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Coping in the Time of COVID19 – A CPO’s (and Mom’s) Perspective

Judy Ko
By Posted in Data Integration March 24, 2020

Have a stressfree dayThis is my first blog for StreamSets and I’m going to do it all wrong. I should be writing a thought leadership piece on the DataOps category, drop hints about how uniquely differentiated our product is, and send you to various calls-to-action to “learn more” or try our product.

I should have hyperlinked several words in that last sentence to send you deeper into our website to further explore our platform and value proposition, and to boost search engine rankings. But that’s not the blog I feel like writing right now, because frankly I think we all have other things on our minds.

What’s Really on My Mind

The up-ending of our way of life and work, our societal norms and our sense of well-being in the world has been unlike any other in our life times. The disruption to the day-to-day is simply unprecedented. 

I have two children, ages 10 and 8, and live in San Francisco. We were amongst the first in the nation to be ordered to shelter-in-place. I’ve been really struggling to balance my children’s needs– to help establish new routines; to encourage them to do their online schooling; to learn how not to kill each other when cooped up in our house most of the day; to work through their deep-seated anxieties which are manifested very differently between the two of them– with my own ability to stay productive with my work. And I, like many, haven’t been sleeping well, which also has impacted my productivity. 

The first week of shelter-in-place, last week, my productivity was down by about half. It’s improving day-by-day as we get into new routines, but I still have 30% of my work calendar blocked off for dedicated home schooling for the foreseeable future. 

You know what? My diminished productivity is okay. It takes a lot to adjust to a new reality. We are all human and while some people are able to keep chugging along, perhaps even enjoying fewer work distractions than normal or finding relief in their work, others cannot. I’m somewhere in the middle. I do look forward to my “day job” work as it keeps me looking forward and gives purpose. But I have to balance it against family life in a very different way than before, and I also have to give myself a break if I spend a night tossing and turning.

Flexing, Adapting, Coping, Growing

I suspect that most of you who are reading this blog (data engineers, developers, data platform operators, etc.) are in a situation where you are logistically able to work from home given the nature of the job. If you have been asked to work from home and that is new for you, perhaps you’re doing relatively okay and you’ve been able to double down on your work without the distractions of office chatter. But maybe it’s been a difficult shift in work style which you’re still trying to adjust to. Maybe you’re really struggling to process all the changes and news on a daily basis. Maybe you have extra time on your hands because you no longer have a long commute. Or maybe you’re finding it nearly impossible to juggle kids and work at home. Wherever you’re at, be kind to yourself.

At StreamSets we’ve often talked about our primary customers, data engineers, being squeezed in the middle between multiple demands: the business clamoring for more data; data producers wanting more control; IT leaders wanting to keep up with the latest and greatest. Now, you may be feeling a whole different squeeze as the realities of life during COVID19 creates a new set of pressures and demands upon you, all of which were unanticipated. 

We Are All “Here” Together

We will do whatever we can to support you, whether that is helping you squeeze out more time by increasing your productivity so you can find the hour you need to review your kids’ schoolwork, or filling up your time by bootstrapping your skills in new areas or adding new capabilities to your toolkit.

I hope that you are getting the support and flexibility you need from your managers and your peers to adjust your life and your work for the new reality. Hang in there, and if we can help in any way, just let us know.



Judy Ko is the Chief Product Officer at StreamSets, responsible for integrating product management and marketing, managing the full product life cycle and product portfolio, improving user experience, and driving alignment across the business.

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