Home Office TV
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!
Good morning. I'm Amy Bibeau and welcome to another episode of our lovely Home Office TV.
Today we are very blessed to have the lovely Fallon Blossom with us. Fallon, thank you.
Thanks for having me. My curl sister. Fallon and I kind of originally bonded over our hair, you know, it's what ladies do.
So Fallon, do you want to just give us an intro and let people know?
I mean, you've been on Cloudflare TV a bunch.
You're one of the regulars of the making the rounds. But yeah, can you give us a little intro?
Sure. So I'm a multimedia content designer on the product content experience team at Cloudflare.
And when I'm not doing that, I'm the global co-lead of Afroflare, the ERG for African folks, African diasporic folks, excuse me, and their allies.
Awesome. Yeah, I was holding back on inviting you to my segment because you guys have been busy with Afroflare.
And you know, it's like you got a lot of regular work to do, you know, and then there's a lot of work there.
So how's that been going? Let me ask you, how is, how has it been for you to transition from a very focused office life experience to working from home and we're going on six months of that?
Yeah, that's a good question.
So before the pandemic, I actually had like a four on one off deal. So like I was coming to the office five days a week.
And then because I live so far away from the office, like I'm 22 miles away from the Austin office, because I technically live in Round Rock.
And my manager at the time also lived a little further away.
So we both kind of decided it would be nice if we could have a work from home day each.
I have to restart the stream. Hold on. Oh, sure, sure, sure. Go ahead.
My I think that my Internet's kind of slow. Okay. Come on a second. No worries.
Let me see if it's back.
Let's see here.
It says it should be working. So I just moved for those of us who might be watching, and I'm hoping that we caught back up.
Internet's kind of slow.
Okay, it looks like it's not a second. Now we're back. Okay. Oh, it's weird.
Okay, so there's a brief moment of weirdness in my in our show today. Technical difficulties.
Okay, so yeah, I had to reset it. Now it's working. Okay, so you were you were saying we were discussing that you were working far away.
And so you were popular.
Yes. So my manager and I kind of decided that it would be great if we both worked from home a day and then decided that I work from home day was Thursday.
So, you know, for months leading up to the pandemic, I already had a work from home day, which I thought was enough because I was like, yeah, I miss people.
I want to go into the office. I like, you know, the office culture.
So in the beginning, not leaving my house that I was rough. I think now I am kind of I'm used to it because I got my own like work from home flow, which I think is also changed as I've gotten more comfortable with the 10 step commute versus the half an hour commute.
So yeah, I think it's normal now. It was not always normal.
Getting to normal was interesting. What was the most challenging part for you?
For me, it was having was losing that interaction, which kind of was a big motivator for me.
Like I was kind of in a dark place when I started at Cloudflare because my dad had passed.
And so when I started there, I suddenly had this whole new thing, new people, a new routine, and it was really uplifting.
So I almost think it was like I had like shelved.
I kind of had shelved the grief or something. And then suddenly when I didn't have that regular thing, you know what I mean?
You know, it came back a bit.
It was hard for me to regulate my schedule. So what has been the most challenging thing to adapt to the new routine?
Turning work off. I think I heard this either in a meeting or on Twitter.
You went from you live at work now.
So for me in the beginning, I was working a lot and I felt like I had to work a lot to prove that like I'm not fooling around because I'm at home, like I'm still getting stuff done.
So I was really, the lines were so blurred between working and whatever you call homing in a pandemic.
So for me, that was the hardest thing.
Like I threw myself into work so hard that I wasn't really making space for anything else.
Because there's still stuff. You still got to make space for stuff just because you're stuck inside.
But I wasn't doing that. Right. So what, how did you, how long did that go on for before you recognized it and like shifted?
Probably the whole, oh good, a quarter.
Like that whole first quarter I was like working.
And I was doing it because I was super happy. Like there was plenty to do. But yeah, the lines definitely blurred a bit.
And it was like after doing it for a quarter and I stepped back and I was like, all right, now do you want to do that again?
And I was like, nah, not like that. Yeah, it's, that's the thing that we talk about a lot on the show is like people have the commute and that's their like ease into work.
And for some people, it's a little bit of me time, especially for like the moms and the people with families.
Like, you know, that can kind of actually be, I never had thought previously to think of a commute as something that people could enjoy, but like people were like, Hey, that's my, that's my, like, you know, start the day.
And then I have my like close of the workday kind of thing, like where there's like a bookend, you know, and like, how do we create that bookend here?
