, right. So basically trying me to get me to improve beyond what I thought was good. And if that makes sense. So to give you an example, whatever grades I would come home with, whether they were good or bad, didn't really matter. He would also he would always sort of say, like, okay, but you can do better. And that was sort of, I remember that as a kid like being extremely frustrating. Because, you know, it felt at times that whatever I did, like was not good enough, I struggled with that sort of feeling. And it took, obviously, you know, years and growing up myself to understand that what he was really trying to do is getting me to get into this habit of self improvements, or that's how I tend to look at it now. At least and yeah, I think that's, that's one of the that's, that's the origin story, I would say. And then from there came a sort of natural sort of interest in computers. Whereas we don't really have a computer at home. So at some point, my brother Mamoon he'll come back a few times throughout the story, I'm sure. And he gave me one of his I think he got like, sort of leftover from work or something like that. And he was like, here, play with it. This old like box, you know that the plastic is already this coloring. If you can, if you can still remember that and floppy disks and just you know We didn't have any Internet back then. But I was really interested to just sort of play around with I had no clue what I was doing there to read the manual. So I just kind of like, you know, went through it and saw what, what worked, what didn't and played around and, and given that interest at some point, my same brother sort of talked to the rest of my siblings and my parents and said, you know, we really need to chip in and get Leila like a decent computer because she's actually been using that thing that I just expected her to leave, gathering dust in the room. So they did they got me a comeback look really cool with like, the colored speaker boxes and everything. So it was it looked really like very, very out of space at the time

Tim Bourguignon 5:44
complexly around, actually,

Laila Bougria 5:47
I don't know, I don't know, the

Tim Bourguignon 5:49
milestone of my childhood as well. Compaq, and the Packard Bell were the

Laila Bougria 5:55
that was the first one actually Packard Bell. Okay, what the second one was a Compaq and actually chose it a little bit with him because my brother, highly intelligent person, not the best friend with computers. So, um, so yeah, they got me that computer and then everything sort of accelerated, but I wasn't like into programming, I just love to play around with whatever was already there. And, and then going through my education, I have decided at some point, like, I'm going to be a teacher. That's what I want to do. Like, it was clear, I had made my decision I was looking at, you know, higher education is to get into to sort of fulfill that. And then I remember at some point, we had, we had this course called, it was called, it was so extremely general, it was like, Microsoft Word, Excel. But I remember, like, a few lessons, I think, three to four weeks, not more than that. In which we had this, I guess sort of introduction to programming, it was it was basically a game that we had to play. So there was like a car, and you had to get it from point A to Z, without hitting any cones, like on the way. So you have to sort of program like which directions I've had to take so with, so it wouldn't hit any obstructions on the way. And I just had a lot of fun with that. And, and it did seem to sort of come natural to me. And my teacher caught it. And he was like, by law, maybe you want to consider software development. And that was like, consider what it's not something that I ever ever thought about. And I was like, very, very surprised by him saying that, but again, I came home to my brother. And he was like, oh my god, that is so cool. Like, you know why? If he sees that in you, then maybe there's something and maybe you should give it a try. And I was like, but I've gotta be a teacher. So it was like, you know, I had made my decision. And then someone walks in and say, Hey, do this some other thing. But I was still like, kinda intrigued. And I was very curious to sort of understand if this was something for me. And again, from the habit of self improvement, and getting out of my outside of my comfort zone. I was like, let's give it a shot. Let's see where that takes me and see if it's nothing for me, then maybe I lose a year, who cares, then I can still sort of adjust my path. And the rest is history. That's that's how I got into it. I guess in short,

Tim Bourguignon 8:24
that is so cool. So that was that was a switching your studies. So after the end of high school, right?

Laila Bougria 8:30
So it was during high school, but I had sort of made the mental decision of I'm going to be a teacher. But and I was like looking at you know, which which university that was going to attend to achieve that goal. But I didn't register anything yet. So this teacher was like, right on time.

Tim Bourguignon 8:49
Okay, so did you did you decide to to apply for for Tech University? I'm making air quotes, or do you? Did you dip your toes into programming before that? And then when did

Laila Bougria 8:59
you know I just jumped into the pool?

