You know the background to your work life, and I know mine. Everything I think and do goes on while immersed in this mental world. The pressures never let up, but they are so pervasive and elemental, I forget to talk about them. So many people struggle with them, they’re like the air we breathe: why would you mention it? And yet, they are so hard to take, they really drag us down.
For starters, here’s a tale of two companies:
I just learned that my old company has required everyone to come back to the office. I don’t know why; most people could work from home. The lab, quality, and shipping people, who have no choice and have to be there, shouldn’t be exposed to any more potential COVID-19 carriers than absolutely necessary. There have already been some COVID cases, and then, oh yes, management has added a layoff to the mix, so really, they’re ahead of the curve in several ways.
My new company requires everyone who can to work from home, so the people who must be in the buildings are as safe as possible. There’s been one COVID case, evidently contracted elsewhere, immediately traced and monitored. No layoffs, yet.
I had a lot of seniority at my old place and am now the last hired, so for quite a while I thought I’d made the worst-timed move in all the history of white-collar serfdom; now, I thank my lucky stars.
At my new place, 92% of us said in a survey that we want to continue working from home at least part of the week. Although I am starved for human contact, I don’t want to go back, ever, because my commute was just too punishing. When the Age of Loneliness is over, I will find new human connections. Maybe I and the other serfs will meet up for coffee before our workdays begin. The coffee shop will be like a high school cafeteria, with tribal groups gathering in fixed locations: Old Farts Within A Gasp of Retirement here, No End In Sight Workhorses there, Young Empire Builders over there. We’ll have to develop a new shared culture, won’t we, since we won’t be attending the same company meetings, responding to the same HR directives, or struggling with the same development schedules. (Although, really, when you’ve seen one idiotically unrealistic schedule, you’ve seen them all.)
My old life, my new life; my luck has been holding steady so far. How are you doing?
August 23, 2020 COVID-19 Infections and Deaths