Artem Berman: Hello, yeah, hello!

Denis Yavnuk: Can you hear me?

Artem Berman: Yes, clearly, actually. Basically, I have the normal channel. It gives at least 50 Mbit. Therefore, I think, in theory, everything should work fine. Let’s do it in the following way. I just turn on the dictaphone. I’ll just start to ask you the questions, and we’ll just talk. As you can see, the questions, in fact, are quite simple in the sense that they concern business and work. They do not raise privacy; let us say I do not ask you to share the military secrets. Therefore, I think, in principle, you will be comfortable to answer. It should not cause any negative points. The story is this that, all in all, it will be written in English, so, we can really speak directly in English.

Denis Yavnuk: Well, the thing is that it is better for an English audience, so it is better to do it in English.

Artem Berman: So, basically, we have three options, three types of the questionnaires. First one, ‘I never had a job’. Second is, ‘I was employed, but I am not employed presently/ I am not employed anymore’. And then, ‘I am currently employed’. Which one is your case? I think your case…

Denis Yavnuk: Maybe, I am in third option. I am employed.

Artem Berman: Yeah, you are. Including if you are self-employed or if you are the owner of the company. Yeah. I would say that would be the right option for you. So, let me then open the questionnaire. So, I have it in front of me and then we will go.

Denis Yavnuk: I am employed and I am a member of the team.

Artem Berman: Let us start. Basically, several first questions will be pretty much straightforward. Like easy questions which you will be answering with more or less ‘yes’ or ‘no’. And then they will be a series of open questions. So, what I am running and what we are doing right now is a semi-structural interview. Semi-structural means there is a structure but they are really open. So, the more information you can share, the more details you can provide, the better. So, it is not like, “You are a man? Yes or no? – Yes – Okay, cool, next question’. Like, ‘Do you smoke? Yes or no? – I am not smoking. – Okay, great, next question’. It will be rather, ‘Tell me what do you think about smoking in general?’ And then you have the opportunity to share whatever details you feel like sharing. So, the first questions are just formal ones. So, first one “Are you allowing to use your interview for the scientific research work?”

Denis Yavnuk: Yes.

Artem Berman: And second question, “Are you allowing to publish your interview on the web-site?”

Denis Yavnuk: Yes, feel free to use this interview on your website.

Artem Berman: Thank you. And third, “Would you like to use your real name or some kind of pseudonym for the publication?”

Denis Yavnuk: I decided to use my real name.

Artem Berman: Cool. Cool. It’s okay. Great. Again, if there’ll be some questions and you are not sure about the answer right now you can tell me, “Well, I will think about that and I’ll get back to later on”. Right? Just for your information. So, any time you feel you need some time to think you will let me know. The question number four, “What is your name?”

Denis Yavnuk: Denis Yavnuk.

Artem Berman: The question number five is easy, “Your contact information”. So, I am gonna need your e-mail or phone number. Just write down on Skype. Actually, I have your e-mail, but nevertheless, you can provide it later on Skype.

Denis Yavnuk: You can use my e-mail.

Artem Berman: Perfect.

Denis Yavnuk: And don’t use it for spam. And don’t forget to send me New Year invitation.

Artem Berman: Sorry, what kind of invitation? Oh, I am a little bit slow in the morning. Ha-ha. Now I get it. Yeah. Happy B-day as well, right? Well, right. Let’s move. “How old are you?”

Denis Yavnuk: Today I am 29.

Artem Berman: 29. And gender, like male.

Denis Yavnuk: Male.

Artem Berman: Got it. “What kind of disability do you have?” Again, please provide whatever information you are comfortable giving away. So, it’s like…

Denis Yavnuk: It’s… It’s okay. It’s muscular dystrophy. Weakness usually begins around boys and worthiness quickly. The most of guys are useless without electrical wheelchairs and have special needs.

Artem Berman: Yeah. Got it.

Denis Yavnuk: But it’s okay. There is still an option to be working and even to be happy.

Artem Berman: So, you told me, basically, what happened. At what age it started to show itself?

Denis Yavnuk: It was a born condition.