Tim Bourguignon 9:02
How did you decide which pool to jump in? If when you somebody said, Well, you should be into software development, your answer was what now? How do you make sense of this world you don't know and then decide where to go?

Laila Bougria 9:15
I think it's because it scared me enough.

Tim Bourguignon 9:19
So you just jump in. Yeah.

Laila Bougria 9:21
And it was intriguing and very scary. And, and usually that's still a habit that I have and it's intriguing and scary. Then it's drawing me in. And I was like, you know, what's the worst thing that could happen? So, you know, worst case, that's also something that I usually think to myself, what's the worst thing that could happen? Right? Worst case scenario, I do that for a year. I realize it's nothing for me and I just walk out and you know, change my studies and become a teacher instead.

Tim Bourguignon 9:55
Did you approach problems like this? What's the worst that could happen? Nowadays still

Laila Bougria 10:01
I think so yes, I think there's always like an internal risk analysis that's occurred. And it's also something that I, that I, that I tell my nieces and my nephews, because obviously, you know, my siblings who are so much older, had kids, and they are now, you know, or have been in the few last years in the sort of age range where they had to choose an education. And I'm like, you don't, you don't have to get it right on the first time. Like, you are young, you have, you know, this huge advantage. And, and I understand, and I still remember the feeling, or the sort of fear, but, but if I choose wrong, I'm going to lose a year, or I'm gonna lose two. And it's like, who cares? Like you have the rest of your life in front of you. And what I always try to tell them is, make sure you do something that you thoroughly enjoy, because it's gonna be 40 hours a week, the rest of your life, so you might as well enjoy it. Right,

Tim Bourguignon 10:54
those results for you? Is it in my experience, something you realize, only later on, but I could have or I wasn't forced to? And now you look back and say,

Laila Bougria 11:05
If, which is why it's so important for us to tell them? Absolutely. Because, yes, I think for me realizing it at that time was definitely unique. So I realized that and I tried to tell everyone around me like, you know, it doesn't matter. Like even if you get it wrong, even if you're two years into your career, you can still change. It's like there's no such thing as too late. And I've definitely felt differently about this throughout my career.

Tim Bourguignon 11:34
The the hearing and the standard like this.

Laila Bougria 12:26
While I usually try to draw from my own experiences, so to give you one example, as you introduced me now, I am starting to speak at conferences more and more, right. And this is something that also began sort of early on in my career, thanks to I've been very lucky throughout my entire career being surrounded by people saying the right things to me at the right time. So that's definitely the luck factor, right. But the other side of the spectrum is that I took those opportunities and thought to myself, Okay, let's try it and see what happens, right? So pretty early on in my career, there was one of my colleagues who ran a user group B three S's, who now run stack Rama, as well in Belgium, or together with others, of course, but he's, he's one of the main people behind it. And he told me, like, you know, I see a speaker in you. And he said, I have I have this voucher for a speaker training at Microsoft. And I was like, okay, that's really, really scares me. But okay, let's do it. There we go. So I went and did that. And that was really, that was really scary, because it was recorded, and then you had to evaluate yourself as well. Like, how many others and how many, and one of the things that I did was like, sort of fiddle around with my hands a lot, which is something that I've now replaced with this sort of, I can't show it, but I'm making gestures. And I tend to do that a lot. But yeah, it was. So I went through that. And then he invited me to the user group, and I did like a few for the user group at that time. But then, due to life circumstances, I stopped doing that it's not something that I continue to do. And then at some point, I felt like, this was not for me anymore. Like I missed that train. I missed the ride and it was too late. And it was it had become something too scary. Like, not healthy, scary, but like, Okay, stay away scared, if that makes sense. And, and one of the things that I convert to is like, I built my own ceiling, right? It's like, I can't do that I can't get there. But it was only me saying that to myself and nobody else. Right or you know, maybe maybe you find people along the way that will also confirm that are telling you that but it's it's mainly about how you think about yourself. So it's a ceiling that I built for myself. And thanks to again like pushes from people around me saying but come on. I mean, when I hear is fake, it's like, I can totally see you do this and you should give it a chance. And I'm happy to help and review and, and then I felt like okay, it's still extremely scary. But given that I've been given the sort of safety net of, I'm gonna have a review up front. If gave me that extra push in confidence to say, Okay, let's give it a try and see where this gets me.

