AmCham Slovakia

Work and life connections

Success comes at a price. Business leaders face difficult decisions regarding demands on their time on daily basis. The responsibility towards their families and their employees makes them carefully consider each minute of their day. We want to know how they like to spend their time out of work, what inspires them and motivates them.

How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted your professional and personal life?
(MU) The pandemic significantly impacted both my professional and personal life. While our company was already remote and agile, the shift to a full home office and increased reliance on collaboration tools became the norm. Business travel and in-person interactions were significantly reduced, impacting professional networking and social engagement. On a personal level, I missed face-to-face interactions with family, friends, and professional communities, including attending industry events and in-person meetings.

(AB) The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profoundly negative impact on the professional lives of many, myself included.  For years I’ve been building a company with the primary goal of transporting individuals to airports, facilitating transportation for companies to work meetings and events. However, with the closure of borders and a significant reduction in demand for our services, we’ve faced considerable challenges.

As far as my personal life is concerned, the most significant change was that I limited the social contacts that were part of my daily life. I found pleasure in simple things like family activities, and had the space to slow down and devote myself to my son. I used the time for self-reflection and personal development.

connection2024_02x.png Were you able to identify any positive side effects or opportunities resulting from this situation?
(MU) Despite the challenges, the pandemic presented some unexpected benefits. It fostered a deeper appreciation for the value of in-person interactions, social connections, and the importance of communities, family gatherings, and physical schooling. This experience also accelerated our company’s readiness for remote and agile collaboration, leading to the development of new tools and communication strategies within our teams.

(AB) After the pandemic measures were called off, people began to realize the rarity of the opportunity to travel and that it should not be taken for granted. Suddenly, there was a surge in demand for transportation services, which was a great positive for us. We seized the opportunity to innovate our system, doubling our fleet and establishing a second branch in Bratislava, complete with our own car wash facility for both our vehicles and the public.

What is the favorite part of your day and why?
(MU) My favorite part of the day is the early morning. The quiet solitude allows me to engage in activities like planning, reading, or running. These moments help me connect with myself, develop creativity, and translate thoughts into dreams, plans, and actions. It’s also a time for relaxation and enjoying a good cup of coffee.

(AB) Since I am a very active type of person, every part of the day is meaningful to me. The afternoon is the most productive for me in terms of work and working meetings, when I have a lot of ideas and I feel the need to realize them. In the afternoon I try to spend quality time engaging in activities with my son. However, the evening holds a special significance for me because I get a lot of ideas in the evening and it is the perfect time to plan and prepare tasks for the next day. Overall, the evening is a time to relax after a busy day and lay the groundwork for the future.

Do you have any habits or routines that help you maintain your work-life balance and work well for you?
(MU) Maintaining a consistent morning routine, especially planning and running, is essential for staying on track with personal and professional goals. Additionally, effective time management enables me to dedicate quality time to family and friends while staying positive and productive. It means perfect calendar management, focusing on planned activities, taking regular breaks, and scheduling tasks according to my energy levels, further enhancing my efficiency. Furthermore, I find face-to-face meetings invaluable for fostering deeper understanding with colleagues, clients, and partners.

(AB) My work is like a ‘second’ child to me, so it is almost impossible to separate from my personal life. But I try to establish a balance and plan time effectively to manage my job duties and have enough time for myself and my family, relaxation, and entertainment. I don’t bring work home and I don’t have an office at home - I’m clear about that boundary.

I love to travel and I see it as a way to rest and escape from reality. It allows me to immerse myself in different thoughts. I spend my weekends with friends and my son on trips, cherishing these moments as some of the best times spent together.

connection2024_022.pngWhat advice would you give to your 20-something-year old self?
(MU) I would advise my younger self to embrace passions outside of professional interests. Pursuing hobbies and activities for pure enjoyment fosters a well-rounded life. Additionally, actively developing interpersonal and collaboration skills is crucial for being a valuable team member and preparing for future leadership roles.

