Talking head
Burlington Ruby 2013

This presentation, by Nick Cox, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0

Ruby developers enjoy a certain job security, despite the current economic climate in the United States and elsewhere. Yet with the proliferation of technologies and startups (and subsequently jobs), the quality of life of many developers has seen a marked decrease in recent years. In an industry in which working 60+ hour weeks is seen as a status symbol, and many companies are offering incentives to remain at work in the guise of perks and benefits, it can be difficult for software developers to achieve a sustainable work-life balance. Further, developers often spend a great deal of time outside of business hours working on side projects, and consequently, many promising careers can lead to immense stress and, ultimately, burnout. How, as developers, can we work toward a healthier lifestyle? How might devoting time to rest lead to increased productivity at work and greater psychological and physical well-being at home? Finally, how can we practically rest in ways that lead to more lasting benefits than just sitting in our pajamas on Saturday morning and sorting through our Twitter feeds? Drawing from recent developments in the fields of psychology and cognitive neuroscience, we will explore a physiological basis for the relationship between work and relaxation, as well as specific, practical exercises to achieve an optimal equilibrium between work performance and emotional health. Nick Cox is a therapist and Ruby developer. Holding a master's degree in counseling psychology from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, Nick currently works as a Rails developer at Navigating Cancer, a biotech startup devoted to transforming the healthcare industry though patient centered care. He is most interested in the inner workings of human interaction, whether through the medium of computer language or human language. As a designer and developer, he occasionally writes typographic essays on his blog at, is a frequent guest contributor to the Typekit blog, and is a passionate open source contributor, including contributions to Rails, Code Triage, and 24 Pull Requests.

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