Everyone at the Table
Everyone at the Table is a series that explores everyday topics from the perspective of people... with different perspectives!
Good morning from New York City and welcome to everyone at the table. I am Hady Mendez, your host and the global lead for Cloudflare's Latinx employee resource group.
Everyone at the table is a series that brings together people from around the company to explore everyday topics from the perspective of people with different perspectives.
To make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to speak and have their voice heard, I will be serving as the moderator.
As a reminder to all of our viewers, we will be taking your questions at live studio at Cloudflare.tv.
Today on our show, we invited employees from around the company to talk about the impact of COVID-19 on families, communities and much more.
I personally have been looking forward to today's conversation.
As return viewers know, I have been quarantined on my own here in New York City since late February.
I am very interested to hear about how families and communities outside of my own are coping with the virus.
Panel, welcome to our show. Let's start off by having you share your name, your job title and what office you work in.
Jen, would you like to get us started?
Jen Langdon Absolutely. I am Jen Langdon. I am engineering director at Cloudflare.
I joined in April 2019. Based in London, I am responsible for overseeing development of a number of the company's security products, such as the firewall that allows our customers to manage rules, to control what traffic they have, as well as our frontline platform that manages the requests that come into the Cloudflare network.
Awesome. You are a VIP, so I am glad you are doing well, Jen, and welcome to the program.
All right. Alex, do you want to tell us a little bit about who you are?
Alex Mayorgadame Yes. Hi, my name is Alex Mayorgadame. I am a technical support engineer for Cloudflare, working from the Austin office.
I joined Cloudflare in April 2018.
What I do is try to help people when things go wrong. Jen Langdon Yes, you are another VIP.
We want to treat that. We are happy that our customer support team is doing well and keeping so busy right now because a lot of our customers need us.
So, thanks, Alex. Magoza, would you like to go next? Magoza Taramiller Hi.
Hi, guys. My name is Magoza Taramiller. I am EMEA counsel, so I am heading legal team for EMEA here in London.
We have location around Europe at the moment, in France, Germany, as well in Lisbon and in Brussels.
So, this is the jurisdiction I am dealing with, with help of some of my colleagues in legal team and policy team.
And yeah, I am supporting the business in EMEA to get things right on the paper and off the paper.
Jen Langdon Great. Thank you so much, Magoza. Welcome to the show.
And, Eddie, you are up next. Ed Palmer I work out of San Francisco, IT services analyst, which is just fancy for professional geek.
Basically, I make sure with my team that everyone can do their jobs.
So, you know, from equipment to application support, even on the backend access, just everything.
So, especially during this working from home, you know, coffee gets spilled on a laptop, laptops die.
You know, we're there to fix it and get everything going. Jen Langdon Yeah. And you guys have been so instrumental with all of like our new employees and, you know, so all of the people that are onboarding as well as the summer interns.
Thanks, Eddie. Ed Palmer You're welcome. Jen Langdon Appreciate your efforts and welcome to the show.
So, I want to start off with like a super simple question.
I'm going to try to answer it first, but I'm going to give you a couple minutes to think about it.
But I'm kind of curious to hear from all of you about what your life was like before COVID-19.
And I get like a little, I don't know, misty eyed when I think about that, even myself, to be honest with you, because I don't I don't think life will ever be the same.
And just to even think about that, how it was and, you know, how it probably it may never be that way again.
It's just, you know, kind of puts me in a sort of an emotional state.
But for me, life, you know, in some ways, life isn't that different.
So and, you know, when I say that kind of people look at me cross eyed, but, you know, I commuted to the office and I saw people in real life.
So, I mean, obviously, that's materially different than just being on video with people during the day.
But otherwise, you know, after work, I spend most of my evenings at home.
On the weekends, I usually wouldn't go out unless I was like, photographing street art, which I still get to do now.
So I didn't do that for a little while, but I still get to do that now.
So, so, um, some things are different.
Like I haven't been on a subway in New York City subway since probably February-ish timeframe.
Spending a lot more time walking around crossing bridges on by foot.
But I'm curious to hear what life was like for you.
So Alex, why don't you start us off and tell us a little bit about what pre-COVID life was like for Alex?