Tim Bourguignon 15:25
I guess the scariness is, is obviously an aspect, but I would say to you like, like introversion and extraversion, that is it, is it draining you? Or is it bringing you something is, to me the most important point, if you go at it, and it's scary, and it's draining you Why Why inflict this on yourself? If it's crazy scary, but you come out of it a so hyped, and that you that you right away, send new proposal to the next conference, because you like like a, like a drug fix, then it's even though it might be very scary. Or you're growing out of it. And that's to me, really the the, the, the the the most important aspect that I try to work on with my mentors is how you feel after? And yes, obviously, you have to push them to do it once.

Laila Bougria 16:16
That's a very good point, because that's exactly what I say as well. Because in my own experience before a conference, I'm like, Why did I do this myself? Why, like, why, why I don't get it, like, Why did I ever submit? And I get extremely nervous, even sleepless nights, sleepless nights and, and why like, Why, especially if it's like new content and stuff like that. It's like, oh, gosh, like, why am I here? What did I ever What was I thinking? Oh, yeah. But then I delivered a session and you hear feedback from people. And usually that gives me such a high that I'm like, Okay, let's do this again.

Tim Bourguignon 16:55
I've been I've been running marathons a few years back, and there was always a saying, well, either you want to subscribe for the next marathon or do a book next month right after, or waited on us this high to to have the next one lined up, and then you cannot go back. And that's it. But if you wait for it, then the highest goes back and they say what what have I done? What did I do this?

Laila Bougria 17:19
Yeah, I think it's true for many things. And exercise is definitely one of them.

Tim Bourguignon 17:27
Let's go back a little bit of equity. So So you enrolled in this program, university program, I suppose? Or some kind of technical numbers? Yeah,

Laila Bougria 17:33
it was a higher education, I think in Beltrame way differentiate between what we call higher education and then universities is there's a small differentiation, in the sense that universities are usually more theoretically, if you will. And then the higher education is are more catered around practical learning

Tim Bourguignon 17:52
are the same same in France and in Germany, kind of as well. So it was me. So how did you? Did you decide on going more theoretical or more practical? And then how did that first year ago, you were still wondering if that's what you

Laila Bougria 18:05
well, okay, so when it comes to which type of education, I think I just had heard very, very good references, about got a little dog school where I finished my education when it comes to to, you know, technology, so I was like, okay, you know, go big or go home. That's what we do. And that's how I was also an ant were like, close by for me at that time, public transportation. So, you know, the SAR sort of aligned and I thought that was, you know, best stepped in Vega, Allah Altman. I think there were around 10 women, I guess, or sort of in that zone, I don't remember exactly like the exact amount 10 to 15. Not more than that, in a room of three people. So that was, that was interesting, right? And then obviously, you know, that group became smaller as people change their minds. And but yeah, that was definitely interesting. But it didn't really scare me off. I mean, I have four brothers. I was like, you know, but yeah, it definitely took some adjustment. It's something that scared my parents a lot like, Oh, my God, you know, you know, it's like, yeah, it's a, it's a men's world, like, Are you sure you want to dip your toes into that? And I was like, you know, that can be a factor for me not to write like, it's, it's about the content for me in. And I think that was naive at the time, but also glad, very glad that I had that, that I had that that focus about? No, it's about what I'm going to do. And in the end, it's obviously it still is, but I the reason I'm saying that was naive is because my parents saw struggles that at the time I wasn't even able to understand. So those were definitely there along the way, but also a lot of good things right? Or I wouldn't have been here.

Tim Bourguignon 19:54
Sometimes just naively go with things and just don't see the struggle and just push through it without realizing it. So To the naivety of useful the, I think there's a saying in there. So you could push through it, and it works.

