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Muslims and Tech with Safa Ghribi, Full Stack Engineer

1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background (how you got to where you are) and current role?

I did my bachelor in computer science at Ecole des Mines in France then came to Canada to pursue a master in Software engineering at Polytechnic School of Montreal. When I graduated, I started working for Unity (in the video games industry) for about 3 years then moved to Microsoft since January 2022. I was working as a fullstack software developer in both positions.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

My days are quite different lately to be honest but I’ll take you through a day where everything goes as I planned. I like waking up early in the morning whenever I can to have an hour of free time before work. I like to sip my coffee slowly and read a book or listen to a podcast, anything to help me start my day calmly. Then I start my work by going through emails and messages, setting my plan for the day (what to do every 30mins of my day + plan lunch and prayer times). I try to stick to 9-5 as much as I can so I can set up a routine that is healthy for my life.

3) What does work-life balance mean to you, and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work-life balance is to be able to produce and learn at work while spending 8 hours a day and having time and mental buffer to continue the rest of daily chores before and after your shift. I am still struggling to achieve that honestly, there was a lot of changes in my life recently, switching jobs, getting married… So I am still processing and figuring out how my rythme should be to be able to live a happy and healthy life while taking good care of my family and prospering in my career.

4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I started waking up earlier for work to have some time to breathe and meditate before work. I don’t do it all the time but I try and do truly believe in its advantages. Also reading for 15 mins a day is giving some sense of fulfilment early in my day.

5) What brings you peace during stressful times?

Talking to my mother/husband + prayer and duaa + reminding myself that it is temporary

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you are consuming and like to recommend?

Atomic habits is a very good book to read. I follow and I like their content (both tech and non tech related articles)

7) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

I don’t have anyone in mind because what we see in the news and social media tend to be glorified. I can’t point a specific person from those who share their super productive days because I know 80% of it in not true. I would like to hear it from an ordinary person just like me, I want to hear it from a woman first because our duties and way of thinking is different than men, from a muslim second because we do prioritize family and know the need to surround them with care and affection, preferably a muslim woman living in a western country. I want it it to be from someone working in tech specifically because our jobs are more demanding in time and energy I think.

8) What’s the one piece of advice you would give our readers for managing stress and creating a healthy mental state?

Keep telling yourself this : * This is 100% temporary * Everyone is going or went through these same feelings * A productive day can be a day you stay at home doing nothing * Nothing is wrong with taking few days/weeks break from work * perfect is the opposite of good

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