Originally aired on March 30, 2021 @ 1:30 PM - 2:00 PM EDT
Join Amy as she provides you with a sneak peek into how the Cloudflare Team has been doing with the transition from daily office life to working from home. How is the team adapting to the shift? What do they miss and not miss about office life? What snacks are they eating? How has it been sharing a workspace with family or housemates? Tune in to find out!
This week's guest: Angela Huang
Good morning. Welcome to Cloudflare TV. I am Amy Bibeau and today we have from our customer success team, Angela Huang. Angela, welcome. Thank you for having me, Amy. I'm excited to be here. Thanks for being here. You have just come off a very busy month for Women's Empowerment Month at Cloudflare. So welcome to my show to close it out. How's that been going? It was a really big month to hear exactly what you said, but it was very, very exciting. Honestly, it's the first one that I've been involved with because when I first joined Womenflare at Cloudflare, it was just last year right before quarantine and we had our International Women's Day celebrations in the office and I was involved but not quite to the degree that I was this year. So this year was the first time it was just full-fledged beginning to end and it was a lot. It was a lot, but we didn't do it alone and there was a lot of participation and work and all of it was worth it. Like we've just gotten phenomenal feedback about all of our events and initiatives. We've had a great amount of participation at all levels on all platforms and I really am starting to see the ripple effect of that, which has been really, really nice. So I'm very excited. I'm a little sad that the month is coming to a close, but everything that we're doing extends beyond March, right? Like it's meant to kind of like build some thought around it and have it be something that we continue to do forever. Do you feel more empowered now at the end of the month than you did at the beginning of the month? Absolutely. Absolutely. I do too. I honestly feel more empowered. I watched a lot of the talks that we had this month and I feel like it was helpful. Like I honestly was like listening to a lot of interesting talks and I had been going through a period of lack of motivation as an extrovert. It's been really kind of wearing on me like, you know, death by a thousand, you know, cuts, you know, during this COVID thing. And maybe it's, you know, also we get spring, the days are getting longer, but I actually feel more like empowered to be more motivated. And I think that it was helpful for me personally. So yeah, absolutely. I think it's hard sometimes because we have so many things we juggle. I mean, we have our usual kind of modes of decompression that we have available to us that haven't been available to us in the last year plus. And being able to do all that just on a personal level, I think for me personally, at least, it tends to kind of create a little bubble effect for me. And it takes events and initiatives like this, where we build community and we bring everybody together and we get to hear from others that encourage us to kind of step out of that bubble a little bit or a lot. And so that's been really exciting to see, I think. And I've worked with some tremendously talented women like you as a result of this month. So how can I not be grateful? Yeah, well, thank you. Thank you for all the effort and the engagement and to all the women and at Cloudflare. It's been a great month. So yeah, just, I mean, I think we have great leadership represented. It was so cool to see all Michelle's segments. She really stepped up and did so many more of the yes, we can interview. It's so cool how much new content kind of got generated for Cloudflare TV. Obviously, last year when we did Women's Empowerment Month, we didn't even have Cloudflare TV. So now it's like, look at all the, like how things are just blossoming. So it's pretty awesome. So just circling back to the show, how has it been going for you the last year working from home? It's been a journey, I think is what I'll call it nicely. A little bit of a rollercoaster journey. I mean, if I think back to the early days of everybody kind of pandemic shopping and just filling their cupboards with everything and hoarding toilet paper to, you know, Tiger King. You remember that? I watched that. You know, and just with everything that was going on in the world and the rollercoaster of emotions, it's just, it's been a lot. I mean, I wouldn't, it's kind of weird to say that I wouldn't take any of it back because I definitely view anything that we come up against, any challenges in life, as being like opportunities to grow, good or bad. So, I mean, is there some stuff I would do a little differently knowing what I know now? Knowing that we would be in this for a year plus versus like, oh, it'll be done in like two months, right? Like one month. You're going to go back to the office. Exactly, right? Like, so there are some things I would do differently knowing what I know now, but I think it's been a huge opportunity to kind of like grow in all different kinds of ways. So, I'm doing okay now. I think it's, you know, the weather's starting to lighten up. We're getting more sunshine. I think, you know, they've opened up kind of being able to meet with people outside. And so I've been taking a little advantage of that, but that, to your point earlier, just kind of helps me keep my sanity a bit. You know, my social side craves it. And so I wasn't doing as well with that under quarantine. Yeah. It's been rugged, you know, like all the time alone, like, you know, as a person who lives alone, like I don't have a family. So