Laila Bougria 20:09
And then I went through my education, but I think when it really clicked is when I did like an internship. And that was like my first project in C Sharp. And I still remember my mentor there. And I don't know, I just loved what I did. I started working there, after my internship after I finished, I graduated. And then, yeah, I sort of went from, you know, you, you start working in your professional career. And one of the things that stood out to me is that the sort of career path was made clear, not necessarily from my education, but rather from seeing what people were doing. And it seemed to be clear to me that, okay, junior engineer, mediocre, senior architect, maybe, and then definitely management, that was sort of the sort of picture I had in my head of, okay, this is what my career is now supposed to be. And as I went through those stages, I remember getting a lot of opportunities to start to step into the management side. And although I did tap into, you know, sort of pieces of that in the sense of being a team lead, or taking on certain management type tasks as part of my work, even if I was still a software engineer, or team leader, or whatever. But I was just like, the, the, I enjoy No, just development, like, if I would get, you know, the offer to just step away from that full time. And it was just a step that I could never, never take. It's like, why would I feel like I'm still learning, I feel like I'm still growing. And that, for me, has been the constant like, the sort of retrospectively and looking at myself and thinking, okay, am I still learning? Am I still having fun? Am I still moving forward? Then that's sort of become my sort of definition of success, if that makes sense.

Tim Bourguignon 22:07
learning, growing, having fun. Yeah, nice, nice and good that you managed to verbalize it early on, dipped your toe into it and come back to what is fun, is growing in hell helps you learn

Laila Bougria 22:23
that it's not that I didn't enjoy the other types of tasks, it's that I just enjoyed development enough not to let go of it. If that makes sense.

Tim Bourguignon 22:33
It does. It does. I, I was pushed out as well into management very early on, but when one of my busses and that drove me to quit the company, and and move back to something else, that similarly I really dip my toes into it and saying, there will be room for this later on. Yeah, but no.

Laila Bougria 22:52
But I think generally speaking, this whole idea of seeing this career path in front of you of like, these are the positions that I have to go through, doesn't really make sense to me nap. And it's been,

Tim Bourguignon 23:05
it's been killed more and more in the career frameworks that you see. But you really have two different tracks that all have their pluses and minuses. And where every level is the same height, there's no upper outs and manage, we can really have a successful and gratifying career that is valued both in terms of of growth and compensation on the pure tech level. And that wasn't necessarily a case a few decades back, I would say,

Laila Bougria 23:32
Yeah, I think we're a lot better at that. But at least from what I see in Belgium, and what I also hear from my, you know, my nieces and nephews that are studying and what is being told to them, I still think we're not entirely there yet. Oh, no, no. So it's definitely something that I think it's like, you know, break the glass ceiling. If you're that sort of definition of success. It's, I think it's also different for everyone. And you need to find your own definition of success. Indeed,

Tim Bourguignon 24:05
and you should. Is it something that you try and teach as well, to your your nephews and nieces and the juniors that you work with? Is it something that you push early on? Well, I

