Heads up! This is an older post that references some outdated processes at Buffer, specifically the “Buffer bootcamp” Feel free to see the latest information here, including all the reasons why we retired this concept!
Editor’s Note: When someone new joins us at Buffer, they go through the Buffer Bootcamp (don’t worry; it’s not as scary as it sounds!). It’s a 45-day trial period designed to make sure there’s a great fit on both sides. Often, in the interest of transparency and self-improvement, new teammates will keep a journal of reflections on their bootcamp experiences. This is the Week 1 reflection of awesome new Buffer Customer Hero Juliet, based in London, who is now a full-time team member at Buffer!
Writing weekly reflections has been such a huge part of my bootcamp experience, and I think the process of writing and sharing them helped me a great deal!
They allowed me to really live the Buffer values wholeheartedly. I let myself be vulnerable by sharing them with the Buffer Slack community, and I got so much encouragement and warmth from the community in return! :)
I’d love to share my Week 1 reflection here in case it can shed some light on how we work at Buffer and what the bootcamp period is like. :)
Week 1 at Buffer
Wow! My first week absolutely flew by, and it felt great! Overall I noticed a couple big changes in my life during my first week of Buffer bootcamp.
- My stress level significantly decreased because I no longer needed to commute to office on my bike during rush hours! Instead of riding through the traffic and cars, I was riding through the Olympic Park trails and Hackney Marshes! I find myself much calmer and more energised after my morning ride, whereas before I was often agitated. This was so amazing!
- The other curious thing is the feeling of having my whole self at work since I started to work from home. Life and work seem to blend, and talking with the Buffernauts (inspired by astronauts!) feels like talking with friends! It has only been one week so I’d like to be mindful about this aspect in the following weeks to see how I feel about it!
5am – Get up. Have coffee. Write down today’s key focuses. Catch up on urgent emails and other must-do admins.
6:30am – Morning exercise: swimming or cycling. Breakfast, shower, and get ready to start today’s work.
9am – Start today’s work.
1pm – Lunch break and short walk in the park. Walk/cycle to cafe or co-working space for the afternoon work.
2:30pm – Continue afternoon work.
6:30pm – Evening strength workout or yoga
8pm – Dinner, relax and reading
10pm – Bedtime
Dave – Dave has been super supportive since Day 1! He’s always kind and detailed in sharing his thought with me, which I really love! His encouragement also makes me feel really comfortable to share any uncertainties with him. :) It was so fun to do some co-working with him and Danny during my first week in London! I feel so grateful to have Dave as my Culture Buddy! :)
Adam – Adam is such a great listener! I appreciate so much that he encourages me to find my own tone and approach as a Customer Hero. :) He is so open-minded and appreciative for everyone’s different style, and he gives great feedforward from which I’ve learnt so much within the first week. I feel really lucky to have Adam as my Role Buddy! :D
Danny – Without Danny as my timezone buddy :D, I think my first week would’ve been really different! I’m so grateful for his patience whenever I have questions (which was quite often!). Whenever I feel uneasy about interrupting him all the time, he always seems to have the perfect and generous response! :)
Amy, Maxime, Marc, Steven + many on Slack – I was always mindful about people’s time, and many have taken their time to sync with me or chatted with me on Slack. It was so wonderful to hear people’s stories and learn more about other areas like data, growth and product! I really could feel the warm welcome from the Buffer family since Day 1. I can honestly say I’ve never worked anywhere else quite like it!
Areas to contribute
It was amazing to learn the different areas about Buffer for Business by helping our customers in the Helpscout inbox!
Throughout the week, I started with the trial customers, then moved to helping all Buffer for Business customers. :) I feel excited about going beyond answering the questions users ask to add extra values that can help them to make the most out of Buffer for their specific needs. I really enjoy doing a bit of research on customers’ businesses/organisations, so I could anticipate their challenges and goals to see how we can best help them become successful.