Yeah, so Alex, as we joke, used to be also a professional border crosser.
What that meant is that my family was yet to move to Austin.
So we live in the Monterey metro area. So I will come down and visit my family, like maybe once a month.
And that's something that I no longer have to do because I came down to Mexico to renew my visa on actually February the 29th.
I had to leave the United States. So I came down to renew my visa.
And I, I, the plan, the original plan is that I will spend maybe two weeks here with the family and then head back.
But then, uh, the whole COVID situation started.
So no more going back. So in a way, um, I do miss my coworkers and I do miss going to the office so much, but for me, it was kind of a, a lucky thing because I got to get stuck with my family.
We have been on March 200 something since then, not going out, not leaving the door.
Yeah, like a bit of a blessing in disguise.
I bet your kids like it. Yeah, they love it. Everyone is at the table. I love that.
Um, Mangosha, what was like, what was life like for you before COVID -19?
So I guess my situation was slightly particular because I was just coming back from maternity leave when lockdown hit in the UK.
Um, so it was slightly strange transition going back to work after having my first kid, um, Zoe, and, uh, trying to get back to my normal, what I thought it's supposed to be.
And instead of going back to the office, working with people, get up to speed.
So that was the new reality that we are working from home that, uh, suddenly my husband becoming my, um, uh, coworker, we share the office.
Then we decided that actually Zoe, because we, uh, we were, um, uh, thinking that to send her to nursery, um, after a month I'm back at work.
Uh, but, um, that obviously was not possible any longer because the nurseries has been closed down.
So we were all stuck as three coworkers at a very different skillset and professionalism in the same room, sharing the space 24 seven.
How old is Zoe by the way?
Zoe is just over one now. So when I got back, she was about eight months old.
So she was just at the stage of crawling. So then we had to buy for her, her own office space, which was a play pen, which we called cage, which is not baby friendly, which my husband was refusing to call it, but that's basically what it's it's serve us.
So she cannot just crawl over the whole flat and we could just still keep control what is going on here.
Um, and then it was as well, we used to just, uh, we had obviously holidays plan.
We supposed to see my family.
So I'm originally Polish, but how my family is back home in Poland. Uh, my husband is, uh, English and his family's here, but we plan obviously visit as well at some point between, uh, April and now to go back home.
So we had to cancel those.
Um, and that's especially hard to us, especially for grandparents as well, because now the only reality they know with a kid with the grandchild is via video.
And at this age, they change so much and they don't fully understand the video as well.
Um, so it has its own challenges and it's a, a, a little bit sad that they are missing out on this development and growth.
So, um, yeah, so pre pre COVID it was life with a child and, uh, this is what I was focusing on.
And, uh, I guess that's what, what, uh, slightly changed that it was now child and work still pretty much the same space, the same people around.
So, wow. Yeah. Um, I feel for your, for the, for the grandparents, that's like breaks my heart.
You know what you said is so true that the children change so much when, when they're growing.
So that is really sad. Thank you for sharing that. Eddie, um, what was like life for you before COVID-19?
Um, pretty similar to what everyone's been saying so far.
Um, I've been coaching baseball, geez, for about 13 years. And so it was just gearing up for another baseball season.
Uh, my daughter was starting her junior year in high school.
Uh, my son was just wrapping up soccer. So it was, you know, it was just another, another year of coaching baseball, uh, coaching soccer, uh, you know, uh, and again with the grandparents, you know, we, we go up to Sacramento and visit their grandparents like every few weeks, um, and just seeing family and everything.
And, and then when the, uh, shelter in place started, uh, I had no idea.
And, you know, we had no idea that it would be this long and, uh, just getting, you know, as, as the, uh, shelter in place increased, um, you know, once we got past the toilet paper panic and all that, um, it, it just got to where we didn't get to see family that we were used to seeing all the time.
And, you know, um, psychologically and emotionally, you know, the kids, uh, were having a hard time with it, you know, um, they still kind of are, uh, that, you know, my son's very social, likes to hang out with his friends, likes to play, you know, um, was all geared up for our final middle school baseball season.
And, uh, you know, that's been on hold and it's just, it's just been rugged, you know, my, my daughter is a home body anyway, but even she's like missing her friends and everything.