(AB) If I were to recommend three things to my twenty-year-old self, they would be:

  1. Invest in yourself, discover your interests and invest in them. Do not be afraid of new challenges, learn new things, and be ambitious.
  2. Set clear goals and create a plan to achieve them. Be ambitious and realistic at the same time and proceed step by step to fulfill your goals.
  3. Be present, live in the present moment, and enjoy every moment no matter what others tell you. Listen to your inner voice and make decisions that are best for you.

What are the parts of your work that still excite you and give you motivation?
(MU) I am highly motivated by complex and challenging projects that allow me to collaborate effectively with my team and develop new skills. Overcoming obstacles and completing these projects provides me with a strong sense of accomplishment. Additionally, I am a lifelong learner who thrives in opportunities for professional development, travel, and networking with diverse individuals. 

If you had to make a career switch, in what other profession can you imagine yourself?
(MU) While I possess diverse interests in HR, IT, leadership, and sales, a career shift that allows me to bridge the gap between technology and business management particularly appeals to me. I envision myself in a software development role, leveraging both technical and managerial skills. My adaptability and diverse interests foster an entrepreneurial mindset and a strong foundation for innovation.

The ongoing digital revolution excites me. I am eager to adapt to new market dynamics, including the evolving nature of work and the impact of AI technology. I believe my skill set and adaptability will allow me to thrive in this evolving landscape.

(AB) I could envision myself overseeing the purchasing, renovation, and furnishing of real estate, as I already run a carpentry company and have experience in furnishing apartments and other spaces.

Can you name three sources you have recently learned from or have inspired you the most?
(MU) Recently, I have been particularly inspired by two courses: Digital Transformation in Financial Services and Robotic Process Automation.

Digital Transformation in Financial Services by Copenhagen Business School: This course provided a comprehensive exploration of trends and challenges in the digital era, equipping me with a wider perspective on the complexities and opportunities of this transformative period.

RPA Specialization by UiPath: This program offered a technical deep-dive into optimizing business operations through automation. This knowledge equips me to contribute to process improvement and enhance overall efficiency within my role.

(AB) I find inspiration in the everyday satisfaction of completing tasks well and seeing happy customers. Success in every single project motivates me to pursue further challenges and projects where I can develop my skills and achieve new successes.

What is your biggest fear for the generation of today’s children? What about the biggest hope?
(MU) My biggest concern for today’s youth lies in the potential negative impact of social media and artificial intelligence on their critical thinking skills, decision-making abilities, and patience. Additionally, the overwhelming amount of information and choices available can lead to feelings of analysis paralysis.

However, I also hold significant hope for this generation. Their potential for engagement in social causes, commitment to sustainable development, and pursuit of meaningful life missions is inspiring.

(AB) One of my biggest concerns for today’s generation of children is probably the impact of modern technology and the digital age on their physical and mental health. As the use of digital devices and social media increases, it can lead to problems such as addiction, depression and lack of personal interaction. In addition, the presence of online dangers and abuses can pose a real risk to children today. One of the greatest hopes is progress in education and access to information. Today’s children have access to a wide range of educational resources and opportunities that allow them to develop their interests and abilities. Overall, it is important that we as a society pay attention to these concerns and hopes and work to create a safe environment for today’s children.

AmCham Slovakia celebrates its 30th anniversary this year - what wish comes to your mind for this occasion?
(MU) My wish for AmCham Slovakia’s 30th anniversary is to continue fostering inspiration, collaboration, and support within its community, institutional partners, and business network. Their commitment is commendable, presenting an opportunity and responsibility to leverage existing trust and resources to create even better policies and practices for Slovak society, businesses, and public institutions.

(AB) Your achievements are a reflection of the hard work and dedication of your employees. I wish you that your growth and success continue in the coming years and that you maintain your excellent position in the market.

Michal Ujma, Account Executive, Sii Poland

Andrej Boháč, Founder, CARSEN