Drafting value-adding and more personalised emails does often take longer. In the upcoming week, I’d like to be mindful about finding the right balance and learn from more customer interactions and my awesome team members.
I’m so grateful for the discussion I had with Adam towards the end of my first week on other potential areas I can contribute to in the future:
- On-boarding process
- Business product development
Next week I’d like to continue to focus on inbox while starting to write down and structure ideas for these potential areas.
Reflections on remote working
So far I’ve really loved it! Not having to commute during rush hours is a huge improvement! Simon and I have been able to stick to our planned routine V.1 more or less with some minor adjustments. There are two things I’d like to explore in the upcoming weeks:
- I notice I had some hard time taking small breaks throughout the day as I had planned to. I’m trying out brain.fm to have 30-minute focus sessions with 5-15 minute breaks in-between (doing some hula hoops for example!). I find myself using the breaks to go on Slack or checking emails rather than standing up to move around. I’d like to try whether I’ll benefit from real small breaks next week, and I’ve set an Idle Alert (if idle for 45 minutes) on my Jawbone to help me to achieve this!
- I’d like to experiment with having slightly longer lunch break and working a bit later in the evening. I notice I am less able to focus right after lunch and wonder whether a slightly longer walk after lunch can help with my energy level here.
Exercise – The first week felt great to go out riding every morning. I feel much more familiar with my mountain bike (as I’ve always felt more confident with my road bike), and going down a super scary hill that made me feel uncomfortable was definitely a highlight!
I definitely feel stronger after sticking to the strength workout 3 times a week for the last month. This coming week, I’m starting my physio therapy session once a week for the pain in my left ankle that has been troubling me for a while. Looking forward to improvement here!
Sleep – Simon and I are so grateful for the amazing perks Buffer offers, and one of them is the Jawbone. We’ve just got ours over the weekend as we’re super keen to optimise our sleep to increase deep and REM sleep during the night! Hopefully I’ll have more on this to report after this week!
Reading – I’m just finishing up my paperback Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions by Guy Kawasaki at the moment before diving into the amazing world of Kindle Paperwhite thanks to Buffer’s generous perk! Love one quote from Enchantment that’s surprisingly relevant to Business trial customers:
I’ve been able to read on average at least half an hour every day but would love to increase that this week! I can’t wait to start sharing books with the rest of Buffer family!
Mindset and emotions
I’ve always been aware that I’m a Questioner, and I noticed this quite a lot during my first week since I was trying many things for the first time. I enjoy understanding the WHYs behind each action, and I do feel in the long term, it would benefit both Buffer and our customers.
However, I’m conscious of the fact this means people who work closely to me would get loads of questions from me! So far I’m so grateful for their patience, and I’d like to be always mindful about finding the balance between questioning and taking actions quickly!
This past week I felt mostly positive and happy until what happened in Paris on Friday, which really saddened me like many others. I find it hard to approach such situation with kindness, respect or empathy. We were really lucky to have spent the weekend with Simon’s family, and able to talk about how the tragedy affected each of us emotionally. I made a conscious choice not to read too much news, knowing even through the media, I wouldn’t be able to really know the full picture.
It was a reminder not to make judgements or pass blame when I have very limited knowledge about the situation. My heart aches for the victims and their families and friends. I feel incredibly grateful that our families and friends are safe, and that most of us have the courage to move forward and to act with integrity.
It’s not something easily forgotten, yet I hope to choose positivity in the coming week, to wholeheartedly appreciate the privilege to meet with many of Buffer team in London and be part of the Buffer family.
I remembered this video, which feels perfect to wrap up my Week 1 reflection:
I feel incredibly grateful and excited about starting the Buffer bootcamp. At the same time, I feel vulnerable about leaving my previous company where I had worked for four years to start a new journey. It’s slightly scary yet extremely exhilarating at the same time. I hope to embrace this feeling as I continue to learn and connect with the wonderful Buffernauts and our customers.