So, uh, work-wise, you know, um, get on the train, go to work, come home, get on the train, go to work, come home.
Uh, I mean, and, you know, I'm not going anywhere near a train, but, uh, you know, that part of it changed.
Um, yeah. Yeah. Thanks for sharing Eddie.
Appreciate that. Um, so Jen, how about you? What, what, what was it, what were things like for you before COVID hit?
Yeah. I mean, probably no different to so many other people, but, but hugely different, right?
I've always been the parent in our family to work full time life before COVID was around being in an office five days a week.
Uh, the remainder of the time was proper quality time with my three young children.
Um, I definitely felt like for the most part, I had a healthy separation between the two, um, you know, between sort of my career, which is important, but also time with my children and then, uh, the worlds might've collided just a little bit.
Just, just a tad. Just a little bit. They might've collided just a little bit.
Yeah. Yeah. Um, I'm not a mom. I'm not a parent. I don't even have a pet, but I can't imagine what it's been like for parents right now.
I just, I just, I can't even fathom it.
So I'm really, I want to dig in more to hearing about what your experiences have been like firsthand.
Um, so let's talk a little bit, I guess let's switch gears and let's talk about, I think you, you've all started to talk a little bit about what COVID life has been like in your home and family, but maybe we could hear a little bit more.
Let's hear some more stories about like how conference calls work out and what, what, uh, I don't know, like cooking meals and things like that.
I'm very curious to hear what that's been like.
And, um, especially with the little ones, but also, you know, like Eddie, I'm really curious to hear too, about like, with your older, even the older children, like your high school child, you know, that's a lot of heaviness, you know, that's kind of present and you have to deal with that and they're there and you know, they're having a hard time.
And I know as parents, that was like, it'd be really hard to see, to watch that.
And, you know, you're having to, you know, console them and find a way to, to make them feel better.
So, so Magosha, we're going to start with you this time.
Um, give us, tell us a little bit, paint the picture for us, make us see what's happening in your house a little bit.
Uh, yes, I already started.
I just realized that I barely remember pre-COVID world and I'm very much integrated in the new normal.
Um, so yeah, as, as I mentioned, because what we have realized, how important is the space and the separation between work, family and life outside of both.
And that has been turned upside down a little bit.
Uh, partially it was, um, because we obviously had a little one, so we appreciated at the beginning, it was a little bit, oh, wow, we have more time we can spend with Zoe.
She's little. So we are so happy that the breaks that we can take during a day between the work, the calls, that we can spend those little times with her.
Um, but I think after, as we expected, it might take a bit longer than just a few weeks.
So we got ready at home. Um, so actually proactively before the lockdown, we went to the office and pick up screen computers, printer that we are well set up, um, at home, including actually our office chairs as well.
My husband actually went separately because his office was closer and we were like, we just can't sit on a table, like our dining table chairs for the rest of a few months that we're going to, well, now the rest of the year.
So we just wanted to make sure that we are comfortable enough, enough with our setup, but, uh, as well, what, what I realized what happened a little bit instead of quality family time, we change into quantity over quality.
So you sort of spend time because you are constantly in the same space together, but it's not a quality and there is no time for breaks because even the breaks, especially with with Zoe as the beginning.
So it's still the same needs that she, she needs.
So whether it's changing, whether it's to play with her a little bit, entertain her, she does as every month, she does requires more and more attention from us because frankly, she is bored.
She is now, when she sees people outside, she crossed them because she's like, I don't want your faces it's like, I've got you 24 seven.
I want other people. Um, so she's so excited.
Um, and, uh, what, uh, we realized after three months, because we were on the point of exhaustions, both with my husband, when there was no break, the break is just to make sure sometime with her, putting her to bed to continue to work.
If you didn't manage to finish everything, then you work over the weekend.
So there we started not having a break for mental health and physically as well.
Like we are quite active couple and then was shut down as well for us. So physically we're not taking care of ourselves as well.
Um, so that all accumulates and, uh, once the lockdown was slightly East off here.
So we were lucky then in the last few weeks, we managed to find the nanny to share with our neighbors.
Thanks for sharing that. That just sounds like a lot. So thank you for sharing Eddie.
