Symphony Solutions has been welcoming so many new Symphonians in the last few years, that were perhaps not the easiest for the world in its entirety. This came with its own interesting experiences and observations, as we were learning to work and live in remote/hybrid mode. And now we love learning more about how our fellow Symphonians came to be part of the company and what drives them in their life and career. This time we talked to Agnieszka Kot, the People Partner in Symphony Solutions Poland, and she had some great tips on reaching that elusive work-life balance, taking ownership of your career, and finding inspiration. 1. Looking back at the last 2 years of your career at Symphony Solutions, what would you say are the highlights? I started in Symphony Solutions in May 2020, so it was just in the middle of Covid pandemic – total rollercoaster, both in my private and professional life. The kindergarten was closed, it was also my first experience with remote work and IT business. I think there is no person in my team who doesn’t know my daughter and my cat…;) The second experience was being PP during the war time and giving support to others when you are also not in perfect shape. 2. What values are important to you in Symphony Solutions? How do you experience those values here? I am a people-oriented person, so Intimacy – I try to be close to people, communicate on a more personal level with them and build strong relationships. And the second one is inspirational – I am passionate about my work and observe it with my colleagues here. We love what we are doing! 3. What are the things you enjoy about working at Symphony Solutions? 1) I am never bored here;) Every day brings new challenges. 2) People and the team we create. I really enjoy our interactions. 3) Flexibility. I like the options whether I work from the office, home, or when I start my working day. In general – freedom of choice. 4. After so many years in the industry, what did you find different about working here than anywhere else? So many differences! The major one – the direct contact with people. In my previous companies I was working directly with people, I would spend many hours on the shop floor with them, it was easy to build relations, to know what their work is about, and at the same time – being helpful and supportive. When I started in Symphony Solutions, all the people were working from home, the offices were closed. Some of them were not using the camera, and what is more, I noticed I may have a different sense of humor than my colleagues, so I had the impression I was talking to myself. But step by step, we found a common language and now we are laughing together at my jokes. The greatest asset for me are always people. In Symphony Solutions, thanks to the cultural part of the recruitment process, we are able to select the candidates that fit our values perfectly. I’ve never met a company with a similar process, it really works. 5. What was your lightbulb moment? When did it click in your head that you wanted to work in HR? It was during the internship in my first company where I spent almost 8 years. It was the time when we were building the HR processes from scratch, I was able to learn and actively participate in it at the same time. Great experience. 6. Tell us more about your HR role. What inspires you in your day-to-day work? I will answer in one word: people. I’ve always been fascinated and inspired by people, the differences between us, etc. I cannot imagine myself working with Excel sheets with no contact with human beings. Who would laugh at my jokes then?;) 7. What is the most complicated aspect of working with people? For me it is to set boundaries. Sometimes I feel responsible for too much, I carry too much on my shoulders, I wanna help no matter what. Work in progress. 8. You had 10 years of HR experience before joining the IT branch. What is the difference between IT and non-IT people? Building the relations takes more time in IT, especially when working remotely. And the competition on the job market is higher in IT than in other domains, so we need to put more effort into keeping people in the company, and have them satisfied with the project and the cooperation. 9. We love hearing Symphonians share their larger-than-life goals and plans that go beyond the daily to-do list. What about you? Do you pursue a mission in your HR career? I am joking that my life is like one big mission. Both, in my private and professional life, I am trying to remind people that if you have too much on your plate – ask for help, it is not a shame, together we will manage. Be good to yourself – keep the balance between work and rest. Take from life as much as you can – you only live once! And don’t forget that every cloud has a silver lining – always! Sometimes, you just need more time. 10. As we know, you study a lot: Philology, Administration, Coaching, and Training. Why are you so passionate about learning? I think it is about meeting people and learning from them. And learning new things comes easily to me. These are the main reasons. 11. It is always interesting to know what it’s like to be a working mom, that is to say that parenting is a whole job on its own. Can you share some of your hacks on how to combine personal and work life? A lot of lemon balm (melissa), ha-ha. Let’s be honest – it is not easy. And it is not only for working moms but also for dads – yes, some of them feel also responsible for their children. It is always about finding some compromise between what you want and what your child wants. I remember the feeling when I came back from the maternity leave to work, I was so happy and so miserable at the same time. But this is life, I always say: “Happy mom, happy child”. I would not be happy as a typical housewife. We have our family planner in the kitchen – it helps to organize the week. We are sharing our responsibilities with my husband and it is working so far. 12. What are your hobbies? Do they help you in your work somehow? I love travelling – it is again connected with meeting people, knowing their culture, eating (this is also my hobby). Before my daughter was born, we managed to visit Asia, Cuba, and many countries in Europe. Hope we will come back to it when Klara is older. 13. What are your professional and career plans? What would you like to achieve? There is still a lot to learn in the IT field for me so this is my main goal for the near future. 14. How do you follow trends in your profession and industry? Webinars, HR blogs. We are also exchanging information with my team, we even have regular knowledge sharing sessions scheduled every week! 15. What is most important when growing as an expert? Update your knowledge and keep up with the trends, be open to feedback, take responsibility and feel responsibility – take ownership! 16. Let’s talk inspiration! What are some podcasts, books, or movies you swear by? Maja Günther, You Are Enough (How to stop comparing yourself to others and be yourself). I like the phrase: “You develop when you take the first step, not when you reach your goal”. 17. Looking back at your career path, what advice would you give to a young generation now? Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Don’t be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again. 18. Would you mind sharing with us your life motto or principles? You have everything you need within yourself to turn your situation around. It’s up to you if you decide to live your life in black and white or rather in glorious color. We invite you to learn more about Symphonians! Check out some of our previous Symphony Personas interviews.