What I did in self-quarantine
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OK. It’s the end of August. We (I mean the collective that we have in all of humanity) have been sucking in our homes for several months. Away from friends, family, a drink in the pub, no social contact and just waiting for good news that the virus (coronavirus that causes COVID-19) has ravaged the world like a rapid summer thunderstorm and we can be in around January 2019 return our lives.
I got the chance to watch “The Shining” again, which is the ultimate story of remote work. In the story, a writer becomes a caretaker and moves his whole family to “The Overlook” hotel for the winter. Big mistake. In the beginning, remote working gave him the space to write his infamous novel. After a while the silence and lack of social contact (sounds familiar to me) drive him insane and then want to be fine … if you haven’t seen it, I won’t ruin the ending. Oh there was the building the hotel was also building on top of an Indian burial site, which may have been playing around with his state of mind. I just say ‘!
This is what happens today. I watch the news about people throwing their face masks to the wind and ignoring newly passed rules of politeness and social distancing. Why? Have you survived the last three months of self-exile just to dip your toe in the coronavirus pool and play twister with the Grim Reaper? (Note: See Bill and Teds Bogus Journey for a reference station!)
Why are the first paragraphs important? Well i will tell you There is a common misconception about work at home that is where the pandemic was destroyed. People who are structured and able to focus on delivering a product can achieve anything regardless of their location. When you work at home, don’t make a big tub of popcorn to watch movies instead of getting the job done. You get paid to work diligently on your craft – regardless of what you’re paid to do. Some people need a foundation or structure that the office gives them, the conversations on the water cooler, and the hours they spend on highways, back roads, and tree-lined avenues. After a few months of videoconferencing from the basement couch, editing reports, speaking to colleagues, and basically making sure the world doesn’t end, I can do that.
Each of us has different tolerances and works through them if necessary. While I can telework with the best, it’s because I don’t have any distractions. Now enter COVID-19. Teleworking to your job is just one role that you perform. Now you are the home dad who is responsible for all things that happen (or don’t happen) in the house. You’re the handyman in charge of fixing the things around the house that have been on the Honey Do list for months but somehow never get done. You are also the person who does more cleaning duties now that you are at home 24/7 because … you are in the house all the time and now you have more time to clean the house. Plus, there are those job things that require you to be online to feel sorry for teammates and actually pay the bills.
Oh if you have young children in quarantine you deserve a medal as young children have the energy (older ones are attached to their devices so they can hide in their rooms until asked to do something) and a constant need for Have attention. How can you divide your time between family and work so that things get done? There is no simple formula to do all of this work. The fact is that for many of us it doesn’t work and is difficult to be a peacemaker, breadwinner, father of the year, schoolmaster and still have enough time to make a living.
One day all of this will be a distant memory and you can tell your grandchildren about the time in 2020 when the world came to a standstill, the industrial revolution came screeching to a standstill and everyone was sent home for half a year as a virus through the world swept. Until then, stay tuned, it can’t get much worse … or can it?
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