it's like, you don't have that, you know, we don't have those struggles, right? Like you and I don't have children. So we weren't having to like, you know, educate our kids from home while doing a full-time job. And again, always shouting out to all the parents, you know, who are watching, you know, I have empathy for how like much of a challenge that must be like, as a person who always kind of wanted my own family. And like, I go through these things where I'm like, where's my kids? And right now I'm just like, okay, well, I'm not that sad at this moment that I don't have that extra responsibility, but then it would also be a tether to some sort of normalcy if you did have a family, you know what I mean? You would still, you would have that community. You wouldn't go through that like isolation journey that probably you and I went through where, you know, there's that time like back in last July that you didn't even want to leave the house or talk to anyone or see anyone, you know, like, and, and like, I can say from the food hoarding, I was never a food hoarder, but I have a lot of quinoa that I bought at the beginning of this. And like, I just don't eat that much quinoa, but I always think I'm going to. So like, I have a lot of quinoa at home. Do you have anything like left that you like kind of like stocked up on, but then you don't really go for? I think I stocked up on a lot of pasta. So now I'm just eating a lot of pasta. Now that I realize I didn't have to hoard that much of it, but I will say, I mean, it's been a blessing to have Trader Joe's just like a block and a half down from where I live. And there was some cinnamon croissant bread that got me through some tough times. Let me just say that. So, but I think I'm getting better. I'm starting to kind of go through this stuff that I had, I had packed in thinking it wasn't going to be able to shop or there's going to be shortages. Well, looking at what's happening now in the Suez Canal, we can see that supply chain disruptions, you know, can happen, you know, be it the pandemic, you know, be it the wind, you know, like that they're blaming on that ship getting stuck. I heard it's unstuck now. So is it unstuck? Oh, yeah. I mean, imagine that guy, like he was having a bad day. Like imagine being the guy who made the choice to, you know, to like, it's, you know, it's like I've caused good luck before, you know, like in San Francisco trying to, you know, but not like that. So anyway. So what's the thing that you've been missing the most about going in to the office? I mean, I really think it's the people. It's kind of the same answer that I give to people when they say what's the best part about working for Cloudflare. I feel like we hire tremendous individuals, and I miss interfacing with all of them. Being able to have those hallway conversations like little chit chats as you decide if you want, you know, chocolate covered almonds, or if you want some Cheetos, I don't know. Debating like La Croix like flavors or getting your coffee. It's just those little touch points that I think the social side of me kind of craves that I just haven't been getting because I do, like you said earlier, kind of live alone. And there were periods of time where we were on total lockdown. And I can only get that through Zoom, and you get Zoom fatigue, right? And there's just all those things to take into account. So I miss the people. I miss being able to just chat with them, have coffee with them. I went into the office recently to pick up my things, and it was just so surreal being back. I hadn't been back since March. Right? A lot of people haven't. You know, people are like, I'm like, hey, come pick up your stuff. They're like, I left the city. I'm gone. I'm like, okay, well, we have your stuff. You know, it's crazy. Like a whole year. Like it just went by so, so fast. Did you start any new hobbies or like, you know, did you do have a quarantine like hobby that you started? I mean, I've been dabbling in a lot of different things, I think, just to kind of make sure that I had a variety of things to do. So I started watercolor classes. There are some online watercolor classes. I mean, I've never really been, I've always wanted to get started in meditation. Right? And so I think this past year has definitely been, there's been more mindful kind of guided meditations than I've ever done in the past for a variety of reasons. And just like kind of reading and staying in contact with my friends, that's been a really big thing because we don't have that in-person, the ability to kind of talk with people in person. I have now like regular weekly Zoom calls with friends that, you know, in previous years, I would catch up with every once in a while because everybody has their lives and their family. And now we talk every week. So it's been kind of like a benefit to all of this COVID quarantine pandemic. So I'm grateful for that. And I'm going to keep doing that for as long as it makes sense for everyone. So. Right. So more like, because it's like, we have to try harder to get that connection. So like you make that more concerted effort. And yeah, so there has, you know, I think one of the things COVID or this pandemic has showed us is just like, well, what do we value? Like how, how are our values like showing up in our lives? Like how do we make sure that we are continuing to like align ourselves or like what thing like that we thought we valued, like, you know, is something that we're learning, like, oh, maybe we should, you know, let go of that, you know? So also like we've, it's been a busy month, you know, with Women's Empowerment, but it's also been like, you know, a heavy month, you