Laila Bougria 24:15
try to Yes, I hope it comes across that way. At least. But yes, I, I think I do. I think it's it's more about looking back to, I don't know, last six months last year, what have you learned, how have you progressed, how have you seen yourself grow? And that doesn't even necessarily mean technically, or it could be in any form, right? But rather just have that sort of moment of, of reflection to understand how far you've come? Because things don't always go the way that you want them to or the way that you expect them to. Definitely my career has had very weird bumps as well due to things happening in my personal life, for example. So if I go back to sort of 2013 We had like a few very, very hard things happening in, in my personal life and our personal life as a family. And we actually, in a very short period of time, I, we lost our first daughter, then I lost my mother. And very shortly after that, I also lost the brother, that was such a high influence throughout my thank you. So, yeah, that was that was really rough. And I mean, I'm not trying to make this a sad story or so. But it's like, what I'm trying to say is that life is a box of chocolates. And we never know, what we're gonna get, it's just in what we might get is sometimes very hard and very difficult to overcome. And there was definitely a time in my career where I was working to both mentally write as a way to keep going, but also financially, because at the time, I was even already self employed. So you know, at some point, I had to get into it again. And there was definitely a time where I wasn't thinking about how am I growing, I was just just trying to be. And, and I think this happens to a lot of people, it doesn't have to be lost, right? It could be health issues, it could be problems in your relationship, it could be like a whole plethora of different things, it could be mental health issues, it doesn't really matter what it is. But it's sometimes we can bring that focus. And that commitment that I've otherwise had. So I think forgiving yourself is for that is really important, because you're doing the best that you can at that time. But also, once you feel that you've recovered, and this is definitely something that took me a while is to, again, I'm coming back to those ceilings I built for myself, because that's one of the things that I did after I, I felt like I was recovered enough is that I thought, okay, you know, this is this is, as far as I can go, I sort of had gone into this mode of acceptance of, you know, I've had all the growth that I could have. And now, this is my limit. But the limit is something that I built for myself, it's not something that was actually there was just another hurdle that I had to overcome. And Reagan saying, No, that's not really true. I can still go wherever I want to, well, not entirely, we're not entirely anyway. Right. But it's just the idea of of saying, No, I can I can still improve and finding that joy in into that sort of self improvement path again. So that was definitely rough. And I think many people go through this, sometimes it's invisible. Sometimes it could, you know, since you know, to bring it back to the sort of backstory of your podcast, right? And how you were interviewing people, one of the things is that sometimes that could appear as a gap in a CV, right? Then it's sometimes hard to even because I've ever been in situations where people don't ask you about that. So why is there a gap there? And it's like, oh, no, you know, this is not the first thing I want to start talking about right now. Or you might still be in a place where you're still trying to deal with that or overcome that. And then having to explain that is really hard. So and it's not, it's not necessarily the first thing you want to tell about yourself, maybe in an interview.

Tim Bourguignon 28:32
But first of all, thank you for going that deep. That's that really, really brings many bells. And that's very helpful to understand what you wish went through. So thank you for that. The way I would react to you to this is threefold. The first thing is if somebody starts a discussion with pointing at the gap on your CV, I would run away. As a freelancer, maybe you cannot. And if you need the job, then that's obviously something different. But that brings so many alarm bells, especially if my answer is yeah, it was awesome. Oh, I had there was something that I did on purpose. Because it was it was life happened. And if that person is not happy with this, I would run away. That's, that's so much of a of a red flag.

Laila Bougria 29:11
Yeah, I think one of the approaches that I have towards that is while I'm also a very open type of person. So no mind speaking about these things, which is also very different. There are people that just don't feel comfortable talking about, you know, the sort of harder parts of their lives and that is fine. It's different for everyone, I find actually a lot of comfort in that and it makes it makes me help, you know, overcome all of these things. So it's different for everyone. And that's definitely something that we need to respect. So it's not that I necessarily think that it's horrifying if someone asks about it, but it could also be that you just took a year off to go, I don't know visit the world or whatever, right? It could be a fun thing as well and, and people don't always foresee what could be behind that. So I think I I've always, you know, taken the approach approach of being honest and upfront about it.

Tim Bourguignon 30:05
I understand the the stance I was taking is more the the manager stance, that's my daily life, and the way I approach those relationships and those interviews right now. And so in terms of interviews, I try to actually mimic what I'm doing in this podcast, with the people I interviewed and saying, Hey, tell me your story, we don't have 45 minutes to tell me your story in five minutes, and see what the person is sharing and how deep they are going and what they choose to say, and how they connect the dots and cetera. And that adds so much insights on how to think. And that's something I tried to do as well as a manager, then when I'm I have a direct report is really acknowledging that life is a sin curve, and there's some ups and some downs, and there's a time to push, and there's a time to let go. And they really knit this story that they have in their personal story in their professional life. And it's very, you have to be conscious of not pushing where it's where it's painful, right? Yes, there are some some places some dark places, and we have to bring our fuel cell for cell full self, I think, at some point. And so I always try to make a point of, of sharing also my past, sharing the dark moments sharing when when I'm not, when I'm not the best place in mind, when I'm started one on one, for instance, saying well, the money moved in really shitty. And that's why and really to tell person, hey, I'm not in my best self, and try to create the safe space for my counterpart to also open up if they feel like it. And so it's going back to your story as a manager interviewing. Yeah, maybe at some point? That's a question you should ask if there is a big gap, and you cannot explain it from what the person has been saying, yeah, maybe you can ask, but it has to be very tactful. And not the thing you lead with. That's, that's horrendous.