Artem Berman: I know, but the symptoms were also obvious right from the birth time right?
Or several years it was kind of normal, but then you started to suffer from the symptoms?

Denis Yavnuk: Yes, until the age of 10 it was ok but then from 10 it became hard and impossible to move without using a wheelchair and additional help.

Artem Berman: So, pretty much from the age of 10. So, next question, “How did it affect your life in all dimensions – like social life, family life, personal life, educational, professional etc.?” So, you more or less was a kid of a 10-year-old. But when it all started to happen, how did it affect your life?

Denis Yavnuk: It affected but I am doing the “rehabilitation through the work” thing.

Artem Berman: So, what was the process of entering to the society? Who and what did help? What were the obstacles if there were obstacles?

Denis Yavnuk: As for me, work is the best return to the society and use communication in meets, in works situation you speak to another people. You can see another world. It’s great for me to have a connection with all people and companies I want. This communication builds a world around me.

Artem Berman: Aha.

Denis Yavnuk: I see that… I feel active. I feel active when I have communication, yes, with the people.

Artem Berman: So, I would say it’s not only a matter of you know earning money, right? For you, it’s also the way of social rehabilitation and being able to communicate with the people around you, with the world. So, it is your computer – your window or the door to the world outside, yes?

Denis Yavnuk: Yes. The window and door to the world. I use it to communicate and I feel that…I feel not…

Artem Berman: Isolated. Isolated, right, is the word? You don’t feel isolated because of your ability to communicate with the people outside of you.

Denis Yavnuk: Yes.

Artem Berman: Okay, got it. Now, ‘Your eduсation.’ Again, you can provide whatever information you feel it’s applicable and it can be a small narrative. Did you have any education before you were diagnosed with your condition? As you say, it was like 10 years when you started to have the obvious problems. So, did you have any education at that time? Probably, you were going to school, right?

Denis Yavnuk: Yes, I was going to school and then I had school at home. It was interesting to have communication with teachers. To have contact and have education at home. Then it was the university.

Artem Berman: So, basically, you finished this school this way and then you went to the university, right?

Denis Yavnuk: Yes. At the time when I was at the university, it was harder to reach the university’s location. But it was okay. I had and have friends that help me to move.

Artem Berman: So, basically, you were going to university like physically. It’s not like teachers or professors from the university were visiting you at home. Rather you were going to the university.

Denis Yavnuk: Yes, sure. I had to visit the place so I could communicate with the professors, each person at a university.

Artem Berman: Okay, so, several questions about this period of your life. First of all what specialization do you have and why did you choose this specialization?

Denis Yavnuk: It’s computer systems. From the time that I have been at school until now I do this stuff for more than 15 years.

Artem Berman: How it says in your diploma? You are programmer or system engineer? Who you are in your diploma?

Denis Yavnuk: System engineer of computer science.

Artem Berman: Clear, clear, clear.

Denis Yavnuk: And I have a …bachelor degree.

Artem Berman: Yes, and, in fact, you wrote the first programs, when you were still at school and therefore the choice of specialization was an easy story, in a sense that you didn’t have to choose. You did what you liked, and it was just …

Denis Yavnuk: I clearly understood that being involved in other areas – it will be, well, loss of resources. I mean, to work with computer systems will be the most effective, that is the highest KPI can be achieved while working with it. Well, in addition to this, you do what you like.

Artem Berman: Well, super. Well, I add on my behalf, again, due to some disabilities that both of us have. Let’s say, work with a computer, on the one hand, it makes the chances equal. It does not matter whether you can move or not. Well, it is clear that neither you nor I would go to work as porters or welders today. Well, probably, we would not go there for the other reason. You know, there is a joke like this: “Are you not a miner by the chance? “Well, why by the chance? I am not a miner for a reason.” Well, never mind.

Denis Yavnuk: Often it turns out that when I am loaded with work I feel like a miner.

Artem Berman: Can imagine. So, you have a bachelor’s degree from the university. Do you plan to continue your education in any foreseeable future – to obtain, for example, a master degree or, to get an MBA or to study somewhere else?