You know? And again, I think also what you're talking about, like, you know, proving that we're doing something, you know, cause I know like, as you know, I've paid attention.
You know, sometimes some of us have to work harder to, to just get up to like what people see, you know, like, like you have to work extra for people to think you're just doing the minimum.
Yeah. For some people, I don't want to ever be looked at as not useful, right?
Like I don't ever want to be looked at as somebody who's not like doing their best work, but then you have to ask yourself, well, what is doing your best work look like in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of all these social issues, in the middle of whatever personal stuff you have going on.
And the fact that you can't leave like a part of your agency has been taken from you.
So what does productivity look like in the midst of all of that?
That is a challenge, right? And like I've said on this show, and I like to kind of point this out that it's almost like we're going individually and collectively through like a shadow period, you know, where it's like, you know, and like, like Jung or Young said, you know, it's like, if you don't, if you don't look at that shadow, you know, it's going to come and like kind of overwhelm you.
And I think as a culture, I mean, a lot of shadowy aspects of the history of the United States and like what's gotten us to now and like the unhealthy patterns, you know, of oppression and systematic racism and systematic oppression, you know, that stuff is, is popping, you know, it's bubbling up to the surface and it's like, you can't not look at it, you know, and, and individually, like, I know for me, like I was going through my own like shadowy journey and like, you know, maybe coping mechanisms that I had to like reevaluate, you know, and especially when you're just alone in a pandemic, it's like, you know, it's not exactly like, it's not like, nobody's like 2020 has been fun.
Like for me, like I'm the happiest I've been in 2020 because I just moved into a new place, but like I had to do that move because I recognized that I had like gotten into like a pattern of like not going outside and not being happy, you know, and I was like, I need to like, I, I, I need to take some steps.
Yes. Yeah. No, taking care of yourself is, is, is the thing that that's the most important thing.
Cause it's funny that you mentioned your move, right? So I moved to Austin last year.
It's been almost two years, actually about a year and a half. Um, and I moved from an apartment where I had four roommates and two cats to a house of my own.
And so I can't even wrap my head around what I would be doing if I was still in that apartment with all them people and all them animals and stuff going on.
You can't get away. Oh, there will be no peace. There will be no getting away, right?
There will be no getting away. Cause I was also on a big main street.
I lived, anybody who knows Boston or the Austin area, I lived on North Harvard, which is the street that takes you to Harvard square from Harvard square, like main thoroughfare.
So in addition to all those people and animals, no distant cats, but you know, still there was all this traffic going on all the time.
There was a Dunkin' Donuts on the corner.
It was just a total, a total different experience.
So having a place of your own to your point about moving to your cottage, like that, home being a safe space and your space and having control over that, that's everything.
You, you purchased your space? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I'm very happy that I did that.
The bank bought your time. Yeah. Yeah. And again, I, I can't, um, you know, home ownership is definitely its own thing.
Like that in and of itself could be its own job, but I wouldn't change it.
Again, being able to completely control my space and you know, the pride of owning something like that's huge, especially, you know, for somebody like me, you know, we, I, my family didn't come into this country on England.
Let's just say that. So the fact that I can do that is, it's huge.
It's a huge milestone for not only me, but my family, for my culture, because the women in my family, especially women in new Orleans, especially, I don't know if you know the history, but there's a long history of women of color, especially owning land, especially in the Treme neighborhood, um, where most of the free folks of color lives, my aunts owned rental property and where their own entrepreneurs in that way.
So for me to kind of do that and be able to add to that tradition is super important for me, for sure.
And I'm sure like them having that experience, you know, influenced, you know, your desires and what you believe to be possible.
Right. Oh yeah. Cause my aunt was a teacher and she owned her own home.
She owned two more rental properties. I have another aunt who was a real estate agent who was able to give my cousins land as like their graduation present, like stuff like that, especially now given the economy is super important ownership of whatever your brand, your house, your name, your likeness is super important.
That's amazing. Yeah. We were discussing, um, right before we jumped on live, um, you know, how this pandemic is shifting, like the market, the rental market, you know, we're seeing prices and stuff go down in San Francisco.
We're seeing a lot more inventory. Um, you know, now with like the ability for people to work remotely, a lot of people are kind of like leaving the city and going, you know, I grew up in Minnesota where, you know, it was normal to have trees and land and, um, and, you know, we were discussing wrapping your head around how much you have to pay for like a small box in the city, you know, versus like being able to, and I'm imagining this is one reason you purchased your space a bit outside of Austin, you know, that's what you can't have to do the research.