How about you? What's what's going on at home for you and within your family, you, you also kind of alluded to that a little bit, anything else you wanted to share?
Well, I mean, you know, not being able to see family is really hard.
Um, last week, um, uh, try to talk about it, but last week, uh, my, um, my wife's auntie got COVID and she passed away, um, in Sacramento and yeah, it it's, I don't, I, yeah, I won't go into too many details, but, um, you know, we're dealing with not being able to have a funeral and, you know, um, so trying to explain that, you know, to the kids, I mean, you know, my kids are pretty, they don't, they don't express like, you know, the teenager and everything, you know, you, you ask them, well, how are you feeling about, you know, how are you feeling?
And it's, it's essentially, oh, nothing's wrong.
Everything's fine. You know, um, but you know, the toughest part during, you know, before all of this happened before, you know, the, the impact of not seeing family, you know, with school and school is the hardest part.
You know, I, my son had a really hard time. He's a tactile learner.
He's a, he learns by watching other people do stuff. And he, um, had two teachers that just, you know, that weren't viable to teach remote, you know, granted it was a hard challenge for them.
My daughter, she flourished because she hates going to school, but she, you know, she does well in school.
So it was, it was definitely, definitely a mix.
Um, I hear you. Um, thanks. Thanks Eddie. Thanks for sharing that.
Um, Alex, did you want to contribute anything in terms of how COVID has affected your family or even like your community?
Uh, yeah, well, so the family is generally doing okay.
My main concern is like both my father and my little sister, they are medical professionals.
So that, that worries me that they will get the and not be okay.
Um, for us, I also worry selfishly about myself because I'm the sole provider at my family and my close family.
So I basically don't go out the door out of being afraid of catching the thing.
And as for the community, um, just a couple of weeks ago, like somebody close to the family, uh, her mother got COVID and she passed away.
And she also has like a daughter that has the disease. So for me, it's like, is that thing on the back of your head that like, you are afraid of something that you cannot actually see or pretty much understand.
And on the family dynamics is like literally everyone at the table, because like Malgosia said, um, my office is currently in my dining room table.
And that's also my son's classroom.
And that's also where my daughter it's like eating snacks and doing daycare sometimes from an iPad or, you know, a tablet or a cell phone.
Um, and it's where my wife tries to do like crafts to keep her mind away. So in that sense is pretty nice because everybody's together really close, but that also brings frictions and we have like to overly communicate.
Um, as for the cool thing that happens is that now I can explain it.
Like I'm seven when I'm dealing with a technical problem.
So my son is right next to me and he's telling me that you look, uh, like very confused with that.
Explain it to me. And then when I explain it to him, we come to the solution quicker.
And he also is like my ergonomics, uh, assistant, because he's now learning to touch type, uh, via website that my wife found and they touch on ergonomics all the time.
So he's like that you're slouching that sit correctly that your elbows are wrong.
So that's good.
I love it. What's his name? He's good. We're gonna have to hire him. His name is Alec.
Oh, his name is Alec. Okay, great. Good to hear. Thanks for sharing. Jen, I'm sorry.
I skipped over you. I meant to include you earlier. Tell us a little bit about how things are in your home family community as it relates to COVID.
Yeah, so sure. I mean, it's been a huge transition, I think, as it has been for everybody.
Um, I've always been, um, at least in our family, um, the parent that worked, uh, full time life before, uh, COVID was around being at an office five days a week.
Uh, the remainder of time was spent in with very quality time with my three children.
Um, I definitely felt like at least for the most part, I've got that right.
Right. As I mentioned before, um, it's been a really tough transition for everyone.
When my, I have my children, I have them 50% of the time. I'm a single parent.
Uh, my twins are nine, my son is three. And suddenly we're at home full time struggling to adapt to the changes in life.
Um, and I think that was all of us, honestly, that's that, that wasn't just me.
Uh, I think my daughters struggled massively.
My son is actually deemed high risk, um, which made it a little bit more complicated.
My older daughters really struggled with their identity of not, uh, being in school, being with their friends, um, having that kind of structure.
And suddenly I was their teacher, carer, parent, as well as managing a full-time job.
