How I Work Project

How I Work #5: Dianah in Turkey

Welcome to another installment of How I Work!

How I Work #5 introduces Dianah Kacunguzi, 35, a PhD candidate at the iSchool at the University of Illinois. Her dissertation research focuses on heritage informatics and she has also taught courses both at the graduate and undergraduate level.

Dianah currently lives in Ankara, Turkey with her husband, on assignment as a Ugandan diplomat, and three children, ages 12, 10, and 6. She writes, “I love adventure mostly traveling, and discovering new places like islands, ancient historical places, natural sites, and beautiful holiday destinations. Cooking and gardening are definitely my newfound love. I would like to try out photography because I think cameras love me :-).

“How can I forget to mention shopping! I can do it all day. I don’t mind reading, going to the movies/concerts if I have good company.  My friends describe me as organized, fun, caring, loyal, spunky, and fashionable. I think I believe most of what they say :-).”

Dianah and I met at the Illinois iSchool almost two years ago, and I can vouch for her reputation. Always five minutes early and impeccably dressed, Dianah is an inspiration and role model for all professionals and working mothers. When we co-taught an undergraduate social informatics course together, she balanced my impatience and indignation (they were 20-year-olds, after all) with her dignity and aplomb. Read on for Dianah’s thoughts on how the coronavirus has affected how she works.

How has the pandemic changed your job and how you work?

Dianah at her new work space in the guest room

Prior to the pandemic, I used to do most of my research at the National Library of Turkey, but I am now basically home-bound. Working from home is not the easiest thing to do if every member of your household is under lockdown. It is fun to engage in boardgames, making clothes for Barbie, bunnies out of toilet paper rolls, etc., but it leaves little room for me to do academic writing.

What have you done to adjust?

I have created two workspaces, one in our guest room and another in the living room, to accommodate online classes for the kids and foster productivity. I also drafted and implemented a working schedule for everyone at home.

How will these changes affect how you work in the future?

Dianah created work spaces in the family’s apartment in Ankara, Turkey

Well, the workstations will still be useful post COVID-19. I anticipate doing a lot of writing in future; the current situation is setting me up for that purpose already.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned or encountered during this time?

Crafts – what Dianah calls ” lockdown creativity” – keep the kids, ages 12, 10, and 6, entertained

I have learned that the only constant is the virus; everything else at least within the confines of my home has to go on. So, with a 24-hour curfew, we have had to be extra creative to maintain a certain level of sanity.

I am proud to say that I have discovered all the hidden talents in every member of my household. I have also learned the importance of having a weekly schedule; it brings order to chaos if followed to a T!

Many thanks to Dianah for sharing her experience and insights and for supporting the How I Work Project!

What changes have you made to adjust to life and work during coronavirus?

Merci for reading and please subscribe and share!

À votre santé,


About the How I Work Project

The How I Work series on Joie de Vivre highlights how women around the world are adjusting, coping, and working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. It features professionals living in Australia, Turkey, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, and the United States (from Detroit and Chicago to Alabama and Vermont).

Whether full-time or part-time, entry-level or retired, a student or a stay-at-home parent or an entrepreneur, we are working. And we all have something to share about how the pandemic effects our daily lives.

Sharing individual insights in a positive, constructive space creates a supportive digital community as we weather the storm of COVID-19 together. It also sheds light on the new normal of the collective lived experience of working during the time of coronavirus.

4 thoughts on “How I Work #5: Dianah in Turkey”

  1. I admire you Dianah, it is not easy to work when you also have an attention-asking household and I love how you shared the pics of your creative work!

    Liked by 1 person


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