Humans of Zeus highlights personal stories of individuals living differently, with Zeus.
Todd falls asleep on Sunday night in his Portland, Oregon home with his wife, Jeanie, next to him and his daughter, Noa, in the room adjacent. Fast forward to 6 AM the following morning as Todd cruises to Portland International Airport to begin his (somewhat unusual) Monday morning commute. Cue just a few hours later when Todd steps off the plane around 9 AM at SFO and calls an Uber to San Francisco’s bustling SoMa neighborhood. As he swings open the door to his startup’s office, he glances at his Apple watch and quietly celebrates his record-setting arrival time on this particular Monday.
Call him crazy, but Todd has figured out a way to support two of the top priorities in his life - his family and his career - which happen to be in two different states. “Home for me is Portland, Oregon. I’m in San Francisco for work. I come here every Monday and I go home to Portland every Thursday. I was the first employee so I really want to stay with the company and make this commute work, because it's so important to me and work is my passion.”
To understand Todd’s journey to this point, let’s rewind four years. “I originally worked with the company remotely for 4 years from Portland, however I really wanted to be with my colleagues more regularly. Part of why I’m doing this commute weekly is so that I can make sure I’m focusing on my family when it’s family time and I’m in Portland, but also be able to dedicate a lot of energy with my colleagues and focus on work when I’m in San Francisco.” Todd is helping his company bring innovative tech to the personal finance space. Being in person makes it easier for him to collaborate with his team as they improve and perfect the product.
When asked about the most challenging part of his routine, Todd comments, “being away from home can certainly be challenging, being away from my daughter and my wife on a regular basis. I’ve got my daughter’s stuffed fox here that her grandma made. I’ve got some photos of the family here. It’s nice to be able to leave these things here for me to have week after week when I’m away from my family.” Leaving sentimental items in his Zeus home helps him cope with the distance from his family. He also leaves his work wardrobe in San Francisco so that he can travel back and forth with just a backpack. “I’m a creature of habit, so being able to stick to my routines no matter where I am is key to me being comfortable. It’s so nice to have the same place that I can go back to every week, and every day when I’m in San Francisco.” This consistency, he confesses, keeps him sane.
To stay connected, Todd facetimes with his family every morning when he wakes up and often in the evening before bed. “Some days are a little more challenging. Noa is mad that I’m gone and won’t want to facetime, but usually I’m able to turn her around and get her to talk to me. Sometimes I just have to show the fox, Fifi, on camera and she’ll want to talk to me.”
He also looks forward to the occasional visit from his family. One week Jeanie visited him in San Francisco. “It was great to show her my home away from home, so she could visualize where I am every week when I’m not at home. We lived in San Francisco for a little bit together and so we got to revisit some of those places that we used to go to. Jeanie is a huge fan of Soul Cycle so she went to go do a spin class and see some old friends from when she used to go to classes frequently.”
Todd’s favorite part of the Zeus experience, you ask? “The pillows. I need at least four pillows. There’s exactly four here so that’s perfect,” he jokes. He goes on to explain that the comfort and quality of the bed, indeed, stands out. He also points to the all-inclusive nature of the Zeus experience, which helps him feel at home.
Todd is living life a bit differently. He has turned a seemingly unthinkable commute into a comfortable routine that works for his family, and now happily calls both Portland and San Francisco home. We’re thrilled to have Todd as part of the Zeus family! Watch his full interview here.