Laila Bougria 31:53
I think what you said is really powerful in the sense that sharing a little bit about ourselves, also up open, opens other people up to share about their own experience. And it's something I think it's one of the underlying reasons that I'm so open I part of it is just, it's who I am, but also part of it is seeing over the years, what type of effect that has on others. And it does create this sort of confidence tool for them to also share, especially if they're a little bit more closed off at the beginning. And usually, I take the approach of being a person that chairs by default, and obviously I can also close off when I feel that that's not received well, or so obviously, it's two sides. But I think in in the majority of cases, it's only been something that that has been positive on my end.

Tim Bourguignon 32:47
I think the long term effect on the positive, the short term is sometimes weird.

Laila Bougria 32:53
Yeah, it could also bring up like things that you want to read or know upfront, then later, right, because one thing that I always say is you don't have any control over the people that you meet, but you do have control over the people that you stay with. Absolutely. And that's true for can be true for personal, real relationship. But it's also true on many professional relationships as well. I think indefinitely. I am. I am, I understand that I have a deep rooted bias here in the sense that, at least in my career, I've had the opportunity to move whenever I felt like okay, this is toxic for me. So I understand that that may not be the case for everyone, especially as times are getting a lot more tricky right now. But I think if you have that ability, than if it's not giving you anything, then you have the power to step away and change that situation for yourself. And yes, it does require that stepping outside of your comfort zone, right.

Tim Bourguignon 33:55
Which is a whole problem in itself. Sometimes. Yes, but I agree, I agree that I'd like to, to, to bring in a point that you didn't really directly touch on. You started describing your story by saying, I'm going to be a teacher. And, and then suddenly life happened. It came in and that teacher went away. But I cannot believe that that's the case. Where's the teacher? And you nowadays, I guess

Laila Bougria 34:18
it can be found in mentoring other people and even speaking publicly, right? Because at the end of the day, we're sharing knowledge when we do although I think that's definitely a bi directional type of thing. Like every time I present a session, I feel like I also learned a lot just from the questions that people ask and everything so but yeah, I think it's, it's definitely still there. But yeah, definitely, I think it's it's, I'm trying to find a way to describe this. But in talking to other people, many people always say like, you're contagious. Like if you're sort of passionate or Excited by something you're contagious. And I think if anything that I if I have to look at my sort of teacher self, I feel that's like my main advantage that I'm able to do that, if that makes sense. It does. I don't even do it on purpose. It just happens

Tim Bourguignon 35:17
that your superpower that's cool, I want to ask him because I've seen over the years different kinds of teachers, they are the teachers, we are actually the I love a good word for that domain oriented teachers. So basically somebody, for instance, passionate about math, and really wants you to share this passion and see other people ignited by math, there's a different kind, which is more the person's oriented, the teachers really care deeply about the pupils and want to bring them forward, whatever that means. Maybe, maybe it's not math, maybe it's your domain, maybe it's not, which is more the mentoring type. There's also the contagious ones really just just so happy. But whatever they do, and they tried to ignite whichever direction cetera. And I was wondering which kind you are, or which kind you developed along the years, the years?

Laila Bougria 36:06
Well, as I said, the contagious type is definitely in me. But it's also something that I don't do consciously, it just kind of happens. But when I think about the sort of conscious type of teaching, then I think it's mostly about helping people find whatever makes them happy. I think it's so important. And I see so many people just sort of Wildling their way through life work career. And lots of people when they listen to me, it's like, wow, like, it really, it's, it's like, really part of who you are your work. And some people appreciate that. And some people say what the work is just like, you know, it's, it's just one part of your life. And I'm like, Yes, it is one part of my life. But like I said, it's at least 40 hours a week.

