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! 

weekday routine

Weekday routine

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

Gratitude

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:

  1.  On-boarding process
  2.  Business product development
  3.  Documentation

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. 

Self-improvement

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:

pablo (47) 

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. 

pablo (46)

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Written by Juliet Chen

Customer Hero at Buffer! You’ll often find me on two wheels, savouring chocolate, immersed in experiential theatre and in awe of everything about space. :)

  • The quote from the book you’re reading, Enchantment, was really great!

    • Juliet

      Glad you liked it, Nick! I’d definitely recommend the book itself as well! :)

  • Paul Tucker

    This is such a great story, Juliet! I’m sure it wasn’t easy, yet I found myself so refreshed by your transparency about a wide range of emotions and feelings. Thank you for taking the time and having the awareness to put it all down on “paper” for people like me to benefit from! :-)

    • Juliet

      That’s so sweet of you, Paul! I feel so grateful for all the kind comments here, so I feel so glad I had the courage to share this with everyone! Thank you so much for reading it and taking the time to comment here! That really means a lot! :)

  • Stephen’Bern’ Banham

    Really great to see how your journey is going! You’ve created a well structured day to day plan and don’t worry I find it hard to use my breaks for breaks as well, but I’m sure both of us will get better at that the more we consciously try to do so! (I’m not with Buffer but I am trying to make changes to my own working habits) I look forward to next week :P

    • Juliet

      So cool to see you working on taking breaks as well, Stephen! Hope you all the best in finding the best routine that works for you as well! :D

  • Bryan Lee

    Really enjoyed your post Juliet! Thanks for sharing :D

    • Juliet

      So glad you enjoyed it, Bryan! :)

  • What a wonderful first week. Looking forward to reading more about your experiences!!!

    • Juliet

      Thank you for giving it a read, David! :)

  • This is fantastic, thank you so much for sharing, Julie! I appreciated your honesty, and I love how much self-reflection you put into your experience. I always find that journaling about new experiences helps solidify what’s beneficial for me in them and what is worth letting go of. As a fellow questioner, it was really cool to hear about how that trait works with a distributed working team. As someone striving for location independence myself, it’s nice to know that with the right team, you don’t have to completely forgo that trait to be successful on a distributed team.

    • Juliet

      Woohoo, my fellow questioner! Thank you, Torie for sharing that! I definitely feel very lucky and grateful everyone at Buffer is wonderful at embracing every individual as part of the team. Hope you all the best on your journey to location independence! :)

  • Thanks for sharing, caring and being open.

    • Juliet

      Love those words you chose here, Robert! Thank you for reading! :)

  • Vignesh Subramanyan

    Thanks for sharing Juliet! It’s pretty fun to be able to read these snippets from the Buffer team members themselves and learn about each new experience.

    P.S. Love the emphasis on work / life blend and +1 for feedforward (as opposed to feedback) :)

    • Juliet

      Thank you for giving it a read and picking up those details, Vignesh! :D

  • Daniel Townsend

    Juliet, thanks for sharing your personal and professional experiences during your first week. From the candor and openness in your writing, it sounds like you’ll fit right in with the Buffer culture. Good luck in your continued journey.

    • Juliet

      What an amazing thing to say, Daniel! I feel so grateful every day to have found my home at Buffer. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment here!

  • Jim Kent

    This is beautiful, Juliet. Thank you for sharing and being so open. I look forward to hearing more about your story, your journey. Best of luck and blessings as you go!

    • Juliet

      That’s so kind of your, Jim! Looking forward to sharing more with everyone in the future! :)

      • Jim Kent

        I’d love to hear more about your experience at Buffer. I am absolutely in love with what you all are doing there! Way to go!

  • Cyril Meier

    Lovin the 5 am daily goals!

    • Juliet

      Thank you, Cyril! :D

  • Thank you for the great post and for sharing so many details, Juliet!
    Welcome to the growing number of people who work at home and enjoy it.
    :)

    I loved reading all about your experience during your first week with Buffer, and by the way, your remark on wanting to try a longer lunch break is spot on. During my (already) two years of remote working I’ve found out that a lunch break of 2-3 hours including a meal and a walk recharges me and makes me much more productive.

    I wish you luck in your bootcamp and I hope you post again in the end of these 45 days to tell us you’ve become a member of the Buffer team.

    • Juliet

      Wow, thank you so much for sharing your experience, Silvina! I always love hearing about others’ routines and what works for them!
      I’m really honoured to have been offered the full-time position at Buffer now! Still loving every minute of it and experimenting more productive ways to work every day! :)

      • Congratulations on being offered a full-time position at Buffer, Juliet! From what you’ve shared so far, it seems you’ll feel very happy there. Good luck and I hope this is one of many posts on the Buffer blog which we’ll see from you in the future!

  • Sylvia

    Juliet, what an amazing journey! Thank you for sharing these insights with us through your first week in the bootcamp, I can only imagine how exciting, nervous, and “stretched” you must have felt…you were forging a new path!

    • Juliet

      That’s such a lovely way to put it, Sylvia! I love it – “forging a new path”! Thank you for taking the time to read the post! :)

      • Sylvia

        :) I really enjoyed hearing about your experience!

  • Thank you for sharing this brave and inspiring post, Juliet! It’s so awesome to learn about your bootcamp experience :)

    • Juliet

      Thank you for giving it a read, Katie! :D

  • travelgeekery

    Beautifully written, good luck at Buffer, Juliet! They do seem to be a great company :) Veronika

    • Juliet

      Thank you so much for your wonderful encouragement, Veronika! :D

  • Amanda L

    Fantastic story!! It’s always tough starting a new position, let alone a remote position where your colleagues are hundreds if not thousands of miles away.

    • Juliet

      Thank you for such empathetic words, Amanda! It was slightly scary for sure! I felt really lucky to feel the warmth and support from everyone at Buffer along the way even if everyone is physically far away! :)

  • Victor Muthoka

    Love the Buffer culture & seeing it in action is good.

    • Juliet

      Yay! So glad you enjoyed it, Victor! :D

  • TaikiB

    I just wanted to thank you for your support when I asked you about Japanese market. I really appreciate the way you answered me. I wish you good continuation at Buffer. Great weekday routine you have there. I’ve started a similar weekday routine to improve myself to another level (thanks to Buffer blog post)

    I will keep on using Buffer’s amazing service from Japan!!

    • Juliet

      So nice to see you here on the blog outside the inbox, TaikiB! That’s so kind of you for mentioning that! Good luck on your routine! It’s always fun to experiment! :D

  • Laurel Ranson

    Thanks for sharing your first week at Buffer with us. It sounds like an amazing journey you’re on . I know it’s hard to leave the security of your past job behind and move on to something new but it sounds like you are doing really well with the transition. Look forward to hearing more soon.

    • Juliet

      Thank you, Laurel! I definitely enjoyed every step of this journey and feel really happy I took the leap! :)

  • Karinna Briseno

    Thank you Juliet! I loved reading your post, and getting a chance to have an inside peek into your journey at Buffer! I really appreciated you being so open and vulnerable. Congrats on the new job! Best of wishes :)

    • Juliet

      That’s so sweet of you, Karinna! I’m grateful for the wonderful support from everyone at Buffer to have the courage to share this with everyone! :)

  • Thank you for sharing this, Juliet! It’s so neat to see an inside look at what Buffer Boot Camp looks like! :)

    • Juliet

      So grateful you took the time to read the post, Sarah! :)

  • Peter Spenuzza

    It’s amazing how well you guys seem to recruit new talent! Juliet clearly shares the core values of continuous improvement and personal growth and learning. Makes it much easier to feel like an authentic part of the team at such an early stage. How many rounds of interviews did you go through, Juliet?

  • Ken Tien

    Great write up Juliet, a lot of the points hit home to me because I also work in a remote team. Although it gets lonely sometimes I feel like it’s been the best challenge so far for self management & growth.

  • Terence Mentor

    Thanks for sharing this! I’ve been thinking about reapplying for the social media manager position in a few months time (once I’ve spent some more time getting to know Buffer’s principles) but now I’m itching to give it another bash today!

    Two questions though:
    Have you felt a little disconnected from the rest of the Buffer team?

    Is communicating with members in other timezones, who are from different cultures and countries, tougher than working in a central location?

  • Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s really nice to know how people get along working remotely. Everyone gets a different experience, everyone gets his/her own experience.

  • Starlight Social

    Thanks for sharing this Juliet! So happy you found a home at Buffer :)

  • Melody Crain

    Great article. I hope to one day get to work for Buffer too!!

  • Jim Hummel

    An enlightening read…Thank you, Juliet !