Denis Yavnuk: It can be said that I just didn’t have too much time for studying starting from the second year because I had projects and that projects were very important. I mean, the boom of dotcom was over, and the boom of startups began.

Artem Berman: Yes.

Denis Yavnuk: It just coincided with that time when I started to study. So, I went to study but at the same time, I had to work hard on client’s start-ups. What is more, I had to study and pass the exams. Later on, I had to choose: either study or work. I chose work.

Artem Berman: Aha.

Denis Yavnuk: Since, well, let’s say, it was important not only for the development but also for money.

Artem Berman: Well, it’s logical. Clear. Well, I have such a question. Well, let us say, we will have a nuance. In the sense that you are still, although a member of the team, well, you created this team, and work, as if you are on your own, and work from home, well, however, the question sounds like this – the twelfth one, “Do you have any support, any special attitude that is connected with your disability from the organization where you are employed?” And if you have, then which one? Maybe, a flexible schedule? For example, any special adaptation of the workplace or anything else?

Denis Yavnuk: Most likely, yes. I mean it is a free schedule from morning until evening and on weekends. It means…

Artem Berman: The lamp slave. Yes, yes, yes.

Denis Yavnuk: I think that there is a big difference that, you work from 9.00 till 21.00 on weekdays. Roughly speaking, sometimes there are working meetings after 10 p.m. This is taking into account the fact that the next negotiation with customers, which are in Kiev, starts at 9 a.m. On weekends, you have the opportunity to work with one project, when there is a chance to get rid of a bunch of calls and very small urgent tasks and to do more important things, where the hands usually don’t reach.

Artem Berman: I understand you. For me, if I go to the office, then this day is lost. There are constant meetings, conversations. If I need to work, then I stay at home and have the opportunity to work. That is almost the same.

Denis Yavnuk: I absolutely agree with you that it’s when you hold meetings not in your own territory during the day. In my case, that is, the office, that is, you work not at home, in the office, you get a big loss of time. That is, in the end, you can sum up such a formula that if you work in a home office or not far from home – in three minutes to walk from your house, let’s say that this way you can save from 60 to 80 ten working hours a month.

Artem Berman: Yes, it’s logical.

Denis Yavnuk: So, it turns out a flexible schedule. I believe that in this case, I’m even more concerned about the work, constant technical support, well, that is, how to work as a system administrator or manager for projects and start-ups.

Artem Berman: Okay, clear. Well, that is, if we seriously answer the 12 question, then, in principle, there is no special support related to disability, and since you also manage the business in general, then you have an irregular working day, and your privilege is, let’s say, to work more than most of the other people. The only thing is…

Denis Yavnuk: I would add that I’m not the one, who manages, I work in a team, that is, I’m one of the team.

Artem Berman: Well, nevertheless, you are the team leader.

Denis Yavnuk: Partly. Mostly a team member.

Artem Berman: I see.

Denis Yavnuk: It is very important to pay attention that this is my individual case, but I am sure that many people need the adaptation of the workplace. I mean that most people cannot create such conditions for themselves. They need these conditions to be created by companies. If the company can have a competent approach to this issue, create real jobs for people with such needs, the company will receive a reliable, honest and high-quality employee for many years.

Artem Berman: Well, that is, you think that, let’s say, this is what is called a job hopper – well, a person who constantly changes jobs. In the case of a person with disabilities, if the company can make him/her advances, such a scenario is minimal. That is, most likely, he/she will work for the company as long as possible and, so to speak, return a favor, right?

Denis Yavnuk: That’s right. I mean the company has just benefits.

Artem Berman: Okay, I hear you, I hear you. Hence, the thirteenth question, again, taking into account the specifics of your employment. Well, I’ll ask, and you will answer as you see fit. Well, “Have you ever been involved in promotion? Well, promotion, that is, do you see some kind of career path for yourself? Some kind of career ladder? Do you see yourself as a candidate for promotion, for some new prospects? If so, why? And why not, if you do not see yourself as a candidate for the career growth?

