When the shut-down order was given in March, most businesses that depend on walk-in traffic had to freeze in place. Their income vanished and all they could do was wait. Now they’re waiting to see if reopening can save them. How I feel for those business owners and their employees.
In my pocket of the world, no one has been laid off, no projects have been cut, everything is trundling along while we wait for official word of how the second quarter went. Our manager’s manager said informally that Q2 was awful. But my group doesn’t yet know what awful means for us.
So-called knowledge workers like me have had it easy so far. (An insulting term. My dad knew enough to patent some equations, but he didn’t wear a white collar. Was he not a knowledge worker, then? Do the people who run restaurants and coffee shops and stores not have knowledge? What an idea. We need a better term.) Well, then, standing-desk-occupying, laptop-staring, Skyping, Slacking, Teamsing techno-serfs have had it easy. It is taking longer for our employers to figure out the impact of the shutdown.
But that impact is shaping up. Even if your company is in a critical sector, your customers have to have money to spend on your products and services. If your customer is, say, a municipal water treatment plant, it is funded through taxes and sales. But if small businesses can’t keep going, they no longer consume water and they don’t pay taxes. If towns lose tax revenue, they have to cut back on spending, even on their water treatment. Maybe new equipment is delayed, upgrades are delayed, consulting services are dropped. Your company loses income. Your project might suffer. You might suffer. You might already be suffering plenty with worry that is taking you over.
So here is a question that you should have a chance to answer, with someone listening to you who cares about you: How are you? You don’t know me personally, and truly I am a reclusive, keyboard-addicted introvert who has no wisdom, so I am not the right person to tell. Be sure to tell someone who does know you, or, if you prefer, find a stranger who wants to help you.
O God who I don’t understand, look with pity on business people and workers who are suffering. Give them strength, courage, and imagination to deal with whatever comes their way. Protect their spirits from panic and despair. Give them moments of optimism and levity. Give them a way to help someone else and experience the pleasure of doing so. Give them restful sleep at night and calm spirits during the day. In the name of Your Son, who knew something about fear.
July 1, 2020 COVID-19 Infections and Deaths