How the Appreciation of ‘normal’ things has changed — Julie Roehm

I am in conversation with Julie Roehm, Chief Marketing and Experience Officer at Party City. We’re talking about her experiences with being in lockdown and working from home. What are some of the main changes she’s noticed and how does that affect her activities?

It’s an interview in several chapters, this is part 3, the last part.

Julie, can you talk about some of the elements that have changed in your personal and professional routines over the past weeks? Are some for the better?
I was a big fanatic about attending different workout classes — so my personal routine has definitely changed a lot. Fitness is my release and I used to go to a variety of classes — spinning classes, Pilates, boot camp classes, rowing, boxing, HIIT — you name it! Not being able to attend these classes has been a struggle, but I have now become an aficionado of Zoom classes. I even rented myself a stationary bike, and make use of weights at home as well. But yes, I am eager to get back into the gym — I miss my fitness community!

In terms of my work routine, that has changed for sure. I am getting a lot more sleep — I no longer need to do my hair and make-up before work, commute, all of which saves me a lot of time in the morning. I am my natural self, even on a Teams or Zoom call, and what is fun is that all of my co-workers are as well. It’s interesting to think about how that will change when we go back to working in the office.

For me, working from home has been really great, it keeps me energized. In fact, I get more work done from home than I do in an office. I have friends and family who get bored of the sheer monotony, but I feel occupied all the time. I do however, miss going outside, hanging out with other people, at the beach, shopping…I miss activities like being able to walk my dog in the park, going to restaurants — that’s the hardest part.

Looking at your family and your routines, who has the adjustment been hardest for?
I feel the most for my 18-year-old son, who is a senior in high school. He’s captain of the volleyball team, was ready to lead the team to a 3-peat of the State Championship and had a great chance of becoming Connecticut’s player of the year..so he’s really missing out on a lot.

It’s heartbreaking to watch that age group because there is so much uncertainty now, for their freshman year of college. I really hope we do a lot for the 2020 graduates — both high school and college — because graduation is a huge coming of age process for them and of course a big milestone.

I feel fortunate to work for Party City since we have some great ideas of how to create special virtual graduation parties. But I understand that doesn’t make up for actually going out there. We are holding out hope that the world re-opens and we can have a proper party for him and his classmates.

For our family, athletics is probably what we miss the most. Once we come out of this, we will definitely appreciate being able to go watch and participate in games and sporting events. Even the pleasure of walking into the gym, I really miss that. Because of the sport itself but also very much because of the people I work out with. I’m still working out with them, over Zoom, but it’s different. I miss being part of the community, which plays an important part in my social life. I think that it’s the realization of things like the feeling of community and togetherness that we’ll appreciate more, as a result of the current experience we’re living.

Thanks again Julie, for sharing. Let’s hope our next conversation will be when we’re ‘in’ the new normal.

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