Denis Yavnuk: Well, most likely it is from the beginning of the activity. I work as a system administrator, partly as a developer in programming, in the web system and in the project. That is if projects are associated with e-commerce, web-based internal use, well, I mean, a web-based system for companies. So, in general, I started my activity in this direction. I work like this till now. Well, in the last ten years, the direction of mobile applications has appeared. This is what makes sense to develop, that is, it is the adaptation of the software, but just for the authorization, and the principles of the smartphone and tablet work.

Artem Berman: So, the career growth is, let’s say, the horizontally increase for you, right? That is, growing horizontally, mastering new technologies, obtaining new knowledge and so on? Have you ever seen a perspective for yourself, such as “I am becoming a group manager? Well, this group is growing, I am becoming the director of the company, well, and so on”. What about this?

Denis Yavnuk: Most likely, there is a sphere of e-commerce systems, and this sphere is so big and deep that I do not think that, well, that is, I know that in the next ten years I will have a lot of work in this line of activity. I mean, I need to deepen my knowledge in the direction of e-commerce and web-systems.

Artem Berman: However, do not you plan to grow vertically? Roughly speaking, isn’t the moving from a programmer to a manager in your plans yet?

Denis Yavnuk: I do not know, maybe, you know. There were no such proposals.

Artem Berman: Well, you know, it sometimes happens by itself, somehow. That is, at some stage, you are increasingly negotiating, you are getting more and more… You communicate with customers, with clients, that is, you stop writing the code. The code is written by other people and projects are being implemented by other people, and you are just a manager in a team that writes projects. You communicate with customers, and in a year or two, you suddenly you find out for yourself that you are, in fact, not a programmer, but a manager. Doesn’t this happen, is not it planned?

Denis Yavnuk: Well, the thing is that our sphere of activity is very narrow, difficult and with heavy demands. Technological projects are the line where small teams of one/two/three people work. It is very difficult to grow horizontally and grow towards management. There is a need to solve urgent problems, and these tasks are solved. There is a need for automation of processes. I mean that professional growth is rather going in depth of technology, than in width.

Artem Berman: On the other hand, you can recruit ten teams of one/two people, take ten projects, and this will be the way of development for, let’s say, a large outsourcing company, where you are the director.

Denis Yavnuk: Of course, I have considered this way. Well, I would rather do what is needed at the moment than rely on what I want. Then it possible just to say that there is a need for automation of processes, and the goals of automation can develop into start-ups. A business idea that is magnetized and it’s easy to build separate teams for such projects. Well, and these are high-tech projects, that is, they are high-tech projects and projects that have the ability to be useful for people, that is, to solve the real problem and give some benefit.

Artem Berman: That is, in sum, are you not putting any real task in front of you? Moving from programmers to managers, well, if it goes organically, due to certain circumstances, then this possibility is also present and you do not exclude it?
Denis Yavnuk: Yes, of course. Well, here I would correct you a little, that not as a programmer, but more likely a system administrator.

Artem Berman: Well, yes, more as a system administrator. I have understood you. Now is the next question, “What are the biggest difficulties and challenges, well, related to disability, present in your work?”

Denis Yavnuk: Well, I do not even know what to say. There are none. Here, I think you know the joke: “Where is the disabled person? – The disabled person is where you left him.” It is just the joke.
Artem Berman: Well, I know. I’m thinking about this joke. I think. I think about what you’re talking about.

Denis Yavnuk: The conclusion here is that the restriction is somewhere inside you, a restriction somewhere in your head.

Artem Berman: You know, can I specify something?

Denis Yavnuk: Yes, of course.

Artem Berman: The disabled person is where you left him or the disabled person is where he left himself, the locus of control? Are you a victim of circumstances, or are you a person who controls your life?

Denis Yavnuk: Disabled person is where he left himself.

Artem Berman: Well, you see!

Denis Yavnuk: You make a decision how you want to live your life and what you can do for yourself and for others by yourself.

Artem Berman: Uh-huh. Still, the locus of control is inside the person. Hence, by the way, I have the 15th question, which is very clear about this part of our conversation with you, ‘What was the main reason for you to start working, and what motivates you to continue working?’ Why do not consider the option not to work, why? Why did you start working and why do you continue?