It put a huge strain honestly, on all of us, I think. Wow.
Thank you guys so much for your honesty and your candor sharing these stories.
Cause I got other problems, but I don't have any of these problems. And I, I, you know, I feel very, you, you, you're making me feel grateful for that.
And also, you know, my, like, my thoughts are with you.
Um, I, I, I can feel your, you know, the pain.
So, so thank you so much for sharing that. I think we're only going to have time for one more question, but I have to ask you, what are some valuable lessons that you have personally learned from this experience?
I mean, you know, I feel like I've learned a lot about how people handle stressful situations very differently and that, you know, in the end you have to decide for yourself kind of what's best for you during a crisis, you know, like when push comes to shove, you, you know, best.
And I think also that I've also come to appreciate, and we're probably not going to talk, get to talk too much about that here, but even though all of us, not only here across the company, across the country, across the world are having, are going through the same experience, we're not experiencing it the same way.
That has become abundantly clear for a variety of reasons. And so just like, I'm appreciating that, you know, just by, I get to work from home that, that in and of itself is like such a privilege that a lot of people don't have.
Um, so many people don't even have jobs anymore.
So, so tell, tell me a little bit about what are some valuable lessons that you may have learned, um, over the last few months, Jen, why don't you start us off this time?
Yeah, sure. I think, um, this has probably been the most, uh, poignant point for me, if I'm, if I'm honest, I think that, um, I've had to learn that in these, in these circumstances, redefining what a good day looks like for me, um, is okay.
At the beginning, I would feel terrible if my twin's homework wasn't done.
If I hadn't played my son for a bit, if I hadn't got all my work done, um, if my calls were interrupted, which by the way is a very frequent occurrence.
Um, uh, I felt like I was always failing, even my children or my colleagues, um, that stresses is truly overwhelming.
It was actually my manager that said, uh, slow down, like take a second, redefine what that means, um, and try and be a bit kinder to yourself.
And that has actually made a huge difference to me.
I'm clapping because that is a good manager.
Right. Excellent. Thank you, Jen. Thank you for sharing. Um, Magosha, how about you?
Uh, anything come to mind in terms of lessons, um, or something personal you, you gleaned from this experience?
So I think the main lesson for me is don't take things for granted.
So for example, traveling, seeing your family or friends, this has been all taken away to a certain extent, uh, especially if family doesn't live close by that you can access them easily.
So that's definitely a hardship of, on everyone.
And, uh, as well, you need to balance your life, like the way you do things you, you need to know you are responsible because you don't have anyone watching your day.
So it's you who needs to make those calls. Yeah, absolutely.
Thank you. That's so true. Appreciate that. Alex, how about you? Yeah.
So for me, I think it's count your blessings, uh, because as you said, we're lucky to work from home.
We are not risking our lives in an essential situation basically, but I mean, yeah, we keep the Internet running for a lot of folks, but that's something we, thanks to the Internet itself, we managed to do from home.
So I guess my takeaway is kind of like the motto that we have put in a video recently, we were built for this and we are going to overcome this and whatever else they throw at us.
So just, I guess, stay strong and be happy. Thanks, Alex. Appreciate that.
Eddie, want to close us out? Uh, sure. Um, I mean, you know, you never really know what you're capable of, uh, adjusting to until you're thrown into the situation.
And I think the biggest lesson that, um, I've learned is perseverance, patience, um, you know, and, uh, teaching my children, um, that, you know, there's always an end to, you know, every journey and, uh, things will get better soon.
We just have to, to, uh, you know, we just have to keep moving on and doing our best with what we got.
And, uh, yeah, you know, and I've already seen it starting to develop, you know, it's, it's, uh, yeah.
And as, as far as like working, uh, you know, at Cloudflare, it's the same thing.
I don't know if everyone has experienced it, but I find that I work harder and I work more when I'm at home, you know, uh, probably because, you know, there's so much more to do and, and the energy of keeping everything going is an extremely powerful motivator.
Absolutely. Thanks for sharing.
Hey guys, thanks so much for coming onto the show. Up next, please join us for more Cloudflare to our viewers.
And once again, thank you for joining us, joining us at Everyone at the Table.
Thank you. you