One, first of all, it's what I could afford, but two was the biggest bang for the buck.
I could have took the same amount of money I paid for this house and gotten a beautiful condo with a doorman, a stone's throw away from the office downtown.
But for me, it was more about making a better money decision long-term because eventually you're going to have to sell this place.
Eventually something else is going to have to happen.
And if you're going to put up that much money, because it's very expensive, um, you know, make sure that it's something that works for you long-term.
Like, yeah, I would be a little bit more comfortable if I had a 20 step commute all the time, but you know, especially now that I'm looking at the equity of my home after a year, I'm still super happy with my decision.
Congratulations for that.
That's really great. Um, what's the thing that you miss the most about the office?
The one-off conversations that I would happen, that would happen in the kitchen, like, cause I'm a big water drinker and it would also be like my excuse to just get up and move around.
So I'd always go from my desk to the kitchen and run into somebody talking about something, overhearing an interesting conversation that folks were having about a problem they were trying to solve, or that a new restaurant was about to open up so we can go get tacos.
I miss, I miss those little random moments, um, of connecting with folks.
Yeah, that's a popular response of that question.
I think if we created a poll, that would be right up there.
You know, when I started this show, I definitely, I knew we were going to miss the people, but I also thought more people would be like, I miss the snacks, but you know, it turns out we can all buy our own snacks, but we can't buy those organic connections with other human beings.
You know, that is true. However, my, if, if you should, I mean, my go-to snack were the Cheez-Its.
I don't know why.
I'm obsessed. Cheez-Its and the peanut M&M's, sometimes together. Yeah, I had some Cheez-Its on a Delta flight.
I flew for the first time, um, since the pandemic, um, cause I, I just did, um, Fallon and I were just both on PTO, which is perfect.
We were going to do this chat last week. So for our little viewers, if you missed it, if you missed me, my three viewers, I'm sorry, I was on vacation.
I didn't think about work pretty much at all. I flew back to Minnesota and, um, yeah, they, now they just hand you like a plastic bag with a little bottle of water and there's some Cheez-Its, you know, and like a kind bar and some Purell, you know, and it's, um, so that was my, that was my Cheez-It, uh, connection.
What did you do on your PTO?
Um, so I was in New Orleans with my family, uh, which was much needed cause I hadn't seen them since November when they came to visit me for Thanksgiving.
And this is my first time going home since I moved here. So I hadn't actually been home to New Orleans in like two years.
And the last time that I was there was not under good circumstances.
So I would like, I needed a redo. Yeah, I needed a do-over and it was, it was a much needed, very happy do-over.
I got to see all my family, all my friends, all the cousins.
Yeah, it was good. Did you drive? Uh, no, actually I flew too.
So it's funny. I flew Delta actually. And yes, I can attest that they are very clean, that they are not playing around with the masks and stuff.
No. And that everything was super clean, uh, very above board. Yeah, I felt good.
I felt good on the Delta flight also. It was, yeah, it was, I mean, we're blessed as people to be able to fly around the earth.
Seriously. You know, that's like a thing, you know, I think, you know, we get so used to things like pre -pandemic, you know, we, you know, people do take things for granted.
Like I'm guilty of that.
You know, it's like, oh, I can just fly to Brazil and see my peeps. I can fly to Minnesota and see my nephews.
And now it's just like, you make that choice more carefully.
And I think really with a lot more gratitude, especially, you know, for the crew, you know, putting themselves out there, you know, just like frontline workers in any aspect of the, um, you know, of this pandemic, which, you know, I'm a little, I'm a little fearful.
I know that with colleges opening, I just keep getting these reports from people that like everybody has COVID at the colleges, you know, and so, you know, I, I, My sister just went back to New York for, to start Parsons.
So I'm definitely like watching that very closely, but she has her own apartment off campus.
So at least, you know, there's that. But yeah, between that and the homeschooling that I witnessed, my cousins, I have a 10 year old cousin and a 14 year old cousin in New Orleans who are in high school and elementary, middle school, respectively, and just kind of having a back row seat to what they're dealing with.
Um, yeah, it's rough. And again, what home looked like there when I was there, even on vacation, and what it looks like here is also super different just because in that household, you know, there are children in school.
So even when I was working the day to day looked very interesting and different because we had to decide, okay, this was going to do school here.
This was going to do school there, Fallon, you're going to do work there.
And we all had to be in different parts of the house so we could all focus.
Um, and so kind of doing all of that people shuffling.