Tim Bourguignon 36:58
I remember when I when I took the sort of I took German citizenship a few years back, and you have an oral test at the end. And these are all tests is done with another student. So another person applying. And they gave us some roles to play. And I remember I had the role of the long lifelong learner, and the person who was also a restaurant owner and had the role of the person staying in there, and that tracks and just doing their work. And then after, after the fact that I'm closing, and I think thank God, we didn't flip the the scripts, because I would have would have been lost. I'm really in this lifelong learning and continuing and life and is completely intermingled with, with a professional life, I cannot separate them have to sometimes but I just can't. So that's, that's really something that resonates as well.

Laila Bougria 37:43
Well, I'm not sure if we, if we should, I think the learnings that we have in our career feed into our personal life and the other way around, right? It's it's a, again, it's a bi directional thing. And, and I think all of the experiences that we go through through our lives, make us who we are. So definitely your career is going to be part of, of how that changes you over the years. And yeah, I still think that, for me at least, and one of the things, one of the main things that I like to instill in people is to is the same thing that sort of frustrated me about my, my brother, when I was a kid, right is to try to self improve, even if that's hard, and try to look back in and see what you have learned and how that's made a difference in you how for the better or for the worse, right? And learn from that. And one of the things I or one of the phrases that I also always use, and I, I sort of used it for years to refer to myself. And I still do is calling myself a sponge. Like just be a sponge, like try to surround yourself with people that know so much more than you to the point that you're overwhelmed. And as long as that person is someone that is open and willing to share, it's fine, like ask all of the stupid questions and ask them multiple times. And just be a sponge try to take up as much as you can. And that for me has been if I look at all of the things I've learned it's been that's I think, what I what I draw the joy from is like, looking back and seeing Okay, wow, that was so much fun just going through the learning experience. And I think it's also why also, in my private life take on new stuff like pitting right? I didn't know how to knit like my mom never taught me. She could crochet like no one else. It's crazy. But she never taught me I remember her teaching me when I was 11. And I had zero patience. And I was like, This is impossible. I don't want to do this. And then way later in my life when she wasn't even there yet at the time, I was like okay, let's learn this and just YouTube videos and reading. And yeah, now I knit pretty well. I was Say, even if I say so myself it's an I've had different fate I call them phases, like handwriting or hand lettering or knitting crochet photography. It's like I can, I can go deep in in stuff, whether that's technical or not, I just enjoy the sort of learning experience, I guess most

Tim Bourguignon 40:21
of you have a big smile on your face while you're saying all this. So I guess it really comes from the arts. To to highlight the metaphor, use the sponge metaphor, I really like this because it not only speaks about yourself, but also with the surroundings. If you see yourself as a dry sponge, so you have full potential to to soak up everything in your vicinity, but you're in a dry area, it just doesn't work.

Laila Bougria 40:44
It doesn't

Tim Bourguignon 40:46
always have to look right and left, is there some some fluids to soak? Is there something I can I can I can feed on to? And if not, obviously, you have to do something about it?

Laila Bougria 40:56
Yeah, it's to bring it back to I think, you know, one of the experiences that many of us, at least, you know, software developers can relate to is, is that we can sometimes be in an environment where we feel their ivory towers, you know, it could be like a piece of the code, or it could be like framework code, or like a section that is very important that there's this closed off team that's working on that. And the only thing we can do is put in a feature request, right? We're not even really allowed to look at the code or whatever rights are not allowed to be part of those decisions. And I think I feel that I don't really appreciate those types of environments, I think it's perfectly okay to have separate teams handling separate things. But I think if the environment is open to contribution and to learning, I think for me, I would thrive in such an environment a lot more. And I think that's probably true for most of us, if not all of us. So that's definitely something I am on the lookout for, if I'm looking, you know, to work in a new environment is how do they sort of approach that and how collaborative is a space? One of the things that we for example, do it particular is that, you know, there's there's a group of people that, you know, proposes a decision. But that decision is then goes through what we call an RFC process or request for comments process, right? And then anyone who feels that they have something to add to that discussion can chime in. And I think that is extremely powerful, because you don't have silos.

