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How Grafana Labs' remote-first culture allows me to put family first

How Grafana Labs' remote-first culture allows me to put family first

16 Oct, 2020 3 min

I usually write about open source technology, Loki, and Grafana. But today I want to talk about something different. I want to talk about work and life, and how I think work should complement your life.

I’m from a rural place, a small city not too far from Marseille in France. To pursue my dream of working in software engineering, I left my parents’ house right after I turned 19, eager and with a feeling of freedom.

I moved first to Paris for engineering school, after which I decided to move to London to start my career. After all, the best jobs for engineers are in big cities. My ambitions at the time were simple: have fun and work.

Two years later, I had met the love of my life and was about to be a father. We decided that London was way too expensive for us to raise our son. So we made the decision to move to Montreal where we felt the way of life is more in line with balancing work and family.

I will always remember our departure day; my mother was heartbroken. Montreal was awesome, but I did not realize how hard it would be to raise a kid not only so far away from your family. But we were also doing it while working 40 hours a week plus commuting.

I love open source and I thought working from home would make me more available to my family. These factors led me to join Grafana Labs in 2019, and oh boy, what a change. Not going to lie, working from home is not for everyone. But for me, not only did I feel more productive. I was also able to attend my son’s soccer classes thanks to one of Grafana Labs’ core values: “We believe in work + life, not work vs. life.”

Life was better — then COVID-19 hit. I was about to welcome another newborn in a foreign country amid a pandemic. The natural instinct for most people has been to confine themselves with their family, unless said family lives almost 4,000 miles away. We felt alone, and we realized how valuable our extended family is.

Since Grafana Labs is remote-first (not the same as remote-friendly), I always knew the option of returning home was there, and so we took it. This pandemic has probably shifted a lot of people’s opinions about their future. Mine became firmly rooted with my family in France.

So this year I’m celebrating my birthday with my parents, two sisters, and nephews. I can’t remember the last time that happened. I’m grateful for this. And I’m grateful to Grafana Labs for their support in making this happen.