No, that's frustrating. And I don't even have kids. These are just my little cousins.
I feel for all the parents right now who are who are trying to, to get that a lot of people obviously don't have jobs they can even do from home.
A lot of jobs are not can be done home. I mean, I'm super grateful to work for Cloudflare, you know, and have a job I can do from my little sister has, she adopted five boys.
And normally those boys would all go to school, but since she's a doctor, she wants them distance learning because if she gets ill, then she can't go to work.
And she's the, you know, breadwinner for the family, my brother in law, um, you know, is always working on projects on the house or taking care of the kids.
My step sister moved in with my with my sister. So she's kind of helping out, but she's in school.
So they got five kids in distance learning. I think they started today or yesterday.
And, um, you know, I, I always used to want kids. I'm not going to lie.
Like I keep getting older. I got some grades. I'm not, I'm not going to probably have any, but, um, during this pandemic, I sometimes I'm just like, you know, it's okay.
I didn't have any, it seems hard. So I haven't gotten to all the parents.
Yes. Yeah. I talked to the parents and, you know, and then that's people who are living alone too.
Cause that's not easy either to just be, you know, we're not meant to be in isolation like that.
Like that's where like that animal parts of us start showing up.
Like we're a social species. You can't just put us in front of a screen or put us in one place all day, even these kids, right.
Like, and expect us to have good mental health long-term that I didn't work.
Also like shout out to the teachers too, because like I have a couple of college professor friends of mine.
I don't know. I, you know, I haven't talked to any of my friends who work in lower and middle education or secondary education, but the struggle is real on all sides.
I think we all just have to have a lot more patience and grace with each other because somebody's struggling with something on any basis on every day.
I know. I know. And it's like, as we were kind of discussing that, you know, we're getting to, I think, I think I'm getting to know myself better always as I age.
And I'm always trying to turn to like strive for self-improvement.
And I noticed, um, you know, trying to have that patience, like I'm really starting to understand, like, I'm not a patient person by nature.
Like I am not, like, it's just not part of, of who I am.
And like, it's a struggle. And then especially you put me around my family and everybody's like, oh, wasn't it great to see your family?
I'm like, almost. Actually, we have this like moment and like, you know, in my family, you can't blame the full moon.
I think it was the full moon.
We saw it in retrograde and I listened to a podcast and it was like, Mars is in retrograde.
Watch out for conflicts, watch out for conflicts with your family or whatever.
And then, you know, sure enough, I get to my sisters at one point and I was like, yeah, it was this like thing.
And I was like, you know, kind of like, okay.
Like, but yeah, I wish my family wasn't more like we can blame the full moon, you know what I mean?
Kind of family, but we kind of have to just own it ourselves, you know, which I think, you know, full moon might be an influence, but ultimately, like, we have to have control over this vessel, you know, that it is like you said, the animal part, like we are, you know, we have a level of consciousness, but we also have, you know, a level of unconsciousness and like, you know, like social animal type behaviors.
And yeah, it's this pandemic, like, we got to really focus on that human and really subdue that like animal side, I think, because...
Or figure out a way to have them both work together. Because again, I don't think that, I mean, at least in the US, the culture does not promote stillness and just going slow.
We work in tech. There's nothing about this that's slow. And we're drawn to it, I would argue, because we're the type of people who want to have an impact who want to do like important stuff.
So there's that piece that requires you to be on a certain level.
And then there's all these things working against you being on that level.
So just figuring out a way to work with them, I think is important, which is why again, taking that week off was super important, because I felt like I'm getting to the point where I can't, I'm not in this space to do my best work.
So I need to separate myself, I gotta subtract work, then, until I can do what I need to do to get into the place to do my best work or keep doing that.
Because the expectation of work ain't gonna change. Right? So we got to make these videos, Fallon.
Right? Afroflare's not gonna Afroflare itself, Fallon.
So you have to make sure you have what you need. And speaking of home, in the type of space where you can perform on those levels, so you're not struggling internally.
Totally, totally. And that is definitely, you know, one reason I wanted to have, you know, this as a segment to just really check in and be like, get real with people and be like, yo, how's it actually going?
You know, it's like, how are we doing working from home?
And how, you know, how are we just doing as beings, you know, because it's like, for me, it's like, I'm a being, you know, and then I'm a worker, you know, somewhere along in there, you know, we all are, I need to like, you want to admit it or not, we all are.
We need to be happy. And like, I agree with you that our culture doesn't really value that, like stillness.