Tim Bourguignon 42:28
Yeah, I wanted to wrap up, but no, I have a follow up question. Sorry. I really want to jump on that. I love it. But how do you prevent somebody from self censoring in this space? Saying, I know I know they ask for for for comments, but I don't feel legitimate to say something I don't feel legitimate. I don't feel allowed maybe to go in this direction and do something and maybe I feel in this dry place right now. And I feel I'm not growing and I feel I could be going there. But I don't feel welcome.

Laila Bougria 43:03
I really appreciate you asking that question. Because I struggle with that as well. Like I will look I will look at one of those RFCs and think I think this and in the beginning you know being part of this company it was like Okay, should I say something I'm probably wrong like you probably just don't understand this sufficiently to or try to you know, your talk yourself down right. But I think that comes to the organization culture because if you create a space that is safe enough, even if that were completely irrelevant comment that I'm making as long as someone reacts respectfully to that you will feel comfortable to keep on making them

Tim Bourguignon 43:46
so it's on each and every one of us to welcome every comment that is made like like a gift and rebound on it. Maybe say Okay, thank you for that. It's not it's wrong because of this but but here is how I interpreted is it the right way etcetera building is and maybe you don't have the full picture? And that's why x&y, etc. Okay,

Laila Bougria 44:07
or ask that question back. Right? Did I understand your question correctly? Am I missing part of your picture? It's a two way thing. So I think in, in not assuming that we know everything, we make it a lot more accessible to anyone. Did we do and I think that's very powerful and beautiful.

Tim Bourguignon 44:26
In the end, you've thrown many many advice or piece of advice along the lines. Is there one that you always come back to when you start with a new mentee for instance?

Laila Bougria 44:36
I think it would be the sponge, the sponge

Tim Bourguignon 44:38
okay. So be be the sponge, a sponge, act like a sponge and that is cool. I'm going to use this.

Laila Bougria 44:47
Yeah, I think I think I chose that one because not only is it good for yourself in the sort of learning but it also shows you a lot about your environment to see if you know if you're in the right place as well.

Tim Bourguignon 45:00
I'm gonna definitely read. Thank you so much. It's been fun. It's been a really insightful listening to your story.

Laila Bougria 45:07
Thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure.

Tim Bourguignon 45:09
So where can the listeners reach out to you and continue the discussion with you?

Laila Bougria 45:12
Well, I'm on Twitter.

Tim Bourguignon 45:15
Still the time of this recording Lumos just bought Twitter. So

Laila Bougria 45:22
it's so I'm there at an activist but I'm also already on Mastodon, in case you want to find me there. It's the same handle activist. I can share it with you later. And you can find me on LinkedIn by my full name Leila Bulgaria as well.

Tim Bourguignon 45:38
And he on your plate that you want to plug in before you call today.

Laila Bougria 45:43
I really I think I've I've shared I've shared everything that I had in my mind. So it was very great to be here. And I hope it was useful for someone to sort of take something away and improve their own journey. And for you as well.

Tim Bourguignon 45:57
I'm convinced it was and it was insightful for me. So that's already helpful here after success.

Laila Bougria 46:04
Thank you so much. Okay, take care now.

Tim Bourguignon 46:08
And this has been another episode of Deborah's journey, and we see each other next week. Bye. Thanks a lot for tuning in. I hope you have enjoyed this week's episode. If you like the show, please share rate and review. It helps more listeners discover those stories. You can find the links to all the platforms to show appears on on our website, Dev journey, dot info, slash subscribe. Creating the show every week. Takes a lot of time, energy, and, of course money. Will you please help me continue bringing out those inspiring stories every week by pledging a small monthly donation, you'll find our patreon link at Dev journey dot info slash donate. And finally, don't hesitate to reach out and tell me how this week story is shaping the future. You can find me on Twitter at @timothep Ti n o th EP corporate email info at Dev journey dot info talk to you soon