Florian Malecki is based in France, near Geneva, but often finds himself in the Emirates for work. On a recent trip to Dubai, he talked about how he sheds the stress of his day job as the senior product marketing manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at SonicWALL, an internet security company.
Q: How regularly are you travelling for work?
A: In a given month, 70 per cent of my time I would be abroad.
Q: Do you end up having long days at the office?
A: Yeah, when I'm travelling, it means a lot of partner, customer and prospect meetings. Of course, you still have to do the admin side of your job, which means you have long hours after your meetings.
Q: What's one way you unwind?
A: I live close to Geneva, on the French side, and this is very close to the mountains. During the winter season I will go skiing, or hiking as well, because you can hike even though there's some snow. You just need to be a little more careful.
Q: How else do you de-stress?
A: I try to run two or three times a week, [so as to] not get too big and still fit into my five-year-old trousers. I like the outdoors: mountain biking. I live in a pretty cool region [with] three big lakes … so any water activities like swimming or water skiing I do as well.
Q: So are you a better skier on water or snow?
A: On snow. I started skiing on snow when I was six years old, and since then I've been skiing pretty regularly… because I come to Dubai quite often, I take the chance to ski at the Mall of the Emirates.
Q: How is that?
A: It's fun. If you know you're going to ski in France, Austria, Switzerland or Germany, and you just need to go back to it for exercising for a couple of hours, it's very good. Or, if you want to learn, or are on a business trip and have two hours to spare, it's a very enjoyable experience.
Q: Have you gone to keep your own skills fresh for whenever there isn't snow on the ground back home?
A: No, not really, because after a while it's like biking: you learn when you are maybe three or four years old, and that's just something that doesn't disappear.
Q: What are some of the benefits you've found with all this activity?
A: Practice in sports works for me, because whether I'm running or on the bike, I forget work. It's very important to relieve all that pressure at work and let it go. I think some managers or key executives, if they don't have a hobby outside of work, would probably burn out very quickly. When you are there preparing for a hike, [and] there's a summit 2,500 metres high, you know you're going to go up for three to four hours and suffer. It's so rewarding when you reach the top. Again, it's like work: it's very rewarding in that you achieved a goal, and it's a fight against yourself.