And that the more we have external programming constantly coming in and telling us what's what and telling us what to do.
And then, you know, when we don't have time to like, separate that out, like, okay, like, I have these thoughts in my mind, you know what I mean?
Are these arising organically from the inside of who I am as a being? Or are these thoughts?
Have they been like, you know, subtly or, you know, overtly, like implanted into my consciousness in order to, you know, get me to behave in a certain way that is, you know, agreeable?
You don't even have to would want me to behave, you know, like sorting that out.
It's like, you know, I've been excited, like the earth has had a little bit of a break from some levels of the consumption, you know, during like, from for me, like the optimistic part is just kind of like, our little mama earth, like need a little like humans to calm down to go to your room, you know, we all saw that meme, the earth is sending us to go to our room to think about what we did, you know, but I think that there's a point there where it's like, and I probably say it every show where it's like, you know, everybody's sad, they're missing their sport ball games.
And I'm just glad ball. I know I was glad that in like 1000s of stadiums across the planet that we're not making single use plastic garbage, just just for one season.
And in the case of some of them, they're going to be pulling places in some of the NBA stadiums.
So as a part of that strike, I'm pretty sure and I'm fingers crossed that those stadiums will turn into polling places.
Yeah, we need you know, obviously, we are pro voting.
I'm pro voting on on Cloudflare, you know, Home Office TV. You know, I do admit that my show leans, you know, we lean towards the, you know, just freedom, and like people taking care of the people, you know, so I'm hoping people are going to vote for like, what's in our all of our like, collective best interest, and I hope people get out there and that we have a safe and fair and easily accessible to everybody, you know, election, you know, so that our voices can be heard, because our voices want to be heard.
You know, that's why we, you know, I think we're born into this country for some of us, you know, it's like, hey, you know, we, we supposed to have a democracy, yo, you know, let us let us, let us put our words out there.
And hopefully, that you know, that's coming up. So it's coming up. But yes, with the stadiums, at least hopefully, you know, if folks do have to do it in person, at least they'll have enough space in a stadium.
You know, big things are changing, you know, that's a big move for, you know, for basketball players to say, hey, we're, we're not gonna participate in the way that you would expect us to, if the thing if you know, if the base level respect for our people, you know, isn't being met on a societal level, you know, it's like, you know, hopefully, that gets some traction.
And I haven't been, again, I'm not a big sport ball lady, but I do try to follow along, you know, to the cultural things that are happening on our, you know, in our country, pay attention.
And I was just in Minnesota, you know, for Yeah, so, yep.
Well, again, some things, some good things have come out of this wellness, right?
I think that getting back to the idea of the stillness, it's that, you know, some folks are kind of realizing that certain issues are important to them, and then taking action on those issues in, you know, some some good ways, at least.
Yeah, I think, um, you know, we have an opportunity, again, like you do, you have that time, you have that stillness, you're looking at yourself, you're looking at your coping mechanisms, you're seeing what's arising internally, and, you know, just having a little time to think, you know, again, if you're not a super busy parent trying to get your kids back to school or a teacher, you know, we have the, you know, luxury of having different, you know, realities externally set up right now.
And, and so that's good. So what's your most thing that you're most optimistic about for 2020?
Well, in a minute and a half, things that I'm looking forward to.
So I have to say, like, you know, building off of the comment that I made previously is that the folks in the stillness, whether I agree with them or not, I'm just going to be frank, at least they're realizing what is actually important to them.
They're doing that introspection, because they're forced to, to figure out, okay, these are the things that I care about.
This is the type of person I want to be.
This is the type of space that I need for myself. Um, I know, for me, at least, it's been, you know, deepening my work with Afroflare and making sure that the folks at Cloudflare know that they have a resource in me and in the group to do whatever they need to do to get through this.
And, you know, not necessarily jeopardize their job or their sanity, their racial sanity, because I know for black folks has been especially difficult.
And my home space, just getting down to brass tacks, right?
Like, I had to go and get my monitor from work. I had to because I was struggling without it.
I had to get, you know, a keyboard, just make sure and I have this little light, you saw me setting up, you know, if I'm ever on Cloudflare TV, so just making sure that you have the tools in your toolkit.
Yeah, whatever that looks like, to be your best self to do your best work.
I think the pandemic in a weird way, is offering people an opportunity to really do that, if they have the bandwidth, if they can, you know, yeah, yeah.
Thanks to anybody who, you know, was here watching us and listening, and we hope that everyone's doing their very, very best out there.
Thank you so much.