know, for the Asian American community, because it's really coming to light how this rhetoric that we've been hearing for the last year, like ever since the virus came in and like, you know, some people in the media and in the power structures of the United States have chosen to, you know, to label this virus and place blame, you know, on a region of people. And like, it's had a horrible, horrible backlash effect into the communities. And so we just wanted to like spend a little time in the show today to make sure that, you know, any viewers from Cloudflare that are watching this are taking a look at that email that got sent out this last Friday by the AsianFlare leads to let us know what resources are available so that we can be sure to understand that our Asian American colleagues, you know, are going through various stages of grief and horror. And yeah, so like have a lot of compassion and empathy with your colleagues and educate yourselves on how we can, you know, stand together and support the Asian American community against, you know, really scary and frightening, you know, attacks on the community that have been happening. Yeah, absolutely. So I think, you know, as a part of the WomenFlare activities, we made it a point in our last newsletter to kind of call this out and lend our support to our Asian American colleagues, our Asian colleagues, and to AsianFlare, right, our Asian employee resource group. So I know that they sent out a letter. And if you haven't read that, I would definitely recommend reading that. But I know that additional resources are coming. Currently, I've had a chance to speak with a few within our community. And I think everyone's still processing things, even though this has been going on even before the year, but definitely has gotten worse just in the last year. And there have been spikes just recently. I think it's still a lot for us to take in. And we're just at different stages of processing that information and really understanding, like, how we want to respond and what we want to do personally and as a group. But my recommendation is just to take that into account. A lot of us are having to juggle that with our jobs, with our families, with feelings of not being safe when we leave our apartments. And that's just, it's a lot, right? And so I think one thing that we can all do for those around us, regardless of ethnicity, is just to keep that in mind as you speak with them and as you work with them. But that said, it just, personally, I'm feeling a lot of things. I really am. It's sadness, it's anger, it's frustration, it's wanting to act but not knowing how to act, wanting to help within my community as well as wanting to help on a more national level. And I want to say the Asian Flare group is coming up with some of those resources for those that don't know where to go. So I would definitely keep an eye out for that. But at this point, I mean, I guess, be aware as you're out and about. If you want to act, if you want to be involved, there are ways to do that in your community to support others. And really, this shouldn't be happening. I hope it kind of comes to an end in general, like not just for the Asian community, but just for any sort of marginalized group at all. But there's still a lot of work to be done on that, right? And it wasn't just Asians during the last year. It was a lot of our Black American allies, as well as we saw earlier in the pandemic. So there's just, if anything, a lot of this is just, and I know a lot of that was just made worse by the fact that we were dealing with COVID and a pandemic and the quarantine. But it's certainly shined a light on an issue that we have now that some may not have realized still exists. Right. And that, you know, there's a history, like, you know, I was watching John Oliver on last week tonight, and he had some really great, just like for people who kind of need the basics of like understanding, like how there has been a history of racism in the United States. Joe Biden was saying stuff like, you know, racism is not American, you know, and John Oliver was like, well, actually, you know, it's, it's in the fabric of our culture. It's, it's in the fabric of how the United States came together. I mean, the land that we originally are that we're on, you know, did not belong to, you know, the people that colonized it. And, you know, different people from all over the world are the people who built the infrastructure of the US, and then have been continually marginalized and attacked and othered, you know, the whole time. So, you know, just, you know, I would imagine I have a relatively like aware audience, but, you know, in perpetuity, however long this, this, you know, segment gets recycled out there, like, please, everyone, like understand that, you know, you can't say racism is anti American, it's anti what we want America to be, but it's part of the the fabric of how this country, you know, has grown up. And so we need to root it out. And yeah, and be aware and, and, yeah, just wake up. And, and I think we've been going through this collective shadow. I've said this on my show before, like, we've been kind of going through our personal shadow journey, in a way, you know, like, as, as our, you know, like you said, ways that we normally decompress might go away, and we have to kind of look at like, how do we, you know, choose to, you know, deal with things that that are stressful or bury things under the rug, you know, and so many things have been kind of getting buried under the rug. And right now, in like, we are digging stuff up and taking a look and shining a light on things that make us uncomfortable and things that, you know, that we might wish weren't happening, but we can't, we can't pretend that they're not. And so let's be supportive, and empathetic, and aware, and as helpful as we can be, as we, as we hopefully, again, clear this, this type of behavior from, you know, how it's, you know, stop teaching hate, you know. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, stop, you know, giving platforms to that, stop, stop ingesting that, stop normalizing it, it isn't normal, we're okay. Absolutely. And I think there's, there's some of that, which is just, there's also just the complacency, right? And the fact that just because you're not actively racist doesn't mean that there isn't a part of it, like the, the whole idea that like, not doing something about it kind of puts you in that realm, right? And so I think there's just overall, a lot to be educated on. I think that if you're in a position of feeling like, you know, all there is to know, you don't feel like you're racist, there isn't racism in your community, I would say, yes, that you should take an opportunity to just learn anyways, right? At worst, like you're, you're learning something you already know, at best, there's at least one negative new information that you can learn that kind of opens your eyes a little wider to what's going on around you, and potentially spark that fire to learn more and do more to prevent it. Right? I think that's really the only way it's going to change is if everybody has a little bit of that self inflection, and starts pulling on that, that little thread to unravel something much, much bigger, and everybody gets involved as a community. So it does start kind of at the micro level and grows to kind of the macro level. You know, I'm personally going through the exact same thing. I recognize that I'm extremely lucky in my position. I spoke earlier about just, you know, feeling a little unsafe when I go out. And you know, I do go out of my apartment every once in a while, but I recognize that I'm extremely lucky to be working for Cloudflare. I'm extremely lucky to have a stable job right now during everything, you know, while everything is going on. And so if I had to, I do have the safety of my apartment and being able to work from home during these times. Not everybody has that. No, people are out there. They're in the front lines. They're making your food, delivering your food, cleaning your, you know, like facilities, working on the front lines in so many different places. And people have to be out in the world. And so we need to make the world a safer place for all the people to be able to go, you know, like it's not, you know, it's, we shouldn't have elders afraid, you know what I mean, to be able to go out and get their groceries. Exactly. That is just, that aspect of what's been going on with me, it's just horrifying, and I don't have any words for it. But yeah, I mean, it's just, you know, I have to recognize, like, stepping out of my comfort zone, my safety, and lending support to others that aren't as lucky as I have been, right? And that's potentially one way for me to kind of contribute. So, I mean, it's just, again, it's that self-word inflection. And, you know, I've been lucky, and I want to be able to help others so that they don't have to be frightened to go out and do normal, everyday things, you know, that they don't feel like they're going to be attacked in broad daylight. Like, those are just things that shouldn't have to happen. So, yeah, absolutely. All right. Well, thank you for taking some time to share your thoughts on that. And yeah, just a shout out to like all of our, you know, colleagues, you know, Asian, Asian American, everyone, you know, that we personally, Angela and I, and Klaubler, like, we support you. And especially in tech, you know, that idea and understanding that there's, that there still is, and has been racism against Asian community, you know, in tech, because there is such a large population of Asian people who work with us, I think, you know, there can be that issue of visibility, you know, and like, hey, like, like, just because we all work together, and you work with a bunch of Asian, you know, colleagues, like, please understand that the journey for each one of those people has been different, and that racism still exists in that community. And don't, you know, the visibility piece, like, because I think there's that kind of invisible, you know, the idea that like, the racism is kind of invisible, or like, it's not there. So anyway, yeah, you know, like, no, and absolutely, I would say, I would say just to kind of, like, you know, really respond to that piece is just, you know, to support any colleague, really, for any reason, I think, just talk with them. Right? I think communication is a great way to kind of blend your support and show your support, ask them how they're doing, listen, if they care to share, if that's something that they want to, like, share with you. And then from there, I can only imagine conversations about how to support and how we can be allies to one another will just naturally evolve from there. So I mean, it's, I would say, don't be afraid to ask your colleagues how they're doing, just in general. I mean, I'm sure they have a lot of feelings with regard to everything that's happening right now, not only the attacks, but just how everyone's doing under quarantine, right? It's been a year, and you would think that this would be something that we're just kind of used to now, it's normal state. But a lot of people are still struggling, we're still going through all of it. It's true. It's true. And anyone can always ping me, you know, if you work at Cloudflare. I'm always happy