Thursday, March 31, 2011

by Natalia Klishina

The topic for this article was actually a suggestion from one of our employees. He thought it would be interesting for you guys to get an idea of what keeps us grounded and balanced, so that we can be happy, functioning human beings here at the office. It's weird how much, or how little, some of us have in common. Anyway, without further ado, and in no particular order...

TJ loves yoga for the focus it brings to his day: "90 minutes of staying in the moment and pushing the mind and body to its limits creates a constant improvement that helps with the tremendous challenges and learning experiences that the day job brings." TJ also bikes, which, too, requires discipline and focus on form -- which is somehow freeing? (Beats me.)

watch tv
When she comes home, Kim likes to watch TV, especially when her sports teams are on. She's a huge sports buff and was the one who rallied us to participate in an office pool for March Madness. I'm sure it also helps that Tucker, her dog, loves to snuggle up next to her.

muay thaiEd
Ed seems all nice and harmless, but he is one of those people you don't mess with. He does BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and Muay Thai -- so that he doesn't "have have to punch [his] coworkers in the face at work." To each his own.


Dinesh likes a lot of things, from cooking at home, to hiking the Santa Monica mountains, to meditating (which he learned from his grandfather). Here's the CEO-like part of his answer, though: Every couple of years, Dinesh does a non-profit volunteer trip, the last of which was to an impoverished area of Nicaragua to work with children with speech pathology disorders.

interior designPete
Pete likes to write poetry, play video games, shoot pool, play basketball, and – wait for it – help his wife with her interior design business. I asked how doing more work helps get away from work, but Pete says that it’s a good break from the norm for him, thinking about what will make a space feel more comfortable and how to make it into a reality for clients.

driving with top downJames
James like to take long trips in his car (which I guess is a good thing since he goes back to Irvine on weekends), with the top down and blasting his CDs. He says it gets him away from technology and all his server work.


Vijesh likes to spend time exercising or with his friends and family (and his wife is pretty awesome, so I can see how that is). The surprising part of his answer, though, is that the first thing he mentioned was coding. When I pointed out that coding was his job, he said that yes, but that he likes that part of his work; it’s the management aspect that is stressful. How many people can call their job their hobby?

Ryan had a pretty simple answer: math. He’s currently taking a class on the calculus of variations… for fun…

For Dan, just being outdoors does it. That usually means cycling or trail running (Dan actually also bikes to work every day), but even road trips through scenic country do the trick for him. Considering I’ve never seen anyone else with such single-minded focus at work, I’d say he’s doing something right.

Daniel, like TJ, is a big fan of yoga. Beyond that, he says running, swimming, and playing music helps.

crunch gymJeff
Jeff goes to the gym every day – Crunch, to be precise. I actually go to the same gym, and it’s definitely a great place to de-stress.

Jacob likes to read and play ultimate frisbee, but his favorite way to stay grounded is actually cycling (like a few other people at the office). He says cycling is “humbling” and a “quasi-metaphor for life – with all the hills, and fast descents.” Uhm… sure, why not.


Bill likes playing music, as in playing his guitar, keyboard, or violin. He actually spends a bit of time composing.

This was an interesting revelation: Adam said almost the same thing as Bill. Adam is also a musician who plays guitar and piano (and he likes J.S. Bach by the way). Interesting coincidence. On top of that, Adam also likes to go running. He says those two things keep him from losing his mind.

Komnieve likes endurance sports (he bikes with the rest of our cycling enthusiasts), and spending time with family and friends. He loves traveling around the globe, and generally gets away at least once a year (he just went to Chili in December). He also reads quite a bit, usually something psychology-, economics-, or technology-related; he tries to get through three books a month (which is definitely more than I manage these days).

san franciscoNatalia (me)
I actually struggled with this question for a bit, since I’m not a very grounded person, and I don’t try to be. I had a “zen” phase where I tried to go to yoga and learn to meditate and generally be a more balanced person, but then I just said “F it.” So I suppose the closest I get to being grounded is when I visit my parents in San Francisco (which I try to do once a month or so). When you’re an immigrant who’s moved around a few times, family becomes the only real constant.

Despite our differences, there's still something that brings us all together. (Here's where you might think I'm going to say something corny about love of telecom or CallFire, but nope.)