After 26 years of working at Stratus Technologies John Van Buskirk has learned a thing or two about being patient, taking control and accepting change – a lot of which he’s taken from yoga. In celebration of International Day of Yoga, we talked to John to understand how the practice has affected his role at Stratus.
What led you on the engineering path? Was it something you knew you wanted to do as a kid or teenager?
Not exactly – though as a kid I was mechanically inclined. I’ve always had a nature to pull things apart and put them back together again. And when I was choosing my career path, the computing industry was really taking off. So, it was thinking back to my childhood that ultimately helped make my decision.
What was your career journey before joining Stratus and can you tell us more about your current role on the team?
Before coming to Stratus, I had many jobs and wore many hats. Growing up my family owned a diner in the town of Hudson – Hudson Diner – where I worked from the age of 14 all the way into high school as a waiter and then a short order cook. Once I graduated, I had various manufacturing jobs until I became restless and decided it wasn’t for me. Then I choose to go back to school, attending Nichols College where I majored in computer science.
Currently at Stratus, I primarily work in the Windows Development space, but once again I’m wearing many different hats. I work as a release engineer for Windows, taking care of all the builds and processes to get the product out the door. This pertains to many things like changing the orders of the ECOs, testing the builds, etc. I also work as a sidekick for the legacy databases. I’ve worked with VOS to QA to eventually the products we have going out now, like the ftServer and ztC Edge.
What’s the most exciting part of working with and on Stratus solutions? What gets you pumped on most days?
What really motivates me is sorting out any customer issue. From a young age, it’s stuck with me to always keep the customer happy. And, of course, with my mother always telling me “the customer’s always right!” it is something that I still take very seriously.
We understand you practice yoga at Stratus! When did you start doing yoga and what led you to bring that expertise to the office?
I first was introduced to yoga years back when Stratus provided classes at the previous building. At the time I was reaching that nice age of 40-something, and because I was sitting at a desk all day, I felt like I needed to become more active. The yoga instructor at the time was Rich Chapelle, who really opened my eyes to the benefits of yoga. I found that I left each class feeling really good.
When they stopped holding the classes, I decided to continue on my own. I went from doing it two times a week to daily. When we came to the new building, though there’s little space, I kept it going and now a few others have joined.
The benefits of yoga are what enticed me to keep practicing. It’s been a wonderful stress-reliever for me and helps me clear my head and keep me grounded. There could be so much chaos around me but with yoga, it’s much easier to tune out. Also, my yoga partner, Mo, has even told me his back problems has improved tremendously.
What kind of lessons do you think you’ve learned from yoga along the way – anything that would be applicable to your day-to-day work?
A big lesson it’s taught me has been to accept change, which is easy to say but can be extremely difficult to do. There are postures in yoga where some are easier than others. For me, I’ve found that the postures I don’t like are the ones I need to focus on.
Change is always applicable to my day-to-day work. I’m constantly pulled into different things and helping out where needed. Change can be tough, but I welcome it.