to chat with people and, you know, lend my support in any way I can make sure that you have a good work from home setup. You can reach out to your local office team if you don't have what you need to be comfortable even at home. And yeah, any ways that we can support. And so Angela, circling back, like how, how is it going doing your job still supporting all of our customers, you know, while working from home? How do you know when to like start and like end your day when stuff could be happening for them, like at any time that needs your response? Like how do you make sure to have balance in your day-to-day when there's so much going on? That's actually a really, really great question. I feel like I guess what you would call like the work-life balance or setting boundaries has always been something that I personally struggled with even before quarantine. And that's only gotten worse now that I'm just kind of isolated to this 500 square feet space and turning kind of, you know, closing my laptop and going about the rest of my day in my life to do things for myself has been challenging. So, I mean, I would say from the customer standpoint, I'm probably like a lot of my colleagues, we're constantly in tune with everything. We always have our phones with us. This is not like unusual to, you know, it's not just a quarantine thing. I think we've just been for a while. And I just think that we probably all have to assess for ourselves what are the things that are triggering for us or what are the things that maybe we need to, I mean, there are tools out there on your phone to kind of make sure the notifications stop at a certain time so that you don't get that heavily in response that you get when you hear like a notification ding or a noise or anything like that. You need to act on it. I think there are things you can do and everyone just has to assess for themselves what level and what areas they need to tackle to kind of set those boundaries. So, you can do things that have been more important in the last year like self-care, self-reflection, taking care of yourself, right? And it's like that thing they say on the planes, you got to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. I want to take care of our customers, but I can't do a good job of it if I'm not taking care of myself first, right? And so, it's something I still am working on and continue to work on. So, hopefully that gets better. If you have any tips, always happy to hear them. Yeah, well, one of the things that we talk about on the show is like the normal buffer of like commuting to work and then that's when you start your day and then kind of commuting home. So, you know, some people are like really serious about kind of what that morning routine looks like, like instead of like waking up and like flipping, you know, looking at your phone right away, you know, or maybe you do, you look at it right away and you see if there's anything on fire, you know, and then like do your morning routine, maybe go outside for a walk. So, you're getting that like buffer, like this is how I'm starting my day and then, you know, then open the computer, you know, and then kind of a similar thing, you know, we talk about like setting some timers, reminders on your phone to get up and stretch, making sure to try to work in, like, I think it's not a bad idea to schedule meetings for 25 minutes rather than 30 minutes so that people have that break afterwards because there used to be like a thing where you would have to leave the meeting so you could go walk to the next meeting and now all the meetings like are right on your screen and so, you know, I suggest like building in buffers, you know, schedule a 25-minute meeting and have that five minutes where, you know, everybody can get away from their computer if they want to, bio break, stretch, victory poses, victory poses. I recommend victory poses. Was it Amy Cudley? Amy Cudley, yeah. Amy Cudley, yeah. I want her to be Cudley but she's just Cudley. Yeah, there's a great TED Talk from Amy Cudley about body language and how it can be more empowering, like, you know, this is like not super empowering body language but when you stretch your arms up so, you know, build time into your meetings, you know, five minutes at the end for people to be able to drop off or even do it in the meeting, you know, like, I think we could get some, like, I mean, why not start a meeting with everybody, you know, like doing some, like, victory like arms, you know, like, we need, we kind of need to figure this out because the Zoom fatigue doesn't seem to be going anywhere. It's real. It's real. Some little tips that I'm kind of coming up with off the fly, so. No, and I appreciate that. Yeah. I totally appreciate that. I think that that's, if you think about it, we were able to get everything done and be productive when we had to commute to work, walk to work, take breaks, move from meeting room to meeting room, grab your lunch, so it's not an impossible idea to fit that into your schedule now and still remain productive. We just don't necessarily do it because we don't have to anymore to move around. We're just sitting there and you can sit for a long time. Exactly. Angela, thank you so much for taking the time to be on the show. Thank you for your work with Women's Empowerment Month. Again, I would say I'm, like, 30% more empowered as a woman after this. I don't know if I can put that into, like, a deliverable thing, but I feel I'm a little happier, so, and I would give some props to Cloudflare and the programming from WomenFlare, so thank you, and thanks, everybody, for watching, and we will see you next time. Thanks, Angela. Bye. Thank you, Amy.