Thought Leadership

Quarantine Q&A: How Erin Martin & Jasmine Barnes Are Adapting

May 15, 2020
By The Rubicon Project

Over 2 months ago, our employees began a new way of working as the global pandemic took shape. While Telaria and Rubicon Project continue to integrate after our merger, we’re curious how some of our employees are handling their quarantine.  

We spoke with Erin Martin, Senior Marketplace Operations Lead, and Jasmine Barnes, Office Manager & Executive Assistant, to find out how they are doing, what’s keeping them sane, and to discover any tips they have for getting through this challenging time.  

ERIN MARTIN

What is your name? 

Erin Martin but there are multiple Erins in the company, so feel free to refer to me as Emart. I will also reply to Emily, Erica, Elaine, Brandi, and, oddly enough, I get Anne quite a bit. 

What do you do at Telaria/Rubicon Project?

I work on the Rev Ops team and for about nine years I was on the buy side, but I recently moved over to the sell side which is an exciting change.

How are you doing with the quarantine?

Going batspit crazy! And, no, that wasn’t a typo, it was a COVID-19 pun. I’m going so crazy, that I’m starting to make Brian Buttray level dad jokes.  

What adjustments have you made to your work life?

Instead of commuting 2 hours a day to the office, I wake up, adjust my reclinable bed, and turn on my laptop. It’s definitely a perk of quarantine. That and nothing but soft, stretchy pants 24/7.

What gets you going in the morning? 

Lots of coffee and my cat Karl sleeping by my side when I wake up. Though I think he’s starting to get sick of me. He keeps asking when I’m going back to the office. 

Do you have some productivity tips for working from home?

No, not at all. I’m terrible at working from home. The office gives me energy. Though someone else gave me some advice years ago and said the best thing to do is get up, leave your home for a short period (get coffee, breakfast, workout, etc), then come back and start your day. I’m not a morning person, so I’m lucky if I’m out of my pajamas by noon. But if I have an early morning meeting, I make a point to wash my face and comb my hair so I can be somewhat presentable.

What are the best things you’ve experienced during this situation?

I moved back to LA from NY about a year and a half ago to be closer to my mom. Even though I miss NY terribly, I can’t imagine leaving her alone with all this going on. Now I sit in our backyard, watch Karl (my cat) play in the garden, look up at a sky bluer than LA has seen in decades, read with my mom, and just breathe in the fresh air trying to appreciate this bizarre moment in time and the fact that we can be together. 

How are you keeping in touch with friends and family?

Apps like Zoom and Houseparty have gotten huge and it’s been great because I’ve reconnected with some people that I’m too lazy to drive out and see, since they live more than 45 minutes away from me. 

The downside is these parties have turned into the new “ladies” nights. During one of these nights, I may have accidentally bought three inflatable hot tubs online. But, hey, it’s going to be a great story down the line when I reminisce about what I did during quarantine in one of my multiple new hot tubs.

What is your favorite recipe you’ve concocted out of things lying around the house?

I don’t cook much, but I recently discovered how well leftover boxed ramen broth goes with Top Ramen, instead of the flavor pack and tap water. With that said, I’m excited to get back to catered lunches when this is all over.  

What are you doing to stay occupied outside of work hours?

I assume most people, like me, feel a little lost at the moment because they want to help but aren’t sure how. My solution for myself is to grocery shop and/or visit with seniors who can’t leave their homes. 

Being a senior with limited mobility is hard enough in general, but a pandemic to this scale is so new to people that even someone in their 90s has never experienced it. The closest we can come to it is World War II, so it’s awesome talking to someone who has now lived through both and can draw comparisons.

How are you staying active during this situation? Are there any exercise videos or tips you recommend? 

I can’t remember if it was day 23 or day 489 when I realized that over the previous three weeks I had only left the house to run errands and hadn’t exercised at all. 

Everyone has a lot of anxiety these days, and my brand of anxiety is to plan a hundred different things to do in my head and then get so overwhelmed that I do none of them. To circumvent this, I decided that every day I am putting on my gym clothes when I wake up in the morning so that I do something active at some point every day, whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood or an online video. 

And, yes, when I put on my gym clothes after going on an all carb diet and no exercise for several weeks, they didn’t fit. But that’s okay because Walmart sells really cheap workout pants that will do the job until I can fit back into my regular workout pants.

What TV shows, movies, or books do you recommend? 

My brain has been fried from being inside all the time, so it’s hard watching anything cerebral. However, if the Tiger King docuseries has taught us anything, it’s that trash TV can provide the type of escapism needed right now. 

Ozark is a great show, and the new season is on my list. However, it’s a little dark for me at the moment and every time I turn on the TV and tell myself to watch it, my brain says “no, I’m not ready for that. Let’s watch 90 Day Fiance or one of its subsequent spin-offs.” 

Where the Crawdads Sing is a pretty good murder-mystery/coming of age novel. 

Finally, I know I’m late to the game, but I highly recommend Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming. No matter what your political leanings are, she is an incredibly inspirational human being. 

When all this is over, how will you celebrate? 

I can’t wait to see my nieces and nephew so we can have P!nk dance parties again, and then I can finally give them their Easter baskets (minus the candy). There was no way that candy was going to last through quarantine, so I ate it pretty quickly after purchasing.

JASMINE BARNES

What is your name? 

Jasmine Barnes

What do you do at Telaria/Rubicon Project? 

I am the EA to Adam Soroca and Mark Balabanian, as well as Office Manager to the Boston, New Jersey, Miami, and São Paulo offices.

How are you doing with the quarantine? 

I am currently doing pretty well with the quarantine, but I fear that will change when the weather gets better. 

What adjustments have you made to your work life? 

I have had to make a more structured daily plan and schedule to keep myself from getting distracted. With having children at home, it can be tricky to make time for everything. But having a set schedule and plan has really helped me.

What gets you going in the morning? 

This is a simple answer: tea! I love tea and I love my morning ritual of making my french vanilla black tea, and taking time to sip while I read through my emails. Then about halfway through the day, I drink green tea. I change up the flavor depending on my mood or needs.  

Do you have some productivity tips for working from home? 

Planning and scheduling, as well as having a designated space where you can work. Even if it’s at the dinner table, it helps to let the kids know that it is my workspace during the day and that they need to respect it (I still need to see what they are up to, so having a private spot doesn’t work for us here). 

What are the best things you’ve experienced during this situation? 

I am truly appreciative for the extra time I get to spend with my family. I typically have a 2-hour commute each day. Since working from home, I have gained that time back. That is the best part of being in this situation.

How are you keeping in touch with friends and family? 

I have been FaceTiming more than I ever have in my life! The kids have too! 

What is your favorite recipe you’ve concocted out of things lying around the house? 

I haven’t concocted anything new or interesting. However, I have been using all my newfound time to make things that typically take more time, since now I can. 

What are you doing to stay occupied outside of work hours? 

Should I be embarrassed to admit that I have finished Netflix and I’m now onto Hulu

How are you staying active during this situation? Are there any exercise videos or tips you recommend? 

I am not a fan of the gym, so at home workouts and challenges are my first choice anyway. There’s no major change here for me, if I had to pick my top favorites I would choose Pilates and Yoga.  

What TV shows, movies, or books do you recommend? 

For TV, I would recommend Good Girls. If you haven’t seen it, it’s got all the drama! 

For books, if you like the sappy romance type (like me), my go to author is Nicholas Sparks (the author of The Notebook). 

When all this is over, how will you celebrate? 

This is a tough question! My heart tells me I should get a babysitter and have a spa day.

To learn more about life at Rubicon Project, email us: contact@rubiconproject.com


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