Jana Staníková

Candidate Support Advisor – Autodesk

1. Who was your favourite teacher at school? What did you learn from that person?

My high school Math teacher, Martin Janček. When I met him for the first time, I was very concerned: typical nerdy outlook, former monk, old glasses, squared-pattern shirt, and zero facial expression. But when he started to explain math, suddenly he created a whole new universe in front of me where math was not this old ugly witch, but a beautiful unicorn – all made sense to my non-technical brain. He was also very respectful towards students and always made clear what his expectations were. I learned from him to practice hard, take my time when solving complex issues and respect.

2. At what age did you become an adult? What happened, and how did you know?

At 25 years old. Maybe because of natural hormonal changes? Basically, one day I realized that my “blood” was not as hot as it used to be few years ago, and suddenly I gave myself the gift of not having an opinion on everything, not wanting to be involved in everything and becoming more discrete. Also, I think I was stupid and entitled at 18.

3. What habit or behaviour or belief have you recently acquired? Why is it now in your life?

I discovered fasting in January 2020 – just before pandemic. I tried it for a few days, and I was overwhelmed by the amount of mental peace I acquired when not eating. Now, after 18 months I can fast between 18-20 hours per day (I usually eat 2x per day) and sometimes I can go a whole day without eating anything. I enjoy it very much and eating became mindful and sacred ritual for me.

4. If you wrote a ‘user manual’ for how people should interact with you, what would be the most important point in the manual?

Jana plays fair and expects open debate, discussion, making an agreement and sticking to it. Jana is also flexible and in case you need to make changes in what we agreed, let her know ahead – she will be happy to talk and define new agreement. Jana is put off by huge ego and don´t think it is cool to lie. Jana loves hugs* (*postponed due to pandemic).

5. What’s one misconception people generally have about you?

That I may be naïve, and they can sell me crap. Even though I will let everyone approach me, the moment I detect some toxic crap or ego, I will exit that interaction and won´t continue nurturing that relationship. I may also think forever that you are an idiot.

6. When was the last time you felt like an outsider in a group? What/How did you learn?

In 2015 I left my home country Slovakia, and I came to live to Barcelona, Spain. This is a unique society: Catalan/Spanish mix. Catalan people are very nice but reserved at the beginning. I felt very “outsiderish” first years – I had a constant glass ceiling feeling – and I tried to make some local friends and acquaintances, but it wasn´t happening as I pictured. That made me rethink. I learnt to examinate if people who you want to be friends with can give you what you are looking for. Be honest to yourself: maybe they cannot and that´s ok.

7. What do you think is acceptable today but will become taboo tomorrow?

This may sound crazy, but maybe promoting sugary foods as healthy food options. Few decades ago, smoking was socially accepted even on TV and in commercials and now it is becoming either taboo or just “no-go” thing. With all the global obesity trends still going up, I think society will need to rethink or at least revise nutrition advices and promotion we have for high carb foods.

8. What is the best purchase you’ve made recently? Why?

Glucose monitoring device. I want to know how certain foods spike my sugar. I am curious and I experiment on my own body (or blood, right?).

9. What’s your favourite meal? Can you say why?

Tacos Cochinita Pibil. When I occasionally have them, I zoom out and think how people come up with such a delicious harmony of taste. I think it is the achiote spice and pork fat that makes it incredible.

10. If you were to survive the zombie apocalypse, what role would you play in the new society that would follow?

I would become either a lone wolf or a wizard. Surviving zombie apocalypse would prove I found the way how to do it, therefore I could be the wise person who has the know-how. If I hated the new society, I would be lone wolf. If I loved it, I´d be a wizard. Also, zombie apocalypse would probably give me grey hair instantly, so I would already have the look! 😀

11. If you were to own a bar, and you could design it how you wanted, what would it look like?

Laundry self-service with a cafeteria. I would monetize people waiting.

12. What's a skill that isn’t on your resume, but your former bosses would recognize as one of the reasons you are successful?

Great memory and a critical common sense. I procure not to get “buzzword drunk” and avoid getting brainwashed. When rolling out something new, I always try to think of everything may be affected in negative way just to save me as much headache as possible

13. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received? Who gave it and when?

“Manage the system, not the people” – the Agile community. I found this browsing Management 3.0 website when I was enrolled in my “HR in Agile” workshop. I think the founder Jurgen Appelo said it. In the past Managers used to be the most skillful people in the team that passed their knowledge to the team. Managers were those that decided what, how, when, and why will be done. Team simply followed. That was managing people, not the system. Agile Managers nowadays care about the actual setting, dynamics, and environment of the team so the team can decide what, how, when and why certain project will be done and agree on its execution. The team performs and manages itself, and the Manager molds, shapes and transforms the setting in which the team is situated, so the best possible environment to perform is achieved for the team. This is very empowering for the team and sets quite a mature environment where people can make their own decisions. At least this is how I see it.

14. Can you give an example of a time when you had to learn the lesson the hard way?

In some cultures, and its professional circles, you never ever speak bad about your former employer, no matter how bad he may have treated you. That can be a professional suicide.

15. What’s the one bad quality you wouldn’t mind in a colleague? Why?

Gossip. Working in HR taught me to be very discrete. However, if people around you talk, a lot of interesting information gets to you passively. I admit I despise gossiping, because people who gossip in front of you, gossip you when you are not around, but as I mentioned – it has a silver lining.

16. What is the optimal number of people in a team, with you in it? What roles are those people playing?

I feel comfortable in a team of 5-6 people. I like to work with a manager that is mindful, self- and team-aware, can plan and plays fair. If there is a Senior team member who inspires me and I can take as a professional reference, that´s the sweet professional spot.

17. When it comes to our work and industry: what scares you most?

ATS systems and its 0-1 logic when screening resumes: black and white. There are some great people who may not be the best at creating an amazing CV, but they can be amazing professionals and can offer incredible values the ATS just won´t be able to recognize. I am not against automatization for resume screenings, and I know sometimes it is impossible to screen thousands of CVs, but I think we may need to revise the current status quo. We cannot afford losing great talent.

18. What common wisdom in our industry needs to be debunked?

Hiring for cultural fit hype. It is a double-edged sword. It can serve you well but also cost you a lot of people who you desperately need: innovators. Cultural fit can help you to get rid of people who would not feel comfortable in your culture. Fair enough. But be aware that if you want to innovate, you need people who challenge the status quo. Who will shake things up, who will confront, doubt and dig down deep. These people will cause unpleasant, but necessary situations that your business needs. Just because someone is a challenger it does not mean they are not a great cultural fit.

19. If you could add a question for the next person to answer, what would it be?

If you could have one fictional superpower which one would it be?

Being invisible 😉

20. Who would you recommend to do the next 20 Questions With … ?

Luisa Pinzón – my ex boss. Great People Manager with huge heart and genuine interest for people. Liz Ryan – the creator of Human Workplace that advocates for ditching a lot of offensive practices in HR and recruiting and offers respectful ways of how to do it.

Thank you to Jana Staníková for taking 20 Questions for The Brainfood Tribune. Make sure to follow Jana on LinkedIn

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