Denis Yavnuk: I want to become rich.

Artem Berman: Well, that is, the financial moment is, let us say, the basis, yes, or one of the main ones. Okay. Is that’s all? That is, I work for money, you know, as the principle of professional athletes in the US, right, “no, pay – no game”. Is there something else?

Denis Yavnuk: The development of programming and the support of high-tech projects is a creative realization, this is the best that can be for a creative person in a high-tech niche. In other words, I love my work. I try to wake up as early as possible in order to have time to do things before the working day starts for all people.

Artem Berman: Okay.

Denis Yavnuk: And, yes, I can conduct the negotiations in the middle of the night. And people think I’m crazy.

Artem Berman: I’ve understood you. And the following question, “Can you imagine yourself not working? In other words, you stop working. And what, in your opinion, would be the consequences of such a step. Hypothetical, naturally, or real? Tell me.
Denis Yavnuk: No, I do not think it’s possible for me. That is, a person is created to work, to improve himself/herself.

Artem Berman: Okay, that is, you do not consider this possibility even hypothetically, so it is pointless to think about the consequences of such a step. That is, in that sense, since you will never do this, it does not make sense what would be in this case.

Denis Yavnuk: Yes. Let us answer the next question.

Artem Berman: Well, “Your current workplace is, let’s say, the first job or you worked somewhere else earlier, and if so, why did you leave the places where you used to work?”

Denis Yavnuk: So, my working place, yes, is my first job, and at the same time, I worked for Soft Plus. Well, and, let us say, I am still working with the developers and technical engineers of this company and many other companies with whom I had to work. That is, I did not have to change my activity dramatically.

Artem Berman: Well, roughly speaking, it was not that “I’m leaving this company and going to the next one. I retire”, that is, there was no such thing. The project was ended, but you kept in touch. If prospects of some new field for cooperation appeared in future, you would continue to cooperate there.

Denis Yavnuk: Yes. That is, people with whom I work, people with whom I have projects, this is a very long communication – 15 years plus … Just like this.

Artem Berman: Well, yes. This is a wonderful joke, sort of like,” To take French leave — means leaving and not saying goodbye, but leaving in Jewish way means to say goodbye and not to leave. So let’s go.”
The next question is, ‘What does your family think about work? Do they support your decision of work and, in general, that you work, your enthusiasm?’ So, what do they have to do with the fact that you work? Do they consider it normal or consider that you a hero, or are they against it? What about your family? How do the members of your family react?

Denis Yavnuk: Nobody pays much attention to this. I just work and my family doesn’t consider it as something extraordinary.

Artem Berman: Okay.

Denis Yavnuk: Like he is mad, he works too much, he works all the time.

Artem Berman: Do you have any special support or criticism? Nothing special to say, right?

Denis Yavnuk: Well, here it’s just necessary to notice that if there is a development of a certain startup, then it’s more likely that people who are close to me can be involved in working with these projects?

Artem Berman: Including family members?

Denis Yavnuk: Yes, including family members.

Artem Berman: Okay.

Denis Yavnuk: Considering their interests, they are included in my projects. Here you can give an example of “Accessible places”, that is, the members of my family helped me with thoughts about this project.

Artem Berman: Okay. Interesting. Interesting. Yes. The nineteenth question, in principle, I have already known, but, so to speak, we are going through the protocol, then I will ask it. You have already answered, but I’ll ask you. So, “Does your work have any connections with your education?” Well, make me feel surprised.

Denis Yavnuk: Well, I think that education is what you get moments improving your working skills.

Artem Berman: So you work for a specialty. That is, here is a hundred percent – you actually do the same things what you have studied.

Denis Yavnuk: Yes. Yes, there is one hundred percent compliance.

Artem Berman: Well, the next, ‘Do you think that higher education, that university education, in particular, that you got, has given you more opportunities in your work or in life? So did it help you?

Denis Yavnuk: Well, of course. As a minimum, you expand the circle of acquaintances, that is, you have a circle, access to other people with the same view of things, on technologies. That is, you have the opportunity to share your experiences and learn from other guys. What is more, you can speak with professors. That is, moreover, you have the opportunity to discuss with the professors how they acted, that is, how they worked on projects. Many things that we are doing now are a repetition of all that that people – physics, mathematicians that are older for several generations did. They just passed this way at the beginning of the advent of programming technologies, and we came into this sphere when this sphere had already was formed.

Artem Berman: Yes. Well, fight…

Denis Yavnuk: Well, I think that this studying is very helpful for future start and development.
Artem Berman: I see your answer. Okay. Now the question is, ‘How do you support your level in your profession?’ I mean, courses, self-education, whatever. How do you maintain your relevance in what you do?

Denis Yavnuk: Each new project gives me new challenges. I cannot very often understand clearly what to do. That is, I have to read the literature constantly, read the experience of other people. That is, to understand how people with more experience than I have made decisions. Well, every several months there are great changes happen. In order to be relevant, it is necessary not only to take work but also to train on projects. Constantly studying and being prepared for the fact that you will have to learn a lot during the work and maybe even restart learning. I mean, the things that are familiar to us change – and we have to adapt to how technologies change. We have to work differently, somehow in a new way.

Artem Berman: Well, I see, fine. I see I see, I see, I see. Now the twentieth question, it is the penultimate, although the last one will be quite complex, so creative. This question is connected with figures, therefore, well, you do not have to answer it calling some exact percentages or figures. You can just say significant /not significant and so on. Well, there are a number of sub-questions. So, “Do you get any financial help from the state?”

Denis Yavnuk: Yes. This is 50 dollars of the pension.

Artem Berman: Okay. The second question, “What percentage of your total income is this pension, and what percentage is the rest?” Well, that is, you can say that the pension is very small, that is, it is not necessary to say the figures. As you wish!

Denis Yavnuk: Well, it’s hard for me to say. Well, it’s clear that all my income is what I earn.

Artem Berman: Yes, That’s why…

Denis Yavnuk: My pension is usually necessary for phone payments.

Artem Berman: Well, that is, accordingly, the pension is really small, here in your case. That is, roughly speaking, the lion’s share of your income, we will not talk in figures, well, apparently, more than ninety percent – this is what you earn, and the pension is for mobile payments, right?

Denis Yavnuk: Yes, exactly.

Artem Berman: I’ve heard your answer and I understood it absolutely. So, now this is a philosophical question, “Does your current level of income satisfies you, that is, are you satisfied with the level of income that you have, or you are not happy with it?”
Denis Yavnuk: I always want to develop, I have very interesting rehabilitation projects, and I would like to attract a lot of money to these projects. Accordingly, I understand that I cannot rely on someone, I can only rely on myself. Therefore, I see the point in working, earning and investing money in development.

Artem Berman: Fine. Clear. Really, it’s clear. Finally, I have a set of phrases and a task to finish this set of phrases. That is, roughly speaking, there are two-three words and ellipsis here, and you should finish them. Finish as you see fit. With a word, with one sentence, with a story, as you wish. Well, the first one: «I am …»

Denis Yavnuk: I am a wonk.

Artem Berman: All right.

Denis Yavnuk: Freak. Freak is more correct.

Artem Berman: Okay, The second one, “Before the trauma I was…” It’s not a trauma, but diagnosis, and it’s from the early childhood. If, relatively speaking, you remember, “Before my condition or before my diagnosis I was…” Or you don’t remember what was before at all.

Denis Yavnuk: I was the same person as I was before.

Artem Berman: Okay. I see. The next, “I can…” or “I am able to…”

Denis Yavnuk: I can be useful.

Artem Berman: Okay. The next, «I future I see myself…»

Denis Yavnuk: As a person that lives in balance.

Artem Berman: Okay. «I am afraid…»

Denis Yavnuk: that I won’t have enough time to work.

Artem Berman: And the last one, «I want …»

Denis Yavnuk: that people would be more kind to each other.

Artem Berman: Okay, I understood you. That will be it. Thanks for your time!

Denis Yavnuk: Thank you very much.

Artem Berman: Thank you very much.

Denis Yavnuk: Keep in touch.

Artem Berman: Yes, keep in touch.