Living each day much muchier
The world has upended. There’s no competition for most impacted; we’re all affected by COVID-19 in some way, across the world.
Sometimes it feels okay and sometimes, it’s really not. It comes in waves.
I count myself fortunate that I still have a job. I’m a small grain in the finely crumbled chaos of thousands of workers adapting to an online workplace at the same time. It’s a privilege, but it’s also weird. Alternate universe weird.
No more squish of public transport. No more unnatural stillness of air conditioning. No figuring out at what distance I should smile and say hi to an outer-orbit coworker in the hallway, baring our teeth at each other in primal gestures of cooperative goodwill.
Now we are in our studies, living rooms and kitchens. There is less to navigate and yet somehow, working from home feels like 30% more effort. Tasks are on. Tasks are off. Tasks are different. Diaries shift like beach sand. Technology is not always our friend. When it is, we’re confronted by every conversation involving close-up screen time and every voice, right in our ear canals. It feels like WORKING in capslock, hyperreal and overwhelming.
It’s difficult for parents to focus on work without the support of school, daycare and holiday programs. Workplaces seem pretty good at acknowledging that. What they’re less good at is acknowledging that it isn’t sweet as for everyone else. In fact, I feel MORE compelled to be 150 percent available and productive. After all, I should have no excuse.
No-one has said this to me. In fact, I have amazing leaders who have all, without exception, gone the extra mile to say that people’s health and wellbeing is a top priority, but still…
I feel it. I bet a lot of my coworkers are feeling it too. Maybe it’s real. Maybe it’s self-inflicted. Either way, we need to give ourselves and each other the compassion, permission, and space for it to be okay, and not okay, but then okay again, and for that to keep shifting.
Please, for every anxious, afraid, and uncertain person, let’s be honest. Raw. Real. As real as the laundry and unwashed dishes in the background. As raw as the distraction of your own greying hairline, because now you see your face in meetings, along with everyone else’s.
It’s not your average work-from-home scenario. Regardless of family size, it’s trying to work in a confused society, while worrying about job security, and whether you have enough pantry supplies if you wake up tomorrow morning with a cough. It’s trying to work while worrying about your health and those you love interstate or internationally. It’s trying to focus against the relentless anxiety of wondering what the world’s long term economy is doing and how to best navigate it if nobody knows how bad it’s going to get.
So, if no-one has said this to you yet, it’s okay to not be okay. You may not be your most productive self right now. Do your best. Your best is subjective to you, your circumstances, and your health. Look after yourself, and those around you. We are all in this together, and we are in it for a while.