Take the first step. Rekindle an old friendship. Tackle a project you’ve had on the backburner. Learn a new skill or hobby. It can be daunting to get started, but you’ll have no regrets once the ball is rolling
With the success of the vaccines, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel of this difficult period in our history. But before we jump back into the routine of the normal life that we lived in 2019, it would be a shame not to pause to reflect on what we have learned during this time. The social isolation caused by the pandemic really was an opportunity for a collective pause, and a global self-assessment about who we really are, and what we really want in life.
As a part of this series called “5 Things I Learned From The Social Isolation of the COVID19 Pandemic”, I had the pleasure to interview JayAlberts.
Jay is the Founder and CEO of Reel You, a personal media platform helping you capture and share your experiences. Prior to Reel You, Jay worked at ServiceNow for seven years in a variety of senior management roles across Finance and Operations. He is a San Francisco Bay Area native, UC Davis alumnus, and a life-long learner.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers like to get an idea of who you are and where you came from. Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where do you come from? What are the life experiences that most shaped your current self?
One of the most formative times in my life was living in Amsterdam for a little over two years. I never lived anywhere outside of Northern California prior to that, so moving to a different country was very rewarding, both personally and professionally. My eyes were opened to different cultures, languages, and ways of working. I had a chance to meet many interesting people and travel to more than 30 countries during that time. These experiences were part of the inspiration behind Reel You.
Are you currently working from home? If so, what has been the biggest adjustment from your previous workplace? Can you please share a story or example?
Yes. The biggest adjustment was working from the same San Francisco apartment as my partner. We both have crazy schedules: I’m grinding through startup life and she’s working while also attending grad school. Luckily, we found a groove in the workflow and don’t disturb each other too much. We always make a point of eating meals together and it’s been a great way to help us balance “home” life with “work” life.
What do you miss most about your pre-COVID lifestyle?
I miss the innocence of the pre-COVID lifestyle. It was a time when I never second-guessed where I was going or who I was seeing. Even as the world opens up, I suspect COVID has permanently changed the way I think about my social interactions.
The pandemic was really a time for collective self-reflection. What social changes would you like to see as a result of the COVID pandemic?
I’d like to see us take better care of people. With one shock to the system, the whole house of cards came down. A future health crisis should not also trigger simultaneous economic, hunger, housing, and education crises.
Instead of reacting to keep things afloat, it would be cheaper and less devastating to proactively invest in people, programs, and technologies to prevent us from sinking in the first place.
What if anything, do you think are the unexpected positives of the COVID response? We’d love to hear some stories or examples.
People are reexamining their relationship with technology. When your whole world goes digital, you start to understand which technologies are taking something from you and which are giving something back.
How did you deal with the tedium of being locked up indefinitely during the pandemic? Can you share with us a few things you have done to keep your mood up?
Hiking has been a great way to keep the mood up and explore unfamiliar places in my own backyard. A little fresh air and sunshine go a long way.
Aside from what we said above, what has been the source of your greatest pain, discomfort, or suffering during this time? How did you cope with it?
Not being able to provide more day-to-day support for my parents who are facing some very challenging circumstances. They have done so much for me over the course of my life and I feel an obligation to give back. The pandemic has made it difficult, even dangerous, to physically be there for them. Two things have helped me navigate this difficult period: adopting a “roll with the punches” attitude and carving out time for reflection.
Ok wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Learned From The Social Isolation of the COVID19 Pandemic? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Cherish the moments that we do get to spend together. Our time together is short so make it a point to be present for the experiences we share.
- Turn off notifications. It’s never been easier to get distracted. Consider which applications are providing utility and which are taking advantage of your attention.
- Be patient with people. You never know what someone else is going through and being nice might just make their day.
- Take the first step. Rekindle an old friendship. Tackle a project you’ve had on the backburner. Learn a new skill or hobby. It can be daunting to get started, but you’ll have no regrets once the ball is rolling.
- Appreciate the little things. Life is so chaotic that sometimes we forget to be grateful for simple things like the warmth of the sun, a walk in the park, or a hug from a friend.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you during the pandemic?
An incredible woman, who passed away far too soon, once told me “you have to network to get work.” While this has always been true, it’s never been more important than during the pandemic while we’re relegated to our own bubbles.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
It would be amazing to hang out with Trevor Noah. I love the authenticity, thoughtfulness, and curiosity he brings to every interview.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can follow my work on Twitter @JayForReel.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.