Olà from Belo Horizonte, Brazil
This month’s postcard is from a friendly town in Brazil where Site Reliability Consultant Joao Assis delivers request, conflict, and resolution assistance to cloud customers. Read on to learn more about his role, what he’s reading, and life in Brazil.
Tell us about where you live.
I’m based where I was born and raised—in Belo Horizonte (“beautiful horizon”), the capital of Minas Gerais, Brazil. It’s a small plateau surrounded by the Curral del Rey Mountains with impressive modern architecture and waterfalls. It’s a calm city with two million people, but it’s still much less crowded than a few others in Brazil.
One of the most interesting features of Belo Horizonte is the Serra do Curral Mountain that’s visible from every point of the city. Another is the many steep streets you can hike as an excursion, but not bike (unless you’re brave enough).
What was your path to Pythian?
I studied electronic engineering at university and then specialized in networking. Later, I completed some certifications and some self-learning to round out my skill set.
Before Pythian, I’d been at the same company for fifteen years as an intern and worked my way to becoming a systems engineer. In 2018, I became an IT specialist—a similar job to my current role. I was happy and never thought I’d leave, but a year ago I found that Pythian was a great fit, and that it came at the right time. Although I’ve always worked in IT and had occasionally used English on the job, I’d never been in an English-speaking role. So, this aspect is new to me, but it’s been a great experience. I’m now learning new words and expressions all the time.
What’s a typical day like for you now?
My role focuses on ensuring clients are happy and achieve their goals, so I often verify client requests related to cloud applications. As a member of Team 46, I document issues, prioritize them, propose solutions, and send them to Team 10—an operational team.
Because of the nature of the role, there are no typical days. I work from home, and so does my wife. This opportunity allows us to have a family lunch every day after my wife takes the kids to school and I pick them up. I normally work from 1 PM to 9 PM, which also helps make these things possible. But there are always anomalies that my flexible schedule must accommodate; this morning, for example, I had an 8 AM call with an Australian client, so my day started earlier.
Once a month, I’m on-call for one week, and we rotate this setup to balance everyone’s time. Weekends are challenging when we’re on-call because you can almost guarantee there will be one or two incidents, but I was already used to this from my previous role. Besides, Pythian clients thankfully don’t call often, which speaks to our excellent level of service.
What has been the biggest challenge in this role so far?
Because this is my first English-focused role, I’m invested in improving my English, so I still take weekly classes along with my wife. I’m also an avid reader and try to read on various topics—history, politics, or technical topics. For example, I just finished reading a book from Maryanne Wolf, The Reading Brain in a Digital World. But like in any language, active and passive learning happens all day, no matter what I’m doing, so it’s an ongoing process—but I like the challenge.
Tell us about your workspace.
We moved to a new home six months ago, so I now have a dedicated room where I work. It has two laptops, including a Chromebook for specific clients. I don’t have any quirky routines, but I sometimes do floor exercises from here or upstairs to stretch and keep my circulation flowing.
How do you spend your time off?
My wife and I often take the kids to the park on weekends or to my in-laws’ country home, which is about an hour away. Also, shopping excursions or restaurants with playgrounds with the kids are always a hit—anything to keep them entertained. We also love to travel and visit local beaches.
We also have a vacation home in Cabo Frio and vacation there, although it’s a seven-hour trip. But I’ve been going there since I was young, so it’s a second home to me.
I also teach cloud computing and computer security at two universities—IGTI and PUC MINAS—and I’m contemplating doing a master’s there in the future. We’re still getting used to our new home, and with two small children to factor in and now a dog, too, we sometimes need to adjust our goals. So, the master’s degree isn’t in the cards just yet.
Any specific activities you particularly enjoy this time of year?
With the cooler weather coming in the southern hemisphere, there isn’t much sun, but it’s drier. So, it’s a great time for long walks along the beach, even at night, because it’s not sweltering. Later in the winter, around June, we’ll visit an amusement park called Beto Carrero, the largest theme park in Latin America, with zoos, villages, and of course, crazy rides.
What’s one type of food you could eat every day?
Bananas of any type, Japanese food like sushi, or beef stroganoff.
Describe Pythian in one word.
Follow Joao on LinkedIn.