Balancing your Coding And Social Life

PyLadies Night with Patricia Serwaa Kodie Agyekum

Balancing your Coding And Social Life

Patricia Serwaa Kodie Agyekum is an associate software engineer at Turntabl Ghana Limited. A former teaching assistant at the University of CapeCoast, A writer, an actress and a motivator.

Patricia Serena Kodie Agyekum

Can you describe your life outside of being a developer

My life outside being a developer is awesome and more enjoyable. It's more of fun, family, friends and bliss. In fact, I feel like that is the actual "ME" and work is work...Don't get me wrong, I love my work, regardless.

How would you describe your normal day?

Well, before COVID 19, my normal weekday was full of work (Probably because I was now getting used to programming as a profession). I could leave work like 11pm to 12 am sometimes. I knew it was bad but getting a bug fixed had it's own kinda excitement, you know. During this COVID 19 period, I figured, if I have to live a sound and healthy life, then I really need to establish that thin line between working and living. So for now, my normal day is like working from 9 am to 6 pm and closing that chapter. Whatever happens from that time to bedtime has definitely got to be fun. Weekends are for personal things only and sleep. No work... unless extremely unavoidable.

About not working on weekends, What do you say to the critics who say developers are boring and have no social life?

First of all, "I HATE DRAWING OF GENERAL CONCLUSIONS BASED ON A SAMPLED FEW". I'll agree if it's scientific research or well-calculated statistics but not in issues like this. I mean, before I am counted among any collection, I am me. Why say "all are this" and "all are that" when you have actually never met all. It's all a matter of personal decisions. There are some people who genuinely have their lives wrapped around programming (no two ways about that) but there are others who also had their own lives before getting unto this bus. Those two aren't the same. Maybe those critics have not been lucky enough to meet the fun ones but it's definitely not fair to draw such conclusions.

A developer can be very fun and have an awesome social life regardless of the stress. In fact, I think we need it more.

What do you think is a causative agent of a non-social life of developers?

Well, we can all agree that this field is quite a challenging one and time-consuming. A small bug may be hiding in plain sight and it may take you hours to figure it out. There are real joy and fulfilment in getting something done, especially solving a stubborn bug... Ooohhh... gosh... that feeling is so good. Many of us just get carried away by that: forgetting that there will always be a bug to fix, there will always be a program to write, there will always be a deadline to meet.

Losing ourselves in there is quite easy. The causative agent in missing your social life, I think, is the lack of respect for our social lives. If you respect something and regard it as a priority, you make time for it.

With regards to priorities, How are you able to juggle between being an actress, a developer and a writer?

Hahahaaa... this question... Wooow... I can't say much about acting now because COVID 19 has done a lot to keep us away from that. We are hoping to rise back into that soon. I can't really tell how that's gonna be, for now, but I had to join a new production team at Accra since I'm gonna be here for quite a while. I only hope we work more on weekends so that it wouldn't interrupt work.

Now, between being a developer and a writer, well... sometimes I just have to acknowledge the fact that being a developer is what puts food on the table so buddy, put Dr Kassy aside for a sec... lol... Again, don't get me wrong, I love being a developer but writing and music are those that can keep me up late at night. To balance them, I just need to be conscious of myself (though sometimes I get carried away by one or the other). I am still learning to prioritize time on all sides.

How difficult is it juggling between each work and does it affect your work-life negatively?

Well, in reference to my earlier points, it can be quite difficult, at times. Knowing you've got work the next day, yet, you've got this inspiration that you really want to pen down before you lose it. You do that through the night and by morning, you can hardly open your eyes but work is calling...It can be quite unhealthy sometimes too because out of the 24 hours, at least 7 hours is supposed to be for sleeping (which I hardly do bad habit), 9 out of the remaining 17 is meant to be spent at work (which I obviously spend more time than that most often). The remaining 8 could include lots of other activities like cooking, taking strolls, chatting friends and family etc. so in the long run, I still need to make time for my hobbies and talents.

It's so not easy but as I said, You need to respect you in terms of all these to live a fulfilled life. Don't rob yourself of any of these. Prioritize time. Life is short.

I heard you’re quite the dancer. Wow, is that also a hobby or passion of yours?

I think it's both a hobby and a passion, as well as, a strategy to get me off my seat and away from my machine sometimes. I love dancing... yeah... it helps me free my mind. I can stay up throughout the night just watching dance videos. Expressing yourself in body movements can be very sweet. In my opinion, music soothes the soul. You can try it sometimes if you haven't already... If you can sing, do (it also helps) but I think shaking what you've got can be more relaxing.

Thank you for your time. It was really an exciting and interesting session.

This session was facilitated and